Essential Pages to Include in Your Website
If you have a business, you’re going to need an attractive, professional, mobile friendly website that is easy to navigate and includes all necessary, pertinent information. If you’re a restaurant owner, for example, you’ll want to include an eye-catching home page, an about page with general information and team members, a page with your menu(s), a contact page with a map and your hours, a photo gallery, possibly an embedded reservation widget, and maybe a page dedicated to catering or private events. Hopefully you’ll want something unique – something that doesn’t look like 100 other restaurant websites out there.
For service providers, customers will want to know what your services are called, who they are for, how much they cost, and how to hire you or book an appointment with you. Having all of these details clearly laid out on your website is going to serve you well, as site visitors (a.k.a. customers) will be able to easily find what they’re looking for and take the desired action.
But, you don’t just want to throw information up on the screen in an unorganized manner. Planning is the key to success when it comes to website design and development. At Exhale Design Co, we focus on strategy, goals, and the most important part, content, during the discovery phase of our work together.
Content is what drives design. Design is what drives the build-out of your site. The build-out is what makes your site function so people can take those desired actions. Design and development are indeed crucial steps in the website building process, but without that very first step — content — there would not be anything to design or build.
Before you start writing your content, I recommend creating an outline or sitemap so you know what pages you’ll need to fill with your company information, product and/or service descriptions, FAQs, and testimonials. As you’re drafting the outline, you may realize you need another parent (main) page here or child (sub) page there. That’s why you’re planning now vs. when it’s time to start building your site. It’s a lot easier to start building a website when you have a clear plan in place and know exactly where every page should go, and even more so, what will be on those pages.
Key Pages to Include on Your Small or Starter Website
Many website developers offer three-page or five-page websites. Sure, these smaller sites could work for some businesses, but you still want to make sure you’re including important pages that are often overlooked. Even a one-page website still needs to have a few additional pages, such as a 404 page and policy pages (more on those in a bit).
A three-page site might include a home page, about page, and contact page. In this case, the about page might also include information about your services. Alternatively, a three-page site might include a home page, blog (potentially with multiple categories that each have their own pages), and contact page.
A five-page site typically includes a home page, about page, services page, blog, and contact page. For a product-based business, you might swap out the services page for a products page.
If you have multiple services and/or products, you ideally want each service and product to have its own page. Giving each service and/or product its own dedicated page helps with SEO by allowing you to focus on only one topic on the page. Furthermore, you’ll have a unique URL for each service or product that can be shared in newsletters and social media posts.
The Complete List of Essential Pages to Include on Your Website
Most of my clients’ sites end up including a minimum of 15 pages. Even clients who start out thinking they need something very “basic” or “simple” wind up with many more pages than they originally imagined. In fact, I include 15 pages in my standard website package, so you can imagine that this is a pretty common practice to include this many pages (which, as you’ll soon see, is not so crazy – even for a very small or brand new business).
Even if you have a website with only a few pages, you’ll want to read about the “required extras” mentioned below in the list of pages I include in my standard website package.
- Services Subpage One
- Services Subpage Two
- Services Subpage Three
- Blog Page and single Blog Post template
- Contact Page and contact form
- Sitemap: Ideal for larger sites; see below in the “bonus pages to include” section)
- Search Results and/or Category Page template: If you have a decent amount of content on your site, you’ll want to have a search field. When someone searches for content on your site, they’ll land on a “search results” page. You’ll want the search results page to match the look and feel of your website vs. it being the default layout that came with your website theme. If you have a blog with categories, you’ll need a category page template which typically matches the same look as the search results page.
- Terms and Conditions Page: Required Extra*
- 404 Page: Required Extra*
- Website Style Guide Page: This page includes the font names, font sizes, colors, image sizes, and other details specific to your website. If multiple people have their hands in your website (i.e. blog post authors, page editors, admins, etc.), it can be extremely beneficial to have this style guide to ensure branding guidelines are adhered to throughout the website.
While three Services Subpages might seem like a lot, many clients need many more pages. For example, one of my clients had eight child pages under their Services parent page as well as seven child pages under their About parent page. They did not anticipate having this many pages, but after much discussion and sitemap planning, it became clear that these pages were necessary.
A similar situation happened with a client who manages a dermatology office. At first, we planned to dedicate one page per main area of speciality. Then, on each specialty page, we were going to list all of the subspecialties. However, with SEO being a priority for this medical practice, we knew we needed to adjust the plan and create a separate page for each subspecialty. When the site launched, we ended up with six areas of speciality, three child pages under one of their specialties, three under another, and nine under another.
The moral of the story is that what you think you need in the beginning may end up being quite different than what you have come launch time. This is important to note because additional pages mean you need to plan for a larger budget. With each page, you must think about the content, images, and of course, SEO, all of which affect the overall cost of the project.
Optional Additional Pages You May Want to Include on Your Website
We’ve already talked about the essential pages to factor into your plan as well as required extras and potential additional Services subpages. You also want to account for subpages under your About page, such as bio pages of team members, history of the company, your workflow process or company procedures, FAQs, resources, and testimonials or reviews. Some of these pages might not be subpages under the About pages, but they’ll need to be accessible somewhere on your site (i.e. the footer).
If you have a medical practice, you might need to include patient-related pages, such as insurance information, fees, bill payment, appointment scheduling, appointment information and policies, and patient forms.
Bonus Pages to Include on Your Website
If you have a contact form on your website, you typically have two options when someone completes the form: (1) a “thank you” message that pop ups up when the user clicks the submit button or (2) a “thank you” page the user is redirected to when they press the submit button. If you choose option two, you’ll want to create an aesthetically-pleasing “Thank you for contacting us” page with helpful information such as a note that you’ll be in touch shortly, a reminder of your services, links to your social media, and/or links to your latest blog posts.
If you have an email opt-in form on your website, you have a few options to consider:
- If you have a double opt-in, that means the user has to confirm his/her subscription before they can be added to your email list. You can create an “almost finished” or “confirm your subscription” page to let them know that they need to check their inbox to confirm their subscription. On that page, you can also provide helpful information to keep them engaged on your site a bit longer before they head back to their inbox and get distracted.
- Whether you have double opt-in enabled or not, there will typically be a “thank you for subscribing” option within your email marketing provider. This can either be in the form of a page on the email marketing provider’s website or you can create your own page to thank and welcome people to your list. I always opt for creating a page on my client’s site vs. using the default page on the email marketing provider’s site (i.e. Mailchimp). Think about this: If you confirm your subscription and get redirected to a Mailchimp page, you have to click a link to get to the website whose list you just chose to be on. But, if you get redirected to a page on the company’s website (the one whose list you just joined), you’re already there. You have landed at your destination and can begin exploring.
The final bonus page to consider is a sitemap. For larger websites, adding a sitemap page can help users see all of your pages at a glance. Don’t get confused between the sitemap you submit to Google to let them know your site exists and the sitemap I’m talking about, which gives site visitors a snapshot of everything on your site.
I hope this helped you map out the plan for your website or assess the current state of your site. Are you ready to map out your new or revamped website? I’d love to work with you! Connect with me here to get started.