Building a website is tough work, and sometimes, it’s downright frustrating. Unfortunately, a lot of people get so wrapped up in finding a great theme that they forget about how important their content is.
It doesn’t matter why you’re building your website – whether it’s for a personal blog, for your business, or for ecommerce – there are four pages we believe every website needs. Besides just having these pages on your site, however, it’s important to understand a few basic copywriting skills that will make these pages effective parts of your website.
Check out our tips for what works (and what doesn’t) below.
1. Home Page
Obviously you’re going to have a home page. Without one, your website will be pretty tough to access! But it’s what’s on your home page that’s important.
There are two ways you can display your home page:
- As a static page.
- As your latest blog posts.
It’s generally only a good idea to use the blog post approach to your home page if your blog is the main focus of your site. In this case, your home page content will always be changing based on your latest post. What some bloggers do, then, is include a sidebar widget that serves as their home page or “about” copy.
As long as your site’s title and tagline clearly show what your blog is about – whether you’re a travel writer, DIY blogger, or book reviewer – then you don’t really need home page copy to introduce your content.
If you sell services on your site and your blog is secondary to your overall strategy rather than the focus of your business, then you’re better off with a static home page.
Two common mistakes I see people make with their home page copy include:
- They treat their home page as their about page.
- They don’t cater their content to their audience.
Your home page should accomplish two things. One, it should show your visitors what type of problem you can help them solve. Two, it should get them to page two. Once they’ve clicked onto page two, they’re already headed down the sales funnel.
The trick is to capture their attention and let them know you have something they need. Unfortunately, most sites that make the two above-mentioned mistakes don’t accomplish these goals.
The truth is that your home page copy doesn’t have to be very long to capture a visitor’s attention. In fact, if it’s too long, they may turn away without even giving you a chance. Start by introducing your services with a question or statement, and be sure to address the reader.
Let’s just look at one example from Netflix:
Watch TV shows & movies anytime, anywhere. Plans from $7.99 a month. Start your free month.
That’s the extent of Netflix’s home page copy, and guess what. It works. It tells visitors all they need to know without the fluff, and it gets them to head to page two (the sales page).
Note: Even if you don’t offer paid services, you can still use this technique as long as you have an “end” in mind. For example, a non-profit may use their home page to convince people to donate to their cause.
To get visitors moving down the sales funnel, always end your home page copy with a clear call-to-action. Tell your readers where to go next, but don’t give them so many options that they’re not sure which one to choose. Keep it simple and concise.
Netflix, for example, uses the call-to-action, “Start your free month.” You could go with anything from “Let’s Talk” to “Download Now” to “Get Started” and more.
2. About Page
It doesn’t matter who you are. You need an about page. Once a visitor sees that you offer the services they need (on the home page), they can explore your about page to decide whether you’re the service provider to go with. If your site is just for fun, your about page helps readers decide if they should keep coming back.
In short, this is a chance to sell yourself. Giving a dry play-by-play from your business start up to where it is now generally isn’t going to cut it. Like on your home page, you want to focus on your readers.
As Neil Patel and Joseph Putnam state in their Definitive Guide to Copywriting:
You need to write about your business in the context of how it helps your customers by focusing on their needs, by using “you” more than “we,” and by making sure your copy explains how you will help the customer instead of only providing a boring description of your business.
Your about page also gives you a chance to connect with your readers on a personal level. Small businesses, for example, can really use this to their advantage by sharing headshots and short bios of their employees since it helps customers connect with the company on a deeper level.
In short, your about page is neither about you nor your customers only. Your copy should be about building connections with your site visitors. That’s why a great headshot, customer-focused content, and even contact information is important.
If you need a bit of inspiration then go to bestaboutpages.com, it’s an entire website that showcase about us pages.
3. Contact Page
Even if you list your contact information on your sidebar or in your about page, you should also have contact information on its own separate page. Given that visitors expect this, it makes it easier to find.
Even if you’re not selling services and don’t need to provide customer support, a contact page is a good idea as some readers may want to offer feedback or ask questions. And if you’re a business? Keeping your contact information hidden is one sure way to lose a lot of customers.
Your contact page doesn’t have to be fancy. An address, phone number, and email is perhaps all you need. You could also include a built-in contact form. However, if you’re using a contact form, be sure you share an alternative means of contact in case users can’t access the form properly.
Local businesses can also include a map function that will help visitors pinpoint their location and easily figure out how to get there.
In some cases, you may want to include instructions for contacting you. For example, you may give a different email for press, advertisers, and general readers.
4. FAQs Page
Not every site needs a FAQs page if the purpose of the site or product is pretty straight-forward, but this is the type of page that one could easily use in any niche.
For an effective FAQs page, start by keeping track of questions customers pose via phone or email. Soon, you’ll have an idea of what questions you need to answer. If you’ve just launched your site, you can also ask friends to take a look and pose questions to include in your FAQs page.
Check out these additional tips:
- Be straight-forward in your answers so readers don’t have to sift through heaps of information to find what they’re looking for.
- Highlight the questions in bold or h2 tags so it’s easy to spot the questions customers came looking for.
- If you have lots of questions on your FAQs page, list the questions at the top and make each one clickable so it will take readers directly to the answer farther down the page.
- Don’t forget to use keywords as it’s good for SEO.
- Write in a conversational tone, and don’t be afraid to connect with your readers.
- Be sure the link to your FAQs page is easy to find.
For examples of good FAQ pages see this blog post on hongkiat.com.
Obviously these mentioned pages aren’t all you’ll have on your website. Depending on what type of site you’re running, you might include the following pages:
- Advertising Information
- Newsletter signup
What types of pages do you have on your website, and do you think everyone should have them? Let us know in the comment section.
Latest posts by Alicia Rades (see all)
- Do You Need an Editorial Calendar for Your Blog? - October 28, 2015
- 3 Website Building Options (And Which One to Choose) - October 20, 2015
- 3 Common Influencer Marketing Mistakes (And How to Avoid Them) - October 5, 2015