The #1 question I get when I talk to business owners about creating a new website is…
“What pages does my website need?”
Good news is – for a basic website that gives enough information to get a visitor to take the next step (i.e., call you, email you, sign up for a session with you, buy a product, etc.) – you don’t need a ton of pages.
What’s the magic number?
“Seven??? But, Cheryl – that’s a lot of pages!”
Actually, it’s not a lot.
Especially because 4 of these pages have minimal copy on them. Such minimal copy, in fact, that most people totally forget about them while writing a new website… until the last moment when they think, “Oooohhh, right. That page.”
You’ll see what I mean in a moment.
(Now, if you’re wondering about that “single-page website” trend going on right now, where ALL of your website is on one, loooong homepage with different sections – don’t worry. This article applies to you, too. Just make each of these pages a “section” on that homepage.)
So what ARE these seven pages?
Glad you asked. 🙂
The 7 Webpages Your Business Website Needs
- About Page
- Services / Products Page
- Blog Page
- Contact Page
- Free Gift Landing Page
- Thank You Page
Before we begin, I recommend downloading my free “Write Your Website” Checklist to help you out with this. It gives you ALL the different elements to include on each of the pages we’re going to talk about. Plus, it’s free. 🙂
Now – wanna talk about what each page does? Let’s!
1. The Homepage
This is the first page a visitor sees when she comes to your main URL.
Its job is to catch your visitor’s attention, and then keep her attention long enough to…
- Let her know that you’re talking to HER (by identifying her problem or desire, preferably in a compassionate way)
- Give a little teaser of how you can help her (so she’ll want to learn more)
- Give her an intro to your style, personality, sense of humor (if you’re a personal brand, where you are the face and voice of your company) – or an intro to your company’s overall brand and tone (if you’re not the “face” of your company).
- Get her to opt in for your email list (by offering her a free gift, like a PDF guide in exchange for her email address)
- Tell her where to go next on your site (so she doesn’t get lost, click away, or end up looking at your pages in the wrong order)
How do you do all of this?
First, you want an attention-grabbing headline. Something that’ll stop a visitor in her tracks and make her want to read more.
You also want a clear explanation of who it is you help and what you do. (For example, if you help moms who are struggling with toddler temper tantrums, SAY that.)
Then you want to let her know that you actually understand what she’s dealing with. You do this by clearly describing her problem the same way she describes it.
Let me repeat that last part – describe her problem the same way she describes it.
Why? Because if you use her language (instead of your jargony “expert” language), she’ll feel like you really get her. Like you’re reading her mind. Which means she’ll be way more likely to believe you can help her.
(Note: beware of going too far into how you help here. If you do something truly unique that people are actually looking for – sure, mention it. But too many service professionals get wrapped up in explaining their methodology, which isn’t what a potential client cares about. She cares about: do you understand her problem and can you get her the results she wants?)
Finally, tell her where to go next on your site.
You get to control her journey and ensure that she sees your pages in the order you think will best introduce her to you. Think of it as taking care of a lost visitor.
This is your call to action – and it should include a link or button that takes her to the next page you want her to visit.
(Note: I don’t recommend that your call to action on the Homepage be to schedule a call with you or to buy from you. It’s too early in the relationship. Send them to another page, instead.)
Yes, you can still have other options on the homepage, like “The Latest Blog Post.” But make sure there’s a clear #1 “next step” that you prefer for her to take.
What if you have 2 different groups of people?
Let them categorize themselves early on. Have 2 options: “Do you have toddlers? Go here.” and “Have teens? Go here.” Then send them to a page that is written specifically for their chosen group.
2. The About Page
Since the About Page is typically the second most-viewed page on your website after the homepage – I recommend directing your visitor to come here next.
Besides, she needs to get to know you better before you start asking her to call you or spend money.
The main thing to know with the About Page is this – even though it’s your About Page, it’s actually still about your potential client or buyer.
She’s still trying to figure out if YOU are the person who can help her.
If you have a story that’s similar to what your potential client is going through, then tell that story.
(Because, in a way, you’re telling her story, too. Only, your version shows her what life can be like once she has conquered her current struggle.)
If you don’t have a story like that, you can spend more time diving into what her problem looks like and how you help. And then you can add some fun personal details, like your goofy passions.
Finally, tell her where to go next.
3. The Services / Products Page
This is where your visitor gets to look at what you have to offer.
If you only have 1 offer at the moment, like a private coaching program, then just talk about what it’s like to work with you in that program on this page. (Be sure to focus more on the benefits and results, rather than the features or methodology.)
If you have multiple offers, you can either describe all of them on this page – or give short blurbs about each one, along with a link to a longer page that gives more info about each offer.
But the big thing you MUST remember for this page – tell your visitor what to do next!
Yes, I keep telling you to do this.
That’s because you don’t want to get someone all excited and then leave her hanging. Or make her have to figure out how to get in touch with you/get more info/buy. If she has to scroll back up to your navigation bar to find the “Contact Me” page, then you’ve just killed her momentum.
