Quite often I meet with clients that are starting a new business in the local area of Newmarket and Cambridge, who are looking to put together a website that shows the services that they can provide. Normally I end up meeting two types of client. One has a specific requirement and design idea and a strong mind on how they want the website to look. The second and the focus of this article, the client who does not really know where to start.
Both are equally welcomed to Digital Park, but I want to write about the type of basic requirements your website needs to your business. Most new business owners are swamped with work and marketing, sales and managing their own list of clients and can neglect to focus on a key aspect of their marketing, ‘a website’.
A website provides a permanent marketing tool that is easily accessible from the palm of any potential clients hand. The internet and smartphones has revolutionized the way we search and interact. We can find local businesses, find out whats on at the cinema and book a table to eat, while your at work or out shopping with friends.
Most of the time a website can get overlooked when you start your business, but as I just mentioned its a constant marketing tool of what services or products your business provides. Building a website can be fairly straight forward, marketing a website takes a little time and research for specific keywords that your business industry is focused on. Because it can take a little time for your website to get discovered by search engines, its wise to get it up fast and promoting your business.
So how can you get your website working for you quick and effectively? At the core of any website you need 4 essential pages.
- Home page
- About us
- Services / products
- Contact us
Now some people may disagree with this list, but these are the 4 main pages you require to get your website up and running. I will break down why each page is important and how you can reduce the clutter you think you need for your website to go live.
1. The home page
Possibly the most important part of any website is the home page. The home page is a window in to your business and you have a very short time to introduce your business to a potential customer. Why? Well, people have very short attention spans and if your website is not easy to understand, explains what you do, then they will leave and find another service that is easier to understand.
Following the trend would consist of having a ‘hero banner’ section. These are the large sliders or images seen at the top of a page when you first load a website. These are designed to do two tasks, to catch the eye of the viewer and to promote a service or page on your website. An example would be the latest Black Friday sales. Every online retailer and some service providers had big banners that lead potential customers to an area on the website that had special discounts. This helps the customer find what they are looking for, in this case discounts and improves the customers experience by having it prominent as the customer visits the home page and helps increase the retailers sales.
After the ‘hero banner’ you would usually find 3 or 4 smaller boxes which have a similar task, to highlight an area of a website and promote services. For example, a retailer would then link to ‘Gifts for her’, ‘Gifts for him’, ‘Christmas ideas’ etc, you get the general idea. This, again helps guide customers to specific areas of interest for them which is quick and easy to get to. Similar to how a business website is set up. These boxes would promote services that you provide such as events, latest news, contact us.
At the end of the day, your home page needs to have a ‘hero banner’, quick link boxes and a heading and paragraph about what you do as a business. The heading needs to explain who you are and what you do. The paragraph can then get in to a little more detail about the services you can provide.
Other additions to the home page can be blog posts, great fresh content and help promote services from your perspective. Testimonials are also a very handy example, they quote your existing clients on your services to help potential new clients how great your service is.
2. About Us
I always tell my clients to have an about us page, some prefer not to, but I think its fundamental in marketing your business to new clients. ‘About us’ lets you tell your side of the story, who you are as a person, who is behind the business that they plan to work with and very important first step. Building relationships with clients is a key part of working together in business and utilising the about us page in a way that gives new clients an insight to who you are as a person, how you run your business and why you business exists is a great way to start that relationship.
If new clients can see the story behind the business and the person or people that they plan to work with can help build bridges early on before any meetings take place. I include a photo of myself on this website, it helps people know who I am when meeting for the first time and the bio helps tell the story of Digital Park.
Note: Add a link to your contact us page on the About Us page.
The second most important page of you website is the services or in some cases your product page. This is the key reason a new client will be visiting your website. They require your service as you offer a unique skill that they cannot provide themselves. For a basic set up you only require to list your services and a short description of what you provide for that service. Later on you can start to add more pages that link off from the services page that provide more detail, photographs and even case studies from that service.
One common issue that my clients find, is thinking that they need to have the whole solution finished before going live. That is not the case. With busy clients I always suggest this method of creating 4 or 5 pages of the basic requirements of a website and then add pages and features are the business grows.
Website are always evolving and growing and are flexible, you can add new features and pages as you move forward. Having a finished website is very rare in the industry of website design, no one is ever really finished developing and growing a website.
4. Contact Us
So, home page is key for keeping our potential clients interested in our services and the services page give them a little more understanding on what you can provide. Contact us is the page that connects them all together. You should ideally link all your pages to your contact us page. The ability to let your clients get in touch with you is key for any business. Typically you would have email addresses, telephone numbers and a contact form. The contact form would send the clients details to your inbox and is a effective way to collect information for later, re-marketing to those clients. Think newsletters etc.
Having these 4 basic website pages are the minimum requirement for any new start up business or an existing business that has no clue how to get started. I think if you can work with just those pages its makes the process for the business owner a lot easier to focus of just 4 simple pages of content rather than a complex website of 15 – 20 pages.
So lets recap quickly:
Homepage – promote your services and link to key pages such as services and contact us.
About us – tell your story about the business and help build that relationship with new clients.
Services – list your services and detail how you can provide these to your clients.
Contact us – allow new clients to contact you.
4 simple pages that meet the basic requirements of your business website design.