Although the structure of business website can vary wildly (think of the difference between a “mom and pop” retail website and Amazon), most successful sites have a few content elements in common.
So if you’re struggling to determine what exactly belongs on your pages, consider the following guide to what to include on your new website:
Content Element #1 – Important business details
Whether you’re a “brick and mortar” company or an internet-only business, be aware that many of the visitors who land on your website’s pages are looking for specific details about your business’s operation.
As an example, suppose you run a local pizza place. Right off the bat, many of your visitors will want to know:
- Where you’re located
- Whether you deliver
- What your business hours are
- What your phone number is
- How to place an order
Obviously, the specific details that are important to your company’s operation will vary, so take a few moments to brainstorm the immediate questions that new visitors on your website might have. Then, place this important information prominently on your site in order to avoid frustrating potential customers.
Content Element #2 – An “About Us” page
Interestingly enough, your company’s “About” page will likely be one of your website’s most trafficked pages – so don’t treat it like an afterthought!
Once potential customers have glanced at your important business details, many of them will want to learn more about the companies they’re thinking about engaging with. This is especially true in situations that involve high-dollar transactions (as in the case of auto repair businesses, lawyers and other well-compensated professionals); since people want to be sure they’re giving their money to the right companies.
To make your “About Us” page sparkle, start by addressing the “5 W’s”:
- Who are you?
- What does your company do?
- When did you start doing what you’re doing?
- Why do you love what you do?
- How do you help your customers?
Answer all of these different questions on your “About Us” page, but avoid bogging your content down with unnecessary details. Customers don’t want to know your life’s story – they just need to hear enough about your company’s history and the benefits your business offers to decide to engage further with you.
Content Element #3 – A description of your products or services
Whether or not your website includes some type of ecommerce component, it’s a good idea to include at least a description of any products or services you offer on your site.
If, for example, you’re a teacher offering music lessons, use part of your new website to describe the instruments you teach, the skill levels of the students you take on and what these pupils can expect to learn from working with you.
On the other hand, if you plan to retail products on your website, you’ll want to set up an individual page for every product you intend to sell online. These product pages should then be fleshed out with product images, product descriptions and other pertinent details that will help viewers to determine whether or not to buy. If the process of manually creating multiple product pages sounds overwhelming, look into ecommerce tools that can handle many of these needs automatically.
When it comes to product and service descriptions, you can go as simplistic or as complex as you’d like. There’s no “one size fits all” solution to creating good product pages, but do make it a point to keep your customer in mind. Think through the information that he or she will need to have in order to make the decision to work with you, and then feature this content on your new website.
Content Element #4 – Social proof
Human beings are social animals – meaning that we like to follow the crowd and give weight to the opinions of others. As a result, including elements of “social proof” on your website can be a powerful way to encourage new customers to engage with your business.
When it comes to websites, a few popular ways to incorporate social proof into your pages include:
- Adding user review sections to your product review pages (a process that can be simplified through the use of review scripts).
- Publishing testimonials given to your business on a “Why Work with Us?” page (which can be made even more effective through the use of reviewer names, cities and pictures).
- Sharing reviews that your business has garnered on review sites like Yelp and Google+.
While all of these techniques will require some extra effort on your part, they can be a powerful way to improve the overall effectiveness of your site.
Content Element #5 – A call-to-action
One last element you’ll want to include on your website is a call-to-action appeal. Odds are, you don’t just have a website “for fun.” You have one because you want people to use it to learn more about your business and to ultimately engage with your company in some way.
A few of these different types of possible actions include:
- Buying your product
- Filling out a lead generation form
- Calling your company
- Subscribing to your email list
- Sharing your business website with friends
Unfortunately, you can’t assume that visitors will know what action you want them to take unless you explicitly state it somewhere on your website. This is what’s known as a “call-to-action,” and it’s a powerful way to take your website from being a digital billboard to being a functional member of your company’s sales team.
To add a call-to-action to your website, you’ll first need to decide what type of action you want your visitors to take. Once you’ve determined this, make a direct appeal to your customers by featuring your chosen call-to-action on a prominent part of your website. You may need to experiment with different options to determine which call-to-action will be most effective with your audience, but you’ll find that this process is well worth it in terms of increased business and revenue.
While the thought of putting together all of these different content elements might sound daunting, remember that your website doesn’t need to be perfect right off the bat. Do your best to include the elements listed above and to make them as appealing as possible to website visitors, but don’t be afraid to make modifications and improve your website as you go along.