What are the must-have web pages for (almost) every site?
If you receive my newsletter, you may have seen that I recently turned down a potential client. The question of essential web pages – and vastly differing perspectives about what makes ‘good’ SEO – were at the crux of my decision.
The business owner concerned wanted to sit at the top of Google (completely understandable!) and to bring in 50 new students every two months (again, a great goal) BUT he wasn’t willing to develop his website beyond its current five basic web pages with almost non-existent content.
We talked about how a website has to serve its audience and that it needs to provide genuine value. I explained that you can’t attract the right people and convert them into customers without any content.
He disagreed, saying “Surely if I could just put keywords in the right place and in the right quantity, Google’s top spot would be assured?”
Ultimately, we agreed we weren’t a right fit. And I’m fine with that. But I thought you might find it useful to hear what I consider to be the must-have web pages for most sites and why.
1. Home page
That it’s essential for your website to have a Home page probably goes without saying, but it’s a good place to start.
Stats show that this is usually the number one most visited page on any website, so it’s potentially the most influential landing page at your disposal.
What makes a great Home page?
The Home page has a lot of heavy lifting to do. Like a shop window, it needs to invite visitors into your site, show what your business has to offer, and help people identify whether they are in the best place to meet a particular need.
Ideally, your Home page copy should be clear, succinct and attention grabbing. People want to be able to find the information they need as quickly as possible. Recent figures show that 86% of people want to see product or service information on a Home page – it’s best to give an overview of the different options, unless you have one core offering, in which case that can be the focus.
A massive 70% of small business websites don’t have a call to action, but people really appreciate being told what they need to do next, so a call to action on your Home page – even if it’s some form of “Go here next” prompt – is a great way to convert visitors to customers.
Want more advice about creating a compelling Home page? Check out: Home page SEO
2. About page
Although the Home page is usually the most visited page on the website, the About page often comes a close second.
People like to know a bit about the company – and, more specifically, the person or people – they’re about to work with or buy from. They want to know what you care about and, most importantly, why you’re the right choice for them.
The About page is a logical page to communicate this.
You can also use the About page to establish your experience, expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness (EEAT), which helps customers to feel that they’re in safe hands and is great for SEO.
What makes an engaging About page?
The About page is the ideal place to introduce yourself, your business and/or your team.
Think about ways you can grow that all-important know-like-trust factor. This could be by highlighting when you’ve been featured as an expert in the press, awards you’ve won or businesses you’ve worked with.
Let your unique voice shine through here.
And remember this golden rule – your customers should always sit at the heart of your About page. Frame everything in terms of how and why your values, offering and achievements mean you can help them.
Want to know the 10 essentials you need on your About page? Check out: How to write an About Us page that wins your audience’s loyalty and trust
3. Contact page
There are a few reasons why your website should have a Contact page instead of just featuring your email address or phone number in the header of your site.
For a start, it sends a clear message to your customers that you want to hear from them.
It can also help from an SEO perspective, especially if you want your site to rank at the top of local searches. Google likes websites to feature a business name, address and phone number (NAP) that’s consistent with how the same NAP is listed in online directories and on social media. This is a great sign that your business is established and genuine.
Having a contact page can add an extra layer of security to your website, especially if the page features a contact form. This is because many spammers use spambots to ‘scrape’ email addresses from websites, whereas a contact form is less vulnerable to this.
What should a great Contact page include?
My advice would be to ensure that your Contact page includes your business NAP and links to your social media profiles.
I would also include a contact form rather than your email address. Most contact forms can be directly linked to your email software so that you can send out automated campaigns to contacts if they opt into your mailing list.
As you’ll see from the SEO+ Contact page, this is a great place to add some key points about the benefits of becoming a customer. You could include a few snippets from testimonials to add some more of that all-important “social proof” to your website.
4. Service page (*if you offer services)
This is one of the few web pages on this list that won’t be essential for every website. However, if you run a service-based business, you should have at least one page on your site that outlines your services.
If you have several different service offerings, the most logical approach is usually to have a main service page that gives an overview of the different options and then link to a series of individual service pages too.
What makes a Service page that is likely to convert?
As with every page on your website, your messaging should be clear and compelling.
Think about why each feature of your services will matter to a potential customer and then highlight the benefits. Will it save them time? Require less tech knowledge? Enable them to delegate to someone they can trust?
Also, you’ll need to show what makes your services different from what your competitors are offering.
