As we move further into the fourth quarter, you should be starting to think about your goals for your website for next year. (If you’re in retail, you should be thinking about surviving the holiday shopping, but you have one last moment to consider your website before Black Friday, so read on.)
We’ve just built a new website for a new division of a major insurance company. It’s a small, simple website which hasn’t been up long enough to have developed any complex issues, so it’s the perfect example for a walkthrough of a website.
Your homepage is almost always the first thing your visitors see. If you tend to bring your traffic in through the blog or sales-oriented landing pages, it’ll probably still be the most popular page. Whatever you really want your visitors to know, you must say it here. For the Latitude Global Contractor Insurance homepage, we combined evocative images with clear text and some dynamic content so people who find this page will know exactly what is offered and how to get it.
The “About Us” page is usually one of the pages that sees the least traffic — 10% at a typical website. However, it is a major page for establishing trust. For an insurance company — and especially a company offering highly specialized insurance that involves government regulations — trust is extremely important. If your business is particularly trust-based, About Us should be more prominent than it needs to be for the typical company.
In this case, the About page can serve as a sales page. Even if yours is seen by only 10% of your visitors, it will usually still be the page people go to when they’re ready to make a decision and need a little reassurance. This is where you put the degrees and experience and certification your team has, your philosophy, the number of generations a family business represents, the years you’ve been in business, your guarantees, and so forth.
Remember that most visitors won’t reach this page, though. It’s important for those who do, but this should never be the only place you put an important piece of information.
Goods and services pages
You need pages that describe your goods and services more fully. These pages are likely to be different for every company. An e-commerce site will have extensive pages describing and offering all their various products. A lead generation site like Latitude’s can focus on a page designed to persuade people to make contact.
In this case, Latitude wants to reach out to both end users of the insurance and brokers, and they plan to bring people to the site through direct sales, so they’re using landing pages (pages outside the basic navigation, which should be reached mostly through ads or direct links) for this purpose.
This is where you get into detail and focus on conversion; people who come to these pages are usually committed to reading, so you don’t have to limit yourself.
Once you have the basics — what you have to offer and how visitors can get it – you should consider additional pages of content that can improve results for search and conversion.
From the point of view of search engines, a site with more pages of good information is more valuable — and of course additional content makes the point of your website more clear to search engines. Adding additional unique content regularly is great for SEO, and it also brings visitors back regularly.
From the point of view of conversion, authority pages make it clear that you know what you’re doing. Customers who get useful information from you before they’re ready to buy will remember you and come back when they’re ready to buy.
For Latitude, we created a page that pulls in posts they’ve written, their tweets from Twitter, and a news feed. Visitors who are interested in this subject will see that this is a valuable resource.
Depending how you want customers to interact with you, you may have contact information in many places on your website. Still, you will probably always want a Contact page.
Put your street address here to encourage your website to show up well in local search, and use a Contact form to give visitors an easy way to ask you a question.
Most of our clients find that this is not the primary way people make contact. However, we’ve seen in testing how maddened people become when they can’t easily find a way to reach the site owner, so we recommend that everyone have one of these pages.
Construct your form to encourage or discourage contacts, and to capture the kind of information you want — all based on your business goals and your marketing plan.
These are the basic pages for a standard 5-page website. For the rest of the week, we’ll be looking at the individual pages. Look at your own website page by page as we do, and choose your action steps to get the most out of your website in the coming year.