Business websites serve many purposes. It can provide information to existing or potential customers, generates sales, or develop sales leads. The basic consideration on what to include in a business website depends on the specific purpose of the website.
The Home Page
A good "home" page conveys the most important information of the business and makes a definite call for action. One good approach is having a summary of all the important sections such as “Product Details” and “About Us” with a link to each section. The "home" page could list out the key services offered by the company, or one or two top products, with a link to the detailed “Products” or “Services” page for the comprehensive product description and listing of other products or services.
Some "home" pages include a “Latest Updates” or “What’s New” link that features latest information such as new product releases, new branch openings, price revisions, trade shows, and other recent developments.
Good business websites design the "home" page as the hub of the website, with links to other pages emancipating from the homepage, and all other pages containing a link back to the homepage.
Image Credit: flickr.com/Mark Holloway
“Products” or “Service” Page
The product or service page highlights the major activity of the business. It is usually arranged product wise, and contains product specifications, photographs, and highlights, aimed at providing comprehensive information about the product or service to the visitor. The product page may also allow downloading of product or service manuals by customers or other visitors. It is a good idea to include the product price unless strategic reasons preclude disclosing product pricing.
An important approach when listing products in the business website is to specify what to do, without assuming that the potential customer will do the obvious. For instance, end the product listing with sentences such as “Call 800-****-**** for more information or custom quote,” “Click here for the route map to our nearest store to buy this product” or “Click here to order”
Extensive product information may require a separate page for each product or service, or for groups of products or service. Long pages may take too long to load, testing the patience of the visitors. Short multiple pages moreover allow optimization for pages for different keywords, helping the website achieve better SEO rankings.
Incorporating a FAQ or Frequently Asked Questions page is one good way of providing information to potential customers. Make sure to include the common questions that most people ask regarding the product or business, with a form to email questions not listed in the FAQ page.
Many websites have a separate testimonials page to list the accolades received from delighted clients. A better practice is to include the testimonials along with the main pages such as home page or product description page, for better visibility. Most visitors consider such testimonials as exaggerations or untrue, and as such a good practice is ensure that such testimonials are verifiable by including the contact details or name and address of the person who provided them.
Continue to Page 2 for more elements and key considerations regarding what to include in a business website.
About Us Page
The “About Us” page is the most underestimated part of a business website. Use this page to talk about the history of the company, the promoters, key personnel, and interesting stories related to the company, all aimed to demonstrate how the company could serve its customers better. Most visitors remain favorably inclined to a business with a good “about us” page.
Image Credit: flickr.com/nakedsky
Contact Us Page
Many businesses ignore to incorporate a “Contact Us” page or element in their website. The “Contact us” page or element can be a feedback form or an email address, either as a separate page or at the end of important pages such as product details. It can also be a page listing the detailed address with telephone and fax, and preferably a map to the store or office location, and the name, designation, and telephone number of the person to contact for additional information or other matters.
The “contact” element allows the visitor to initiate contact with the company, and becomes a strong sales lead. It also encourages visitors to send in their feedback or any specific queries, something they might remain reluctant to do so by sending a separate email.
Good business websites are clear, intuitive, easy to use, and easily navigable, with a simple and uncluttered design that allows visitors easy access to the different parts of your website from any part of the website.
A good business website communicates the benefits of patronizing the business or using the products or services offered. Many websites make the mistake of telling the visitor all about the business and the product but fail to address the issue of how the business or the products would solve the visitor’s problem.
Other key considerations when deciding what to include in a business website include the following:
- People tend to scan web pages and rarely take the trouble to read long passages. Web Context therefore need to be brief, punchy, and to the point, and highlighted, in big font, with frequent use of bulleted lists, headings and sub-headings
- Make liberal use of photos, video clips and other multimedia applications without relying on words alone to retain visitor interest. Success of a webpage depends largely on the right balance of text and pictures.
- Write keyword dense content and follow other tools to rank the website high in search engines. Applying SEO considerations to the content is as important as proper grammar.
- Create hyperlinks that lead from one section to another instead of expecting the user to go to the index or header bar and search or the required information
- Include a website search that allows visitors to locate what they want easily. For instance, typing the term “Rewritable CD” would direct to the CD product pages without the visitor having to go to the products main page and scroll down the list looking for CDs, and then locate “Rewritable CDs” from the list o all CD’s.
Great business websites give much thought to the content and structure, and becomes the best advertisement for the business, enhancing the stature of the business.