7 Must-Haves For Any Website and How To Use Them!
Q: Do you have a website checklist? J. Baskin Palo Alto, CA USA
As a matter of fact I do and this is a great question. The first thing you need to know is that you’re not alone. Most small-business sites are a work in progress—constantly being revised, improved, and updated, which is good. You don’t want your site to become stale and outdated. However, some pages are so important that not having them could hurt your bottom line. Here are a few of them;
“Every small-business site should have a Contact Us page. It should offer visitors a complete list of ways they can contact you – from e-mail addresses to toll-free numbers, to a physical address ( a PO Box will do if you are strictly online). When it comes to contacting you, Your customers want options—or they just might take their business elsewhere. There should be a link to it on the navigation bar and in the footer of every page. Give your customers as many choices as you can, including a form, e-mail address, instant-messaging account, regular mail, toll-free number, and toll number for overseas callers. Leave no virtual stone unturned.
Your About Us page isn’t really about you or your team personally. It should be about what your company can do for your customers. I follow a very simple three step formula by answering three questions.
1.Who we are (What is it that you company does)
2. How we help you (what is your product or service and what problem do you solve)
3. How to get started (This is your gateway for your customer to connect with you)
Web users look for an About Us page link at the bottom of the home page or in the navigation bar. Caution: Don’t get fancy and call it something else. Stick to “about” or “About Us”—that’s what they’re looking for.
Many companies skip the Testimonials page because they consider it too self-serving. Some people would argue that this is not necessary, that business owners plug their business with bogus testimonials. But again, it’s a natural human instinct for people to know, ‘What’s so good about you? I wonder what others had to say.’” In other words, while having a page like that may seem self-promotional, people will look for it. And when they don’t find it, they might begin to make assumptions. Why don’t they have a testimonials page? Can’t they find enough people to say nice things about them? Ask long-time clients to supply a short testimonial and make sure a link to it is on your navigation bar under the About US section where anyone can find it. Remember, people will be looking for this one.
A Landing page.
Want readers to sign up for your newsletter or regular special offers? Your landing page is actually a section where your visitors can be persuaded to give up some of their personal information (such as their names and e-mail addresses) in exchange for something of value to them. Just like you, your website visitors guard information about themselves and can only be persuaded to give that information up in exchange for something of value. In many cases, this is an informative report, at free tool to help them solve a problem, an opportunity to win a prize, etc. It can be anything that is relevant to your customer and how you serve them. Depending on your type of business I usually recommend that you extend your “offer” right on your Home page just above the fold. “Gimme” pages should be linked to or even integrated into the page on which you ask readers to sign up for your free newsletter, your weekly specials, etc. We use AWeber for this and they have been kind enough to extend to you an opportunity to get you up and running absolutely FREE with tons of support.
A decent confirmation page that acknowledges an order and thanks the visitor for his or her business is essential—and often lacking. If your customer is taking any action, a page that says “Thank you” for purchasing this product or “One of our representatives will contact you shortly” lets your customer know the process is complete and give you an opportunity to show appreciation to them. This is a vital first step in building a bond with them and creating customer loyalty which we all know is invaluable. The reason these pages are easy to overlook is that they aren’t static. They’re usually generated after a transaction takes place, but their importance and impact cannot be overstated. If there’s any kind of form on your site—e-mail us, subscribe to our newsletter, buy a product—you need a confirmation page to follow. It should reassure the customer that their information was received, thank them for it, and offer additional resources and contacts in case they have any other questions.
Already have these pages? Well done. But don’t get too comfortable. Just like the Web, these must-have pages can—and almost certainly will—change with time. The only way to make sure your site doesn’t become obsolete is to listen to your customers. If you need more in depth help please feel free to Contact Us . You can also join us on our Twitter Chat for our latest tips!