What should I include on my website?
Don’t just rush into creating your website; take time to think about how you want to make the most of promoting your business online. A basic website will include:
- Home Page – This is where you will tell potential customers what your business is all about; what you offer and what your values are
- About Us – Share a little of your background and the history of the business. A photo is a great way of showing potential customers who they’ll be dealing with
- Products and Services – Show descriptions and images of the products or services that you’re providing
- Testimonials – Use quotes from previous customers to support the quality of what you offer. Again, photos will help bring the site to life
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) – Use this space to give customers some after sales advice or create questions that provide an initial answer and then encourage potential customers to seek your expertise
- Contact Us – Your contact details including an email address. Many design templates allow you to create a form or include a location map
You will also need to consider the following:
What is the aim of your website?
Working out the what the website needs to achieve will help to identify what functions your website needs to have.
- Is it to market your business (e.g. to be a showcase for your product or services, to capture leads, etc)?
- Is it to help you research your customers’ needs? Is it for customers to make direct purchases?
- Is it to provide support for customers (e.g. to help customers use or get the best from your products or services)?
- Will customers be able to sign up for newsletters?
How many pages will it need?
Before creating a load of content, you’ll need to consider how and where this will sit on your site:
- How many pages will the website need (e.g. one per product or service area, or one for each type of customer)?
- How many different types of web page are required?
- Will you be posting blogs?
- Will customers be able to post reviews and leave comments?
- Will it have a discussion forum?
How will the pages be presented?
The answers to these questions will help determine the scope of the website including its structure, size and complexity.
- What sort of feel does the site need to have?
- Will it be elegant, serious, informal, homely or fun?
- As well as having text and images, what other sort of content is required? Video? Audio? Animation?
- How often will the content of the website need updating?
How will the website be created?
If you’re creating the site yourself with a DIY web builder, you can ensure the one you choose can do what’s required. If you’re using a web designer or agency, they can assess what budget’s required and discuss cost-effective solutions. For example, if content needs updating frequently, the most effective method may be to have a content management system (CMS). Some of these are open source (free) but require someone with technical expertise to set them up. However, once this has been done, it’s quick and simple for you to change and update content.
How will visits to the website be tracked?
Another example is usage data – how visitors find the site, what pages they visit and in which order, what parts they click on most, etc. There are tools that you or your web agency can install on your site to collect this sort of information. You can analyse the usage and decide if you need to change any aspects of the site, e.g to encourage more visitors to sign-up.