One of the most important steps you need to take when building a new website is to plan out that website. And one of the steps you don’t want to miss is determining which pages you must-have for your website.
There is a lot of debate here, but this is what I have found works the best for my clients who are just starting out. This list will include the must-have pages, besides your homepage, you need for your website’s launch. We’ll also look at the pages that are nice to have but not necessary for launch, and the pages everyone says you need but it’s ok if you decide not to use them.
The Must-Have Pages Besides Your Homepage
The about page is one of the most visited pages on any website. Why? Because people want to know who it is that they will be working with. They want to know the person behind the business.
This is the page where you will share your story. Why did you start your business? Why are you passionate about the niche you’ve chosen?
The trick is to not get carried away and make the page completely about you. You see the majority of what you write on your website should relate back to the potential client or customer. They want to know what’s in it for them. So use your story to answer that question for your potential clients. Make the benefits of working with you clear and tell them what kind of transformation they can expect after working with you.
You do want to include some personal and relevant items about yourself and your business on this page too. Your about page should also show your authority, experience, and trustworthiness. Why? Because these are things Google looks for when visiting your website. You can read more about it in this post on the EAT rating.
Here are a few things of note to add to your about page:
- Any experience/certifications you have for the services you are offering
- Mentions or appearances in leading websites, podcasts. newspapers
- Any awards you’ve received
Including these things shows your visitors and Google that you are a legitimate and trustworthy business. Also, please don’t worry if you don’t have these things to start with, you can add them as you acquire them. Your website will grow as your business grows!
Your about page is also a good place to include a section about your company values and standards. Including these will help you attract clients with similar values and standards.
Work with Me
What is it that you do? How does what you do make your client’s life easier? This is the page where you showcase that.
You want to make it very clear what you do and how the client can work with you. Including a bit about your process is helpful too so clients know what to expect.
For launch, it doesn’t have to be super complicated either. Take a look at my old service page. It’s not perfect, but it worked for my launch and told potential clients exactly the type of tasks I was available for.
Note: Be sure that your About and Work with Me pages include a clear call to action. What do you want the visitor to do next on each page?
An example call to action for your about page could be to check out your work with me page. The call to action on the Work with Me page could be to schedule a call with you. Do you see how that these CTAs take your visitor on a clear journey through your website?
You want to make it easy for potential clients, customers, sponsors, or brands to reach you with a contact page.
This page will be very simple. Include your contact info, a short paragraph detailing what visitors can contact you about, and a contact form. You can also include social media links and a Google Map, if you have a physical location.
You will have to deal with some SPAM from your contact form. This is a normal and unfortunate part of owning an online business. But it’s important to give visitors a way to contact you.
To minimize SPAM, use Google’s free Recaptcha to eliminate the bots.
Privacy and Legal Policies Pages
You may be thinking to yourself, I won’t be collecting any information from visitors, but you will.
Do you plan to use Google Analytics to track your traffic? Do you plan to have an email list? Will you allow visitors to comment on your blog? If you answered yes, then you are collecting information from your visitors.
Other legal policies you may want to include on a separate page are disclaimers, disclosures, terms and conditions, refund policies, copyright notice.
So how do you get these policies? Best practice is to visit a lawyer and have them write them for you, but there are also many places online that you can get templates to get you started.
One of my favorite resources for templates is Rocket Lawyer. They have a free trial so you can check them out to see if they will work for you. I’ve also taken some courses from Blogging for New Bloggers. Their Legal Bundle Value Pack includes everything you need to get started.
Nice to Have Pages
These are the pages you should consider adding to your website as your business grows. You can include them in the launch phase if you like but they aren’t a must-have.
Landing Page for a Free Opt-in
If growing your email list is one of your business goals, then having a free opt-in to your newsletter is a must. But if you don’t have this ready for launch, that is ok. It can take time to create a freebie that you know your audience will love.
Once you have it ready add an opt-in form to key places on your website and create a separate opt-in page just for the freebie. You’ll need this page to easily promote your freebie on social media and Pinterest. You will also be able to optimize the landing page for SEO so it can be found by Google and other search engines.
Thank you Page
After a visitor signs up for your freebie, send them to a Thank you page! This page will have a thank you message and tell them what they should do next. This could be something like check their inbox for their confirmation email. And then you could invite them to join your free Facebook group or follow you on Instagram. Whatever those next steps are make sure it aligns with your overall business goals.
What are the tools and resources you use in your business? List your favorites on a resource page. If you’re an affiliate for any of those tools be sure to add your affiliate link as this will give you a potentially easy way to add some affiliate income to your business.
You can add your own resources that you’ve created to this page too!
As your business grows, you’re going to be getting a lot of questions from potential clients and customers, Make note of the ones you get asked a lot, and add these with your answers to a Frequently Asked Questions page.
This will save you time as your customers can find the answers themselves. This can also be combined with your contact page as Lindsey did on her contact page. Wasn’t that a clever idea?!
Having a booking calendar like Acuity, Calendly, or Amelia makes it easy for potential clients to book a discovery call with you. This lets the client pick a time within your availability that works for them. I like having this calendar included on my website. But not everyone does.
To decide if this is right for you think about if you would prefer to have the client fill out a form and determine if they are a good fit before they schedule their call. If you decide they are a good fit, then you send them your calendar link. If this is your preference then you don’t need a booking calendar on your website.
But if you want to be able to talk to someone before you make a call on if they are a good fit, I recommend having a booking page. This will cut down on so much back and forth on deciding when to schedule your call.
Don’t Have to Have Pages
Whether you need to include the following pages, really depends on the type of business you have and your marketing strategy. Some sources will say these are must-have pages, but they aren’t. You may find that you never need to add these to your website.
Whether or not you have a blog really depends on your marketing strategy. If SEO is going to be a big focus for your marketing, then a blog is necessary as it allows you to rank for more keywords than you could without a blog. It also supplies your website with consistent, fresh content which Google loves.
But it’s not an absolute must for every business.
Having a page dedicated to testimonials or reviews isn’t necessary. Instead, it’s more beneficial to your users to sprinkle them throughout your website. Be sure to include them on your home, about, and work with me pages.
Media and Press Page
This will be beneficial for some businesses but not all. Have you been featured in a lot of places online? Then having a dedicated page to showcase that makes sense. Features could include podcasts, guest blog posts, news articles, brands you’ve worked with, interviews with news outlets, etc. You would want to include all of these on your media page.
But if you only have a few features, include these in a section on your about page. And if you don’t have any features yet, don’t worry about it. Remember this page isn’t a must for everyone.
There are many businesses that can really benefit from a portfolio page – photographers, graphic designers, artists, to name a few. But say if you’re a plumber or a locksmith you certainly don’t need one.
If your business does need a portfolio, remember it is something you will build over time, so if you don’t have anything to start with that is 100% ok. Or if your portfolio is small, you can always include it in a section on your Work With Me page instead of as a stand-alone page.
Whew! That’s a lot I know. But remember you only need those first five pages to get started. The rest are ones you can add as your business grows and you need them. Or you may find that you never need them at all. Or you can find ways to combine them into other pages if you want to.
The most important thing is to have a plan, so you know exactly which pages your business website needs right now.