Business websites come in all shapes and sizes. Some are large and complex, with many different pages linked to other pages. Some are very tight and simple, with only the bare essentials. But it doesn't matter how simple or complex a business website is. It just needs to contain the right content and navigation in order to lead the visitor to what they're looking for.
1. Home Page
The Home Page is the main page of your website. It's one of the most visited pages and it's likely to be the first place a visitor lands. It gives an overview of your business, who you are, what you do and what you offer the visitor. The Home Page introduces your site and explains what the visitor will find there.
Every website needs a Home Page. This is your website's home base. The URL you put on your business cards and that you share online when you tell people about your site is the link to your Home Page.
Your Home Page sets the tone and the expectations for the entire site. Here, the visitor can see all that your site has to offer at a glance. From here, they can easily navigate to whatever information they're looking for, whether it is the blog or the products page. There is usually a search function and a menu.
2. About Us Page
The About Us page is a page that tells more about your company. Many companies make the mistake of treating the About Us page like a minor page. After all, it's not your blog or products page. It's just a page that gives a short blurb about your company.
However, this is a serious mistake. The About Us page is often a website's most visited page. The About Us page is essential for communicating your unique value and vision to people who visit your page. It also personalizes your website and company, giving the visitor a human face. No one wants to trust their money to a faceless organization, so this is essential.
To give you an idea of how to approach your About Us page, let's ask, “Who reads your About Us page?” The answer is:
- Potential customers. They come to the About Us page to see if this is a company whose values align with their own. They're also looking here to see if you're legitimate and they can trust you.
- Potential partners. When we're vetting a person or organization that we might do business with, we nearly always look at the About Us page first. They need to know what's behind the website.
- Job seekers. If you're recruiting, your potential new hires will definitely take a look at this page to learn more about your company. They'll often do so before sending out their application email.
- People who will offer you money. In other words, potential investors who will supply much-needed funds to your business. Again, they're looking at this page to assess your legitimacy and reliability.
What this tells you is that all of the content on this page should communicate not only who you are and what you're about, but also that you're legit and worthy of trust. About Us pages present factual information that the above people need to know before taking the next step in interacting with your business.
3. Start Here Page
The Start Here page is a welcome page for first-time visitors. Like the Home Page, it drives home the benefits and unique qualities of your website. It may have other elements as well, but the main purpose is to address the visitor's questions and direct them to the answers.
A Start Here page usually says something like, “New to our site?” It acknowledges that the visitor is new, and then suggests which pages they should visit based on their needs.
For example, your Start Here page might say, “Check out our latest blog posts,” and then list a few links to a few popular posts. You might say something like, “Have a look at our catalog” and provide a link to your products page. Think of it as a portal to all of the other pages on your site.
Some people recommend creating a Start Here page instead of an About Us page. But the two are fundamentally different. While the About Us page is mostly factual and about the company and its offerings, the Start Here page is more focused on the visitors needs right now at the moment (their need to find the information they're looking for). Rather than presenting facts or content, it's a tool to help the visitor navigate.
For example, the Start Here page helps the visitor identify themselves. Let's say that you have a website that caters to the needs of small businesses. Some of your content or products are for service-oriented businesses. Others are for B2B businesses. On your Start Here page, you can ask the visitor what they came to the site looking for. They identify themselves and then choose accordingly.
The best way to create a Start Here page is to identify the main reasons people come to your site. When a person first visits, what are they looking for? Identify these and provide the links to that information. Put the most commonly searched-for information at the top.
4. Blog Page
Every business website should have a blog page. A blog page is simply a page for your blog, but it's attached to your business website rather than being its own site. The advantage to this is that as you update your blog, you add fresh content to your website. This offers a few advantages:
- The search engines favor websites that have fresh content. Your Home Page and other pages may not change much, but if you're blogging regularly, you'll be regularly adding new content.
- Once you have an archive of blog posts, there will be a great deal for visitors to read and consume on your site, which will keep them there longer. This means more engagement and it also offers SEO benefits as well.
- Your blog posts will attract diverse visitors. You can blog on various topics and this will bring new visitors through searches. You can also write posts around different search keywords to increase your reach.
- You can blog on new topics, news, trending topics and other timely topics to take advantage of what's new or what's going on in your industry.
The purpose of your Blog page is to write interesting, informational posts that help your visitors solve their problems and keep them engaged. It shows your expertise and knowledge in your industry and helps to establish you as a thought leader. All of this is important in gaining the trust of the public.
It's important to create a blogging schedule and stick to it. Frequency isn't as important as consistency. If you can only update your blog once a week, that's fine as long as you do it faithfully. Don't let a month pass where you don't blog at all.
Your blog gives people a reason to visit your website. When you post, share it on social media with a link. This will bring your social media followers to your website.
What about Other Pages?
We've presented the four most essential pages for a business website here but there are many more you might include. These include:
- Contact Us. This page gives visitors an easy way to contact you with questions, feedback and inquiries.
- Products and Services. If you're selling products and services directly through your website, you'll want to have information on these products, as well as prices and how to order.
- Resources. A resource page steers visitors to other information resources you provide. You can also link to articles and other websites you maintain here.
Focus on the Visitor
The above four pages present different information to the visitor, but they all share one thing in common – they address the visitor's needs and serve those needs. Even though you're talking about your business and its offerings, what you're really addressing directly is the needs of your visitor.
This means that if you want to create a highly effective website, you have to get to know your visitor well. Learn as much as possible about their needs and concerns, and create a site that meets those needs and concerns. Your content should stress the benefits of your site, your products and all that you offer in solving those problems. This is what makes a business website work.