Most business websites will feature four core pages and these are really all you need as a foundation to build on.
More recently, websites are being designed to be longer and split into sections which works better for mobile devices and screens of all sizes. This also saves the web designer from having to cram all of the important information onto one small page which is restricted to the size of the users' screen.
Sometimes called the 'landing page', the home page is where the majority of your visitors will 'land' when they first come to your site.
This page should contain a brief summary of the main sections of your website and encourage visitors to go to other pages. A varied combination of different formats of text, images, video and colours is always a good idea as this page will often determine how long users will stay on your website and what they will do when they are there.
Ideally, the top part of the page should tell your visitors about your latest offer or event and have a clear Call To Action (CTA). Often image sliders are used to display several different aspects of your business as they scroll through images automatically and link to more information.
Most websites will feature an 'About' page which tells the customer more about the business and it's origins, staff members and other useful information.
These pages can sometimes be quite 'text heavy' so it's advisable to have images, quotes, videos or testimonials to break up the page and keep your visitors' interest.
For a business website, your services or products page is going to be where you want to direct most of your users to from the home page. This is where you get to showcase what you produce or provide and encourage customers to purchase items or book an appointment.
Having plenty of high quality images and as little text as possible with lots of white space is the best way to achieve this.
If you are selling products, then you may want to have inbuilt 'e-commerce' functionality whereby you can sell products direct from your website. There are many options to be able to do this and your web designer should advise you on these to suit your business.
Lately, more businesses are diverting sales of their products to external specialist sales sites such as Etsy, eBay or Shopify. This makes it easier to maintain an online shop using a system designed with expert functionality in that area and to be able to focus on their website for other areas of their business, sales and promotions.
Having said that, one of the rules of a great website user experience is to keep your customer on your website so this must be considered if your website links to an external e-commerce site.
If your business is service based, then allowing your users to contact you to make appointments or to provide an online booking service should be the main focus of this section of your website. Taking the time to think about your current users, how they contact you and make appointments will prove extremely beneficial when putting a system into place here.
Lastly, the contact page should make it easy for your customers and website users to get in touch with you. Most contact pages will feature a simple form where the user provides their name, email address and a message which is then sent to an admin email account. Contact forms can also have advanced functionality, such as linking to a knowledge base, pre-populated fields and dropdown options for the user.
It is also a good idea to provide your user with a phone number, address, email address and social media links as alternative contact methods. Using feedback from your customers on how they prefer to get in touch with you should enable you to decide on the best methods to provide.
"Rock bottom became the foundation on which I built my life."
- JK Rowling
As mentioned above, the home page is sometimes called a 'landing page' but your business can have multiple landing pages which offers more focussed information and feed into different areas of your website.
For example, if you are running a workshop, you might have a landing page specifically focussed on the benefits and features of this event but it will be separate to your main website. It'll be one page, but divided into several sections (perhaps six to eight?) and will focus on a Call To Action to encourage users to purchase tickets for the event. Often this landing page will have a slightly different URL such as www.event.yourdomainname.com so it is easy to advertise and can easily be removed once the event has passed without affecting your main website.
You can have landing pages for any