If your service pages are struggling to convert website visitors into dream clients take a look at these seven essential ingredients of super service pages
5. Products page (*if you sell products)
Again, this is a page that won’t apply to every website but is essential if you sell physical or digital products.
How you structure your product pages will depend on what products you sell via your website. Many sites with online stores sort the products by categories and have a product page for each category, then a page for each product.
The task here is to provide a logical overview of the types of products you offer. You might want to feature your most popular products or product categories on the Home page of your website. These products might change with the season or with different offers, campaigns or events.
What should an individual product page include?
There are many things you can add to a product page to make it more appealing to customers and likely to rank well in searches:
- An optimised URL featuring the product name
- A descriptive SEO title tag and meta description
- A clear product title (usually on the top-left of the page)
- High resolution images
- Unique product descriptions that reflect your brand voice
- Quantity and colour options
- Product videos
- User reviews
- Easy-to-find “Add to basket” or “Buy now” button
- Clear prices
- Product codes
- Trust signals, such as the number of previous buyers
- Available stock levels
These are just a few ideas that will help your product pages to convert to sales. Want to know more? You can check out my essential guide to creating product pages that convert.
I believe that having a blog on your website and regularly publishing new content on it is possibly the single most effective way to reach new customers and get found in searches.
There are many reasons why I think blogging is so powerful.
The other pages on your website will usually have a focused message and give fairly top-level information about what you offer. Each new blog article represents an opportunity to demonstrate that you know your stuff and to provide content that helps your audience.
There’s also an opportunity with every blog article to target topics and keywords that are less competitive but will bring high-quality traffic to your site – i.e., your ideal customers who are actively looking for what you sell.
Blogs can provide you content for social media, for your newsletters, for presentations and ebooks, helping you get as much mileage as possible out of what you create, which is a real-time and money saver.
What should a business blog include?
If you’re new to blogging, a sensible starting point is to identify a few core subject areas that are relevant to your business and that could provide categories for your blogs. Most of the blogs on the SEO+ website, for example, sit under three main categories: SEO, social media, and content marketing.
I’ve written a large number of guides to blogging, so you might find the following helpful, particularly if you have a WordPress website:
- Why your website needs a blog
- WordPress blog guide
- How to write a perfect blog post (and format it in WordPress)
- Blog publishing checklist
- How to promote your blog and get the most mileage out of your content
I’ve also created a Blogging for Success workbook, which walks you step-by-step through launching a blog and creating the right content for your audience – print it out or fill it in online.
Do your potential customers ask the same questions time and again?
This can give you valuable insights into what content needs to be on your website.
FAQs can also show you what kind of barriers are stopping people from becoming customers. For example, are they worried about technical issues? Do they have questions about postage or delivery charges? Do they want to be able to find a digital version of a product manual?
The kinds of FAQs you receive will depend on the nature of your business, but having somewhere on your website that answers these questions can save you and your customers time and cut right through the blocks to buying.
Answering FAQs on your site can also boost your organic SEO efforts and provide another page for Google to rank in searches.
What should you include on your FAQ page?
As I’ve mentioned above, your FAQ page should answer the questions that come up all the time from current and potential customers.
Think about what people worry about, what holds them back from buying or what helps them to feel confident about their purchase and give this information.
Your FAQs can also signpost what they need to do next.
If you have lots of FAQs, you could sort them into different sections, such as all the FAQs about pricing, delivery, returns, etc. grouped together.
If there are FAQs specific to a product or service, another approach is to answer those on the relevant product or service page. This will help people find the information they need quickly and easily.
Before we buy from a company for the first time, most of us have that nagging voice at the back of our heads – or, sometimes, right at the front! – that wonders whether we’re going to regret our purchase.
We don’t want to waste money, look silly or end up with an unmet need when we thought we’d found a solution.
Reviews, testimonials and case studies from genuine customers are all a fantastic way to show that it’s safe to buy from you.
The 2023 Local Consumer Review Survey by BrightLocal shows that 98% of people now regularly read reviews before making a purchase, and that the most trusted source of reviews is Google.
Approximately one in three people say they always read reviews before they buy. Therefore, it’s wise to ask customers to leave Google reviews as part of your post-sales process and to feature them on your website.
Do testimonials need their own page?
