Whether you’re just starting your website or trying to make it better, there are five types of web pages that will make the biggest difference in the quality of your site.
Here are the five basic types of web pages and tips on making them perform at their best.
Of all the types of web pages, the home page usually gets the most attention from the site owner. It serves as an introduction to you and your business and a sign post to more information.
Most visitors come to your home page already knowing at least the name they’re looking for.
Maybe they got your website from a business card at a networking event. (And if they’re like me, they may have forgotten what you did in the time that’s passed since the conversation.)
Maybe they saw your company mentioned online or heard about you from a friend.
If it’s their first visit to your home page, they’re looking for some essential information:
- Who is this person? What is this business?
- Do they care enough to maintain their website?
- Am I part of their tribe?
- What does this business do?
- Are they competent?
- Where do I go next?
Once those questions are answered, they’re looking for directions to their next stop — like the mall kiosk telling where all the stores are.
How the Home Page Communicates
The home page conveys information at a subconscious level and faster than the visitor can think about it consciously. Notice that I didn’t say it needs to convey information, because it always communicates. It’s just a question of whether you, the site owner, like what it says.
Any web page, but especially the home page, speaks through color, image, design, and text. It gives direction through navigation links to other pages on the site. Your visitor wants relevant information right away, and most tend to think if it’s not there in 3-5 seconds, they won’t find it at all.
To make your home page speak clearly:
- Use large and evocative images.
- Choose colors to tell the mood and tone of your business.
- Write short, big attention-getting headlines to enter visitors’ minds before they’ve decided to read it.
- Make sure your navigation links are easy to find and clear about where they lead.
Tell the whole story in broad strokes on the first screen–both information and emotion. People don’t scroll down unless they feel that their attention has been earned.
You can put more detail “below the fold” — but the home page is an introduction, and below-the-fold text leads to more information elsewhere on your site.
Evaluate Your Home Page
Imagine you’re looking at your home page for the first time. Does it answer the basic questions? Is there a clear path to what the person might want next?
Of the various types of web pages, the about page is where people go when they want to know more about you. They’ve already decided they’re interested, and now they want to know who you are.
Too many site owners waste the opportunity of their about page by giving paragraphs of “We are blah-blah-blah, jargon, jargon, blather, very important qualifications, etc.” that pours over readers like a stream of gray water.
What really matters to your web visitor is who you are, whether you’re trustworthy, and whether you care about what they’re going through. If you establish that first, they may not care about your qualifications. If your qualifications are important (and sometimes they are), put them where they make sense in context, maybe at the bottom, maybe threaded into the narrative, with a concise listing somewhere on the page.
The best way for your about page to engage your reader is to tell a story. Here are a few basic plots to consider:
- Your origin story (how you discovered, why you do this, etc.)
- A case study (what happened when Client X tried your product or service)
- A day in the life (what you and your employees or team do every day)
- Your outside interests (where you connect on a deeper level than the business)
These aren’t the only kinds of stories you can use, but they’ll give you some material to think about to make your about page connect with your potential clients or customers.
Evaluate Your About Page
Does your about page connect with your readers on a personal level? Does it show who you are as well as what you do?
Of the five basic types of web pages, your services page is the one that does the real selling. If you run an e-commerce site, these principles will apply to your product pages. You might have more than one service page, especially if you serve different types of clients or customers.
Your services page answers your clients’ questions and calms their objections. Ideally, it will be the final step in a journey on which you’ve been leading your prospective client from ignorance to understanding why you’re the obvious choice.
Your services page is where your visitors learn how to work with you.
- What you do, specifically
- How to engage you
- What to expect from the service (or product)
- What it will cost
The details will differ from business to business, based on your strategy for engaging clients and helping them make the commitment.
So answer their questions, relieve their worries, and give them a clear call to action so that they know the next step. And tell them what to expect from you in the process.
Evaluate Your Services Page
Does your Services page answer the questions your clients may have before they feel comfortable engaging your services? Are you clear and specific? Do you explain what to do next and what will happen when they do?
Your contact page should be simple and friendly. If you include a form, don’t ask for more information than you really need, and include on the page as many ways to get in touch with you as you feel comfortable with: phone, email, personal website, Facebook page, street address, etc. If you don’t want to share all of them, that’s fine, but remember that different people like to communicate in different ways, and make it as easy for them as you can.
Evaluate Your Contact Page
Does your Contact page encourage your readers to get in touch? Did you list every touch point you could think of? (If you don’t want to give your street address, I get it, but list what there is.)
Your blog is optional. A site without a blog can still introduce you, explain your services, and allow you to sign up new clients. But you lose considerable opportunities if you decide not to include a blog in your site.
Your blog can supplement every page mentioned above. On your blog, you can tell more about your personal and professional values, give case studies, explain your process with charts and graphs and video, and offer compelling reasons to contact you.
It can do other important work as well:
- Show your expertise to peers in the field as well as potential clients
- Attract search engine traffic to your site
- Provide sharable material for social media
- Embed audio and video
- Walk your prospects through the buyer’s journey
- Give you material to entice people to sign up for your mailing list
A blog takes time and patience. Like many things, the higher the investment, the higher the return on investment.
Your blog can make the difference between getting traffic based on business cards you exchange and getting those plus visits from strangers you have never had the opportunity to meet.
Evaluate Your Blog
Is your blog structured to advance your business? Does it talk about topics relevant to your business, stated in terms that real people use, in a way that advances readers through the buyer’s journey?
Does it have irrelevant material or rants that alienate large portions of your possible clients? (Of course, you get to define what’s off topic and who you want to work for. But be intentional.)
Revamping the Five Types of Web Pages
If you’re just getting ready to launch your website, this information will help you make good decisions about how to set up your pages or what to expect from your designer or writer.
If your site has been around a while, being on the web offers you the opportunity for constant editing and improvement.
Take the time to read your own site sometimes — I know, creating content can be exhausting, but checking back on what’s there can help you improve it.
- Does it still speak for you?
- Is it out of date (with respect to design trends)?
- Does it represent your current branding?
- Is the information still correct?
If you start with these five types of web pages, you’ll can make big improvements to the most significant pages on your site.
If you need a fresh pair of eyes, contact me for a website evaluation. For a limited time, I’ll give you a free consultation about your home page.