Pages to Include on Your Website
What should you include on your website? This page discusses in detail the common pages that
you find on small business websites and suggests the content that you may want to include on them
A list of the pages that you may want to consider putting on your small business website
This page discusses the pages and downloadable content that you may want to consider putting on your small business website. This is a long list but it is not extensive. Your website may have special requirements for pages that are not included here but our list will at least provide food for thought.
YOU NEVER GET A SECOND CHANCE TO MAKE A FIRST IMPRESSION!
This is generally the page through which visitors will enter your site. It will include the main "navigation" links to the other pages within your site. There should be a link back to your home page from all the other pages so that your site visitors do not get lost.
The home page is very important because it must immediately grab the attention of the visitors who are interested in your products or services. It should provide initial information about what you do and provide a "hook" that tells them why they should do business with you and perhaps explore your website further. Suitable images should be used to reinforce the message.
Put this page on your website If you are offering products or services. Detail what you have to offer your clients on this page. If there is extensive information to be displayed you may want to consider a page for each individual product or service. Each page should have a header with a brief summary of the product/service then any additional information that your site visitors will need.
If the page becomes too long consider breaking it down into more pages. Long pages take too long to load and your visitors may not be prepared to wait for this. Also, each page on a website can be optimised for different search terms, so more pages equals more chances of being found on the search engines.
It is likely that the whole purpose of your website is to encourage your visitors to contact you so you must ensure that it is easy for them to find your contact details. In addition to a separate page that details all the methods through which you may be contacted I often place contact details at the bottom of every page. If you want people to telephone you, you may want to display your telephone number prominently on every page.
Your actual contacts page may also include a map to your premises, business name, address, mailing address, telephone, fax, email, emergency number and website address.
Note: If you are in the UK then you should be aware of the requirements of the 2007 UK Companies Act in this respect. See 8.22.
Put this page on your website if you have a list of prices for your products or services. You will know yourself how annoying it is when you are looking at websites, or for that matter any adverts, that do not clearly display their prices. While recognising that commercially it does not always make sense to make your prices known, you should wherever possible include the price of your products and services.
Where you can't be specific you should at least give your visitors an idea of your prices or a price range. Websites that require you to jump through hoops to get any indication of their prices can really turn people off.
Putting a testimonials page on your website (from current and previous clients) can be a very effective way of reassuring people that you are the right person or company with whom to do business. The testimonials that you include should be honest and verifiable. Where practical they should also put contact details for the person who provided them (if you have their permission to do so).
Don't be afraid to ask your clients for testimonials. If they are happy with your service they will generally be happy to provide these. If you have an impressive client portfolio you may also want include this.
A Frequently Asked Questions (or FAQ's) page can be great way of providing information to your visitors. If you get asked the same questions over and over again put the FAQs on your website to save you from having to respond to them all the time.
Frequently Asked Questions should address your client's concerns and provide guidance to them where they are considering making a purchase or contacting you about your service. Typical FAQ's are, "How much does it cost?", "Where do I get more information about XYZ?" and "How long does it take?"
Enquiry forms are a great way of generating enquiries. Sometimes just an email link will do but where you need to get specific information from your visitors an enquiry form is great way of asking for this. On the form you can ask them for the information you really need to be able to process their enquiry. Also, some people prefer forms when they are contacting you because they don’t have to think about what to say. All they have to do is complete the form.
If your business or service is one which would benefit from letting your customers and clients know what is going on you may want to put a news page or a newsletter on the website. A news page gives you the opportunity to provide your visitors with fresh content while a newsletter is a great way of generating repeat business by informing previous clients of special offers and new services.
I take the time to produce articles and websites like the one you are reading because they help my website visitors and clients and also because it creates goodwill. They also give me the opportunity of providing my enquirers with my contact details. If they print the article this means my contact details are available to them even after they have turned their PC off. Other downloads you can offer may include samples, catalogues and presentations.