So – whatever next step you want her to take, tell her what that step is and give her a link or button to actually TAKE it.
4. The Blog Page
This is one of those “minimal copy” pages.
As in – it needs ZERO copy.
Why? Because you’re going to be filling it up with blog articles. It doesn’t really need an explanation or introduction.
You just have to decide:
- Do you want to have short snippets of each article, with links that open up the full thing?
- Or do you want to display the full article on this page (which means, as I scroll down your blog page, I can read the full article without clicking away, and then I can read the next full article without clicking away, etc.)?
“Wait a sec,” you may be thinking. “Can’t I just put my blog posts on the Homepage?”
Short answer? Yes.
BUT – One BIG Caveat: You still need other copy on your Homepage, not just your latest blog post.
Think about it: if your Homepage is supposed to be an amazing introduction to you, then you want that copy to be GOOD.
And let’s be honest – your latest blog post is not always going to be your best work. And sometimes, it might only focus on one small aspect of your work. So your blog is NOT going to be the best way to introduce yourself to a brand new visitor.
5. The Contact Page
This puppy is where your website visitor – you guessed it! – can get in touch with you.
It’s where you put your contact info or a “contact form.”
Don’t worry – if you use a platform like WordPress or Squarespace, you can easily add a simple form. If you’re not using a platform like that, you likely have a developer building your site, anyway, and he or she will be able to give you a contact form.
6. The Free Gift Landing Page
THIS is the page that most people forget when they start to create a new website.
Why? Because it’s kinda separate from the rest of your site.
This page is different from the email opt-in form that lives on your Homepage.
Instead, this is an entire webpage with one sole purpose: to get visitors to sign up for your email list by opting in for a Free Gift.
This is where you’ll want to send traffic from ads and social media posts, because visitors are more likely to sign up for your email list here than on your Homepage.
And yes, it’s more important for them to get on your email list than for them to browse your website.
Once they’re on your list, you can get back in touch with them via email newsletters, build a relationship, and eventually promote your services and products.
If they simply visit your Homepage, they’re less likely to opt in to your email list.
And even if they love what they see on your website, there’s a good chance they’ll think, “Awesome. I’ll have to remember this and come back to it when I need this again.” Then they’ll close your website and promptly forget you exist. That’s why you need to get them on your email list.
So the Free Gift Landing Page simply tells them what the gift is (and why it’s so friggin’ awesome), and gives them a way to “opt in” for that gift by giving you their email address.
7. The Thank You Page
Yet another page we always forget to plan for!
This is the page people arrive on AFTER they opt in to your email list (either via the opt-in form on your main website, or via the Free Gift Landing Page).
It basically says, “Yay! Congrats! Thank you for grabbing the [free gift]! It’ll be sent to your inbox shortly.”
(Check out my short article about how to add more personality to your Thank You Page here.)
You could also give a call to action (a “next step”), like a link back to your blog or homepage.
And there you have it! The 7 pages!
Are there other pages you can create? Absolutely.
You may have a whole suite of programs, products, or offerings, and you may want a separate page for each one.
You may want to add some “informational” pages that explain your methodology.
You may want to have a Testimonials Page where you display all the rave reviews past clients have given you. (Though I also recommend scattering the best testimonials throughout your site, even if you do have a Testimonials page.)
You may want to have a Speaking Page if you’re trying to get booked for speaking gigs. (This page would let them know what you’re like as a speaker, your different topics, and how to get in touch with you. It could also include a downloadable Speaker Kit or Media Kit.)
But the 7 pages above should get you started on your new website.
Now, you likely have one more big question…
How much copy is too much copy?
There’s a recent trend toward super short copy.
Which most entrepreneurs are super excited about. We like to think “no one wants to read a lot of copy these days.”
Well… that’s true. No one would ever tell you they WANT to read a lot of copy.
But the thing is – if you don’t have enough copy to show me that you’re talking to me, that you understand me, that you can actually help me, and that this is the way you can help me… I won’t ever sign up with you.
Think about it – when you’re trying to decide whether or not to invest time, energy, or money into something, you WANT all the details. You want to know exactly who you’re dealing with and what you’re getting.
And if someone is speaking your language and telling you that she can solve your #1 biggest nightmare problem – you WANT her to keep talking. “Tell me more, tell me more!”
So it’s not about “How LITTLE copy can I get away with?”
It’s about “How much copy does your visitor need in order feel confident and comfortable enough to take the next step?”
That said – don’t just write a ton of copy for the sake of making it longer. Every word should be there for a reason.
Also keep in mind – internet readers DO skim when they read. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you should aim for super short copy. That means you should tighten your copy up and write in a manner that keeps re-engaging skimmers, like using short paragraphs, subheads, bullets list, etc.
Okay, superstar. I hope this was helpful.
Now… go write!