We’ve explored in a previous blog the three categories of web pages you can include on your website: important, useful, and optional, as well as the essential elements on each of the important pages. Now, let’s go into a deeper exploration of the last two categories, useful and optional web pages.
This presents your abilities and your understanding of your niche. It should be dedicated to showcasing your top successes only. That includes both samples of your work as well as any awards or certificates. You also have to ensure that what you’re showcasing is something that people are searching for or expecting to see.
Some important elements to include in your portfolio are descriptions/specs, categories, and visuals to creatively represent your work. Make sure to specify, either in a disclaimer or in the individual descriptions, that you own the rights to your work and that it cannot be used without prior permission. To further protect your intellectual property, you could include items like a copyright/registered/trademark symbol (©/®/™), a watermark, or a personal confirmation by the website user before downloading anything off your site.
A blog needs to support the information on your portfolio, by demonstrating your additional or complementary skills and knowledge. This allows a visitor to understand your thought process and experiences, as well as your industry and niche at large. Just like with a portfolio, the blog has to include information that a user would be looking for, need, and/or expect to see.
The best blogs have an organized framework, with headings and subheadings, bullet points, and consistent paragraph structure. They may also include hyperlinks, highlights, different font designs and sizes, pictures, and CTAs. Most blogs focus on providing explanations or advice, but you may also include opinion articles, news, or trends.
3. Frequently Asked Questions
Your visitors might have questions about details that you have not fully covered in your general website copy. It can be quite helpful, for both you and them, to include a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page. On there, you would address information that is hard to find on your website or that you’ve omitted.
One easy way of organizing this page, especially if you have lots of questions and answers, is to list all the questions at the top and link each of them to a lower part of the page where their corresponding answer is located. Alternatively, you may use dropdown buttons allowing users to only check the answers they are interested in.
Depending on your type of business, you may have one or more of the following policies: privacy/confidentiality, shipping/delivery, purchasing/payment, return/refund, acceptable use/usage rights. You may also include a Terms and Conditions page covering disclaimers, cookies, licenses, and third-party links. You may look at these pages as user contracts, proactively protecting your business from any legal repercussions. Therefore, they should be formal, detailed, and ideally, done by a professional.
It bears mentioning that your policies might get more complex based on the locations you operate in (e.g. a country with internet restrictions), the type of services or merchandise you sell (e.g. alcohol, tobacco), and your target market’s demographics (e.g. minors, individuals with special needs). You must keep in mind all aspects of your business before developing the content on these pages.
You might consider collaborating with others to increase awareness of your products or services. In this case, you could start a program to encourage such collaborations. This could be a referral system, affiliate marketing, ambassador program, guest posts, or influencer marketing. On this page, you could delineate the requirements of joining such a program, its details, and its benefits. Remember to answer what is in it for the participant, and why you are such a good person/business to partner with.
Some other types of programs you could initiate, which would not get you as much exposure but could provide you with help or new opportunities, include mentorship, internships, competitions, incubators, memberships, fundraising/crowdfunding, and crowdsourcing. These may involve designating a special team to handle them and engaging in some long-term project management.
One more way to increase both awareness and sales is through promotional campaigns. These include point systems, rewards, prizes, and giveaways. Such incentives, however, will only prove effective if used right. You have to ask yourself if you are truly offering them to those people who weren’t already interested in buying from you or who weren’t willing to pay the full price before they tested your products or services. Otherwise, they may turn out to be a waste of resources and time.
You should also consider if the incentives are valuable enough for your target audience and if the winners would be likely to continue purchasing from you afterward or at least, recommend you to others. If possible, try to incorporate such conditions in your promotions before giving out any perks. Lastly, if you can’t engage in regular promotional activities, then dedicating an entire page to them would not be wise. You may be better off advertising them on your home page.
If you provide any digital or physical products, then you’ll need an eCommerce option for your website which requires a Shop page. If you are an exclusively service-based business and utilize external payment platforms (e.g. PayPal, TransferWise, Stripe, etc.), then you just need a Book/Reserve page.
These pages would then require other ones, like Cart, Calendar, Payment, Confirmation, Thank You, and Log In, which will gather the necessary data from your customer and ensure a way to stay in touch. These can be useful by providing your client with a personal touch, convenience, and even a feeling of belonging.
Your business may require other web pages outside those described above, but this gives you better sense of the standard elements you need to make your venture thrive online. Don’t forget, I’m always within reach if you need help with your website or implementing technology in your digital space.