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It seems like something so simple but in reality, figuring out what to include on your website isn’t easy. It takes a lot of testing of ideas and a knowledge of how people behave online. However, there is some content that every website should have and most likely, you’re missing some of it. Other items aren’t so straightforward.
The basics aren’t so basic. For reasons that make web experts scratch their heads, some websites are missing the most obvious content so let’s lay out the non-negotiables.
Your Logo at the Top- No need to get artsy with design. People expect to see your logo in the upper left corner of your site. It could be in the center but make sure it’s there.
Company Name- Looking “trendy” doesn’t make you exempt from including your company name. And it can’t be embedded in an image. Google can’t read images so if your company name isn’t in text format, Google won’t see it.
Your Contact Information- address with a clickable Google maps link if you have a physical presence and clickable phone number so people can easily get in touch with you. This information should be easy to find within seconds. A contact link in the foot and/or header is ideal.
What You Do- At the top of your website, you should say what you do in as few words as possible. Uber has an image of a smiling person in the driver’s seat of a car with text that says, “Get there.” You may find it hard to be that concise but that’s the idea.
Text About Them Rather Than You- You’re proud of your business, and you should be, but your customer probably doesn’t care. Unless you’re writing an “About” page, nobody wants to read how many clients you’ve serviced or how your service is “top-notch” or “better than the rest.” They want to know how you can solve their problem. Speak to that.
Content Should Constantly Change- If your website is stale, your customers will believe that your business is too. Keep content fresh, relevant, timely, and all about giving to them in some way.
Standard Pages- You still need an about page, a contact us page, and a homepage but for informational purposes, don’t add much more. You don’t need multiple pages of company history or a page that has the logos of everybody you’ve worked for. The less pages the better.
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Now that you have the basics for all sites, let’s look specifically at e-commerce sites. E-commerce is all about selling but that doesn’t mean that it’s a total hard sell the whole time.
A Blog- You may or may not need this depending on your offerings. If you’re a specialty e-commerce site, a blog can make a lot of sense. Mr. Porter is a UK based specialty menswear e-commerce site well known for their blog. Articles like, “What to wear to the Gym this January” and, “A Dopamine-Releasing Recipe From an Expert Chef” are examples of how the company creates an immersive experience that speaks to a lifestyle instead of just selling.
User Generated Content- Social media has changed how we shop. We care what the company tells us but we put more weight on the opinions of customers just like us. Have a place for people to post reviews of the products you sell.
The Price- Don’t be shy about the putting the price where people can see it right away. You want qualified buyers and they don’t want to waste their time. Stay away from things like, “click here to see the price.”
Easy Purchasing Experience- The more the customer must click, the more likely you’ll lose the sale. As you think through content on your site, how can you get them from learning about the product to entering their credit card information the fastest?
Lead Generation Sites
Lead generation sites aren’t as much interested in directly selling the customer a product or service—although they might be later on. For now, they want to build a list of qualified people or want to generate traffic for ad clicks or other monetization strategies that don’t include direct selling. Often these are blog sites. Here are a few items a blog site should have.
A Sign Up Form- Actually, nearly every site should have a sign up form but for lead generation sites, getting somebody onto your e-mail list is the ultimate win. Popups still work but people are growing increasingly annoyed by them and Google is reportedly now penalizing what it calls “intrusive interstitials.” Google doesn’t want popups that cover main page content where the user has to click off of it to continue on the site. You still need a sign up form but how can you do it without annoying your reader?
An RSS Feed- Yes, RSS is getting a little old but it’s still widely used in mobile apps and computers. For people who read a lot of blogs, an RSS feed is how they know you posted a new article.
Video Content- You can still get a lot of mileage out of text posts but content is quickly moving more toward video. If you haven’t explored video content, now’s the time to get in the game. Your phone provides a great a way to get into video blogging and services like Facebook Live allow for great content without a lot of work.
Expert Posts- You’ve likely noticed that everybody seems to have a blog now and many have blogs about content they’re not experts in. Find experts in the field and interview them. Make blog posts highly authoritative and valuable. Rule of thumb—if you’re getting your information from other blog posts, you’re probably not standing out.
Intentional Call to Action- If your goal is to get them signed up on your e-mail list, have a signup call to action at the end of every post. You might even embed a sign up form into the post. Don’t let them read your content without asking them to sign up unless you have an intentional reason.
Don’t forget about the basics but depending on the type of site, there are other items you should also have. Like anything with content marketing, test, retest, and test again. Be willing to give up what you believe are good ideas if the data tell a different story.
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