The Essential Elements Every Business's Website Should Contain

Creating a website that draws traffic and helps with conversions should start with these eleven pages.

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The following excerpt is from Robert W. Bly’s book The Digital Marketing Handbook. Buy it now fromAmazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | IndieBound

Broadly speaking, your business’s website should tell visitors two things: what they need to know to make an intelligent decision about buying your products and what you want to tell them. A website can have a virtually limitless number of pages, but following are the major pages:

Homepage

While there are many variations of homepage approaches and designs, there are three things an effective homepage communicates to the visitor right up front: who you are, what you do and why the prospect should be interested.

Client list, testimonials and case studies

If you’re a B2B marketer, your prospects want to know what companies, especially in their industry, you’ve served. This information appears on a page where these firms are listed by alphabetical order, industry, or other categories on a page labeled “Clients” or “Customers.”

Testimonials are favorable comments of praise from satisfied clients or customers. Case studies are more detailed success stories of how your product or service helped a buyer solve a problem and gain a benefit such as saving time or money or increasing profits. You should have a case study page, because some prospects will ask if they can read some case studies about your product or service.

Products and services

Each product or service you sell should have its own page describing it. Depending on what you sell, the description should include the name and model number, a product photo, what it is, what it does, advantages, benefits, color, construction material, options and accessories, sizes, product specifications and a button the visitor can click to order the item or at least request more detailed content, such as a PDF brochure or fact sheet.

How we work

For service businesses, this page, typically titled “How We Work” or “Methodology,” describes your work process to potential customers and clients. For manufac­tured products, quality control procedures and certifications (ISO 9002, GMP, FDA) can be part of the methodology page.

This page tells prospects how you do what you do, eliminating the need to verbally repeat to prospect after prospect your methodology, which may be complex. Also, customers like having it written out on a permanent web page they can view at any time and share with others involved in the buying process.

About us

The “About Us” or “About the Company” page is a profile of your company — or, if you’re a solopreneur, of you (and then label it “Bio"). It’s im­portant because customers want to know not only about the products you’re selling but also from whom they are buy­ing those products.

Reputation and experience are relevant. Have you been in business for decades or a century? Do you have thousands of satisfied customers worldwide? Or seven service centers nationwide? The idea is to communicate that your company is innovative, service- and quality-oriented, customer-focused and yet experienced and well established.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

This page consists of questions frequently asked about you and your products by prospects and customers. Answers should provide the information they seek as well as overcome any negatives or objec­tions. You can also use the FAQs to clarify any confusion or misun­derstanding buyers have as well as make additional sales points or reemphasize benefits already stated elsewhere on the site.

Articles and white paper library

Articles and blog posts fall under the broad category of content, or useful news, information and how-to tips related to your products and their applications. You can start small and then build your repository of articles and white papers. The goal is to have a lot of both for two reasons. First, the wealth of content helps build your credibility and convince prospects you’re an expert in your industry, niche or skill set. Second, articles and white papers, especially when they contain keywords your prospects search to find what you sell, raise your ranking with search engines.

Blog

The advantage of having a blog is that weekly or daily posts result in more frequent updates to your website content, another activ­ity Google likes and rewards with higher ranking in its search engine. Also, the comments feature of blogs enables two-way communication with your visitors, creating more of a sense of community and getting them actively engaged with your ideas and offerings.

Press room

The “Press Room,” also known as “Media,” is an online archive of recent and past press releases. These provide visitors with even more useful content, further optimizing your website for the search en­gines. They also add content to your site, which is beneficial for rais­ing your search engine ranking.

Contact page

It’s a good idea, either on your homepage or on a separate contact page, to have your company name, mailing address, phone, fax, email ad­dress, social media icons, as well as a form the visitor can complete and submit to ask a question or make a request.

Calls to action

Calls to action (CTAs) are pages, boxes or forms that enable response and encourage it, usually with a free offer. You can assign to each CTA a unique URL. The reason to have a unique URL for the CTA is that, when you’re doing a promotion with a specific offer, your ad or email should drive traffic directly to the CTA page and not your website’s homepage so you don’t frustrate visitors looking for the CTA page.

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