There are several different ways to handle testimonials – these include:
- Asking people to leave Google reviews (or TripAdvisor as another example) but leave them on your Google Business profile rather than your website
- Having a dedicated Testimonials page on your site
- Peppering testimonials throughout your content, including on your Home page or on relevant product or service pages
I think it’s important to have testimonials on your website, whether they have their own page or not. My top tip is to use a customer’s name and photo where possible or, if they’re a business client, even link to their website. This will help to show that the reviews are genuine.
Also, if you want to feature testimonials throughout your site, the best strategy is to use ones that highlight particular benefits of an offering on the landing page where you’ve presented that offering to the audience.
Want to attract more Google reviews? Check out Google reviews – how to get them and why you need them
9. Terms, Conditions and Policies
Termly describes privacy as “a space that belongs to an individual” and says that “neither a government nor companies can intrude without permission”. Of course, most of us choose to share aspects of our privacy all the time – for example, our name, email address, postal address, mobile number, birthday, or credit card details.
Your customers will also find it helpful if your Terms and Conditions are laid out clearly on your website. These can include:
- The terms for using your website (e.g., ownership, copyright, acceptable use, links to other sites, etc.)
- Ordering, booking or delivery terms and conditions
- Course requirements
- Payment terms
- And other T&Cs relevant to your business
There are a number of websites that offer free or relatively inexpensive templates for website Terms and Conditions or Privacy Policies. You can usually edit these to reflect your business. It’s advisable to have a solicitor or suitably qualified person check the Terms and Conditions before you publish them. Always make a note on the page when the Terms were last updated.
10. Site Map
A Site Map is a list of all of the indexable content on a website. While it isn’t essential to feature one on your site, it’s good practice to help Google discover all of the URLs (web pages) you want to show up in searches.
How do you create a site map?
I’m not going to get too technical here as there are many different ways to create a site map for your website. If you have a WordPress site, for example, several plugins can handle this, including Yoast. Squarespace or Wix sites have site map options too.
I’ve linked to a couple of guides below from high-authority sources that explain more about adding a site map if you don’t already have one:
- HubSpot guide to site maps
- SEMRush’s guide to Website Site Maps Explained
- 20i’s “What is a site map?” guide
11. Page Not Found
Inevitably, visitors to your website will occasionally land on a page that no longer exists. When this happens, do you know what they see? Usually, there’s a fairly generic “404 Error” or “Page not found” message.
Landing on a page like this can be frustrating for visitors. How do they find the content they were looking for? Are you able to help them? Where do they go next?
People may leave your site when they land on a missing page, so the 404 error page often represents a final opportunity to engage with them.
Why is it important to customise your 404 Error page?
Customising your 404 Error page means you can add more personality to your website and turn what could be a frustrating event into a good user experience (UX).
The level of customisation is up to you. You could add your branding, an image, a link back to your Home page or other helpful content. Some companies use humour, others are apologetic. The most important thing is to create a page that shows you care about helping the searcher find what they were looking for – or the next best option.
Need some inspiration? Here are 40 brilliant 404 error pages.
12. Press/latest news/featured in (a nice-to-have page)
Finally, I’m going to end with a page that won’t be a good fit for every site but can be game-changing for some.
If you do a lot of PR work and are featured in the press or media regularly, or release news about the people and activities in your organisation or thought pieces about your industry, then I’d recommend adding a Press or Latest News page to your website.
What makes a good Press page?
If you are going to have a Press page, it’s important to regularly update it. People expect news to be fast-moving and may be concerned if the last “big” news piece on your site happened a few years ago.
Think about what you might want to feature on this page. New staff, milestones, staff and business achievements, new product or service launches, etc. are all a good fit here.
If you’re not confident that you’ll have enough news to share, you could always publish news articles within your main blog under a “Latest news” category.
Confidently turn your website into a sales tool and lead generator
There you have it – what I consider to be the must-have web pages (and a few that depend on your business) because they provide genuine value.
Does your site have all of these? Which don’t you have? When was the last time you reviewed the content on your site with the essential web pages in mind?
Once you’ve got all the right pages, would you like to know how to tap into their full potential?
My Website Sales Booster course shows you how to implement my proven website sales success process and includes the website optimisation strategies that turn every page into a ‘traffic magnet’, attracting a steady stream of visitors who are actively seeking what you sell. Click the link to find out more: www.seo-plus.co.uk/website-sales-booster
Hazel Jarrett, director of SEO at SEO+, is well-known in the SEO space, has won many awards during her 20-year career and has been published on various well-known sites. Through her services and training programs, her SEO strategies have generated 10s of millions of sales for her clients, earning her a big reputation for delivering the results that matter.
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