Your website should have as many pages as it needs. This is one of those cases where the true answer sounds like a sassy conundrum designed to make you feel stupid for asking the question.
It’s true, though. Asking how many pages your website should have is like asking how many paragraphs a book needs; there isn’t a simple answer. Every time you want to write about a new thing with a new set of keywords, you should have a new page.
Are you thinking about navigation?
Part of the confusion over this question is that people confuse it with “How many tabs should my major navigation have?” This question is easier to answer.
You should have no more than seven main tabs in your navigation. Human brains can only keep about seven things in the short term memory at one time. That means that people can only decide among seven options. More choices may feel overwhelming.
Fortunately, that doesn’t mean that you can have only seven pages.
The five-page website
The idea of the five-page website comes from the five pages most businesses need:
- About Us
- Products and Services
Your organization might be different. Perhaps you offer both products and services, so you want a tab for each. Maybe there are specific additional authority pages that you want to include. Perhaps you have neither products nor services. Your basic site architecture depends on what you want to offer your visitors. Physician groups might include a list of clinics or an option to pay bills online, for example.
Once you’ve set you primary architecture, though, you can add as many additional pages as you want, using that primary architecture to sort them out.
Can you have too many pages?
As a general rule, the more pages you have, the better. A larger site usually performs better in search, having more pages allows you to compete for more keywords, and you can focus each page very specifically on just what the reader who searches for that page wants to find.
Since most people reach your website by searching, a search engine takes care of finding that specific page, and Google can handle it. You can use Google for an internal search engine, too, so that people can easily find what they want when they come to your website.
However, there are some things to consider as you add pages:
Your site could have pages for insurance, booking appointments, and new-patient policies under a main “Patient Information” heading and again under “Services,” and then again under “About Us.” This would be a mistake. You can link pages to one another as much as you like, but the initial sorting should give you pages with unique titles. If one thing really belongs on lots of pages, that’s what sidebars and footers are for.
Avoid miscellaneous pages.
We’ve seen people throw a glossary into their “About Us” page or make a “Resources” page with everything from articles to reciprocal links. Don’t do this. Give each page a clear focus and a clear title. Put only things that really belong there onto each page. If you end up with random stuff that doesn’t really belong under any of your headings, then you may have the wrong main headings, or that stuff may not belong on your website.
Avoid dead ends.
People don’t mind clicking along a logical path, but they should be able to get back to an earlier point easily. You can use breadcrumbs, links, or extra navigation bars on inside pages, but make sure no visitor has to back out with their “back” button. In general, if you think people need to go to your site map or if you feel that they need instructions like “Use your back button to return to…” then your site is not well designed. Reorganize the information and improve the design.
Focus on quality rather than quantity
In short, the number of pages isn’t usually the issue. It’s the way the site is written and designed that makes it work — or not. Haden Interactive is a content marketing firm specializing in health and wellness. We can help you get your healthcare marketing strategy on track, or you can outsource completely to us.