Put an "About us" page on your website to let your visitors know who you are and what your business is all about. It should tell them why they should consider buying your products, using your services and why you can be trusted to deliver.
You can include information about your staff team, bios, qualifications and photos if required. You may also want to include a mission statement on this page.
If you are in a service industry or consultancy and you have case studies that would help to illustrate your services and capabilities these should be included. If you can provide a portfolio you should do so. For example as a web designer at Toucher Web Design I provide a web design portfolio of my previous work.
A Survey Page can be used to find out what visitors think about your website. If you are selling something it may be used to get opinions on your products and their satisfaction with the service that you have provided.
You may want to put a list of events such as trade shows on your website. This has other uses. For example if you are a performer you may want to provide performance dates.
Put a website search on your website if you think your visitors would benefit from this. It may only be required if your site is quite large and it contains a lot of information that people may be seeking. This helps those who don’t really know what they want to find it more easily. Let's say that you have a shop selling audio CD's and one of your visitors is looking for a Red Hot Chili Peppers album they could type "Red Hot Chili Peppers" into the search window and quickly find what they are looking for
Privacy is a matter of concern for most people using the Internet. It is essential that you provide your visitors with an assurance that your business can be trusted. Where you collect people's email addresses you may want to reassure them that their addresses will not be passed on to any other companies for the purposes of spamming.
Put a Terms and Conditions page on your website if you need to outline the way that you conduct your business. If you are selling online this may include guarantee, returns and refund policies.
You should also check that your website is in compliance with current law in your part of the world. As more regulation is introduced some countries and states now require you to put certain information about your business on your website. If you don't know the requirements for this ask your web designer or company lawyer for advice.
A site map is basically an index to your site. It helps your visitors find their way around. It also assists the search engines to index your site. This is only required where your site is of sufficient size (more than say 15 or 20 pages) to merit it.
A copyright notice should be included to protect your intellectual property. Typically this will be placed at the bottom of every page in smaller print. Strictly speaking this is not necessary. Copyright is assumed in most countries but including it helps to reinforce the copyright message.
A links page provides your visitors with links to other websites that may be of interest to them. These may be business and trade associations, manufacturers' websites or just links to websites that carry information that supports your business. Ensure that these links do not lead your visitors to rival websites.
If your products or services have attracted any positive media attention you may want to include a media page that highlights this.
To comply with the UK Companies Act that came into being in January 2007 you must put certain information on business websites. More information about this is available from Out-law.com (info below courtesy of Outlaw). We are not lawyers and this information is provided to highlight the basic requirements. It may be necessary for you to take legal advice on this if you are a UK company.
Service providers, whether involved in e-commerce or not, should provide the following minimum information, which must be easily, directly and permanently accessible:
The name of the service provider must be given somewhere easily accessible on the site. This might differ from the trading name and any such difference should be explained – e.g. "XYZ.com is the trading name of XYZ Enterprises Limited."
The email address of the service provider must be given. It is not sufficient to include a 'contact us' form without also providing an email address.
The geographic address of the service provider must be given. A PO Box is unlikely to suffice as a geographic address; but a registered office address would. If the business is a company, the registered office address must be included in any event.
If a company, the company's registration number should also be given.
If a company, the place of registration should be stated (e.g. "XYZ Enterprises Limited is a company registered in England and Wales with company number 1234567") though this is a requirement of the Companies Act as from 31st December 2006, not the E-commerce Directive.
If the business is a member of a trade or professional association, membership details, including any registration number, should be provided.
If the business has a VAT number, it should be stated – even if the website is not being used for e-commerce transactions.
Prices on the website must be clear and unambiguous. Also, state whether prices are inclusive of tax and delivery costs.
Finally, do not forget the Distance Selling Regulations which contain other information requirements for on-line businesses that sell to consumers (B2C, as opposed to B2B, sales). For details of these requirements, see the Outlaw website article, The Distance Selling Regulations - An Overview.