Your own website: which pages should you consider including?
The big advantage of having your own website is that you are in charge of its content, which means you can decide which type of content it contains. Your website will undoubtedly have several pages, whose nature will depend on the purpose of your website. A web store will have one or more product pages, a service company will include a page with completed projects, etc. However, there are also several other pages that your visitor expects to see on your website, and you should not forget those. Some of them are even required by law. Here is a brief overview...
Your homepage: short and to the point
Your homepage is the first page your visitors will see when they type in your domain name. And since you only have one chance to make a good first impression, it is absolutely essential that you grab the visitors' attention right away.
Your homepage is where you can tell your visitors what you are offering. You can inform them about what kind of products they can buy from you or what services you provide – and sometimes, you can even explain to them what they should not expect from you. If you are a painter, for example, you can let them know that you are painting portraits, not houses.
And that is actually the hardest part, because you have to keep it short. Visitors should be able to see at a glance what they can find on your website and why they need to browse further to find out more details. Five sentences should do the trick. However, make sure to complement that short text with a nice picture, as images often speak much louder than words.
You can also add a 'call to action' to your homepage. This can be a button or a sentence that will encourage your visitors to take action. Depending on the purpose of your website, this may help request a quote, buy a product from your web store, fill in a contact form, etc. Make sure this button is available on most other pages.
Practical information on your contact page
On the contact page, your visitors will expect to find your contact details, your address and your opening hours. Make sure that your telephone number and e-mail address stand out, so that your visitor can contact you easily.
Keep in mind that some information is mandatory, such as your company registration number. For professions for which a licence is required, this must also be stated. A clear list of all required items can be found on the FPS Economy's website.
This is also a great place to add a contact form, which will allow your visitors to send you a message directly via your website, without having to open their e-mail client first.
Give some more information about your company on the 'About Us' page
If your visitors want to know more about your company's history, they will be able to find it on this page. This is the perfect place to tell people what makes your company so unique and to highlight your strengths. This page is also the best place to talk about your company's mission and philosophy – what makes your company special and what makes it stand out.
Make this page more attractive using quotes from satisfied customers. Alternatively, add links to projects you have already completed for your customers. If your company has been around for quite a few years, this is the best place to let visitors know how your business came into being. Obviously, make sure to focus on the highlights that will appeal to your target audience and write scannable web texts. Your visitors are not expecting a comprehensive history book.
Update your website with a blog
A blog page is a very interesting option that will help ensure that your visitors will return to your site. This page consists of a series of articles that you will have to write as blog posts, and in which you will keep your visitors informed about the latest news from your sector, your product range or your company. You can e.g. write about a new project that you have completed – and then, you can also add a link to this blog post on your 'About us' page.
The content of your messages is up to you. However, the articles must be of interest to your visitors. And you should preferably post your articles at regular intervals – whether weekly, fortnightly or monthly. Once you have started your blog, it is essential that you maintain this frequency. Because a blog page where the last post was published a year ago does not make a professional impression at all!
Think before you get started: blogging requires discipline. If you think you lack the inspiration to keep a blog going for a long time, just do not start one. Or turn to a copywriter. This might help you come up with new topics that such a language expert will be able to develop for you using the right words.
Here are a few topics you could cover on your blog:
- News from your sector. A hairdresser can blog about new techniques or new hair care products, a construction company can provide information about new building materials, a law firm can comment on current topics, etc. This will help you build trust in your company, because your customers will notice that you are up to date with the latest developments.
- Background information about the products you sell. A restaurant can blog about the wine it serves with its meals, a butcher can inform people about the origin of the meat he sells in his shop, a health food store can tell wonderful stories about how organic food is grown, and so on.
Such a blog page can also be linked to a newsletter to which visitors can subscribe if they want to receive the latest news. This is an ideal way to keep in touch with your customers, and to tell them about special offers and discounts in your newsletter as well!
But there is more: Google loves it when websites regularly publish new content. With a well-maintained blog, your website will rank higher in Google's search results!
Do not forget to include a page for your sitemap!
The sitemap is another way to rank higher on Google. A sitemap is an extremely important element in your SEO strategy, i.e. your efforts to get your website to rank high SERPs. When you use a sitemap, you help search engine spiders by providing them with an overview of all the pages available on your website. This allows search engines to determine which pages they will (regularly) visit.
A sitemap is something you can very easily create yourself: it is actually a clickable list of URLs for the different pages of your website. However, keep in mind that you will have to maintain this list: if you add or remove pages, make sure you update your sitemap!
Some content management systems, such as WordPress or Combell's SiteBuilder, allow you to create a sitemap automatically, meaning you no longer have to worry about it.
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) stipulates, among other things, that you must inform your visitors about the data you collect from them and how you process them. This information must be included on the page displaying your privacy statement. Since this information must be legally valid, it is advisable to hire a lawyer to write this text.
Will you mention the pages in the menu above or below?
In most cases, a menu is structured in such a way that the various sections that make up the essence of your business are listed at the top (the header). For a restaurant, for example: menu, parties, reservations. For a web store, these can be the product pages – which you can divide into categories – so that your visitors can easily find what they are looking for.
At the bottom, in the footer, you can then include information such as About Us, Contact, Privacy Statement, etc. You are free to add these categories at the top as well, but this can clutter up your menu, especially if you use categories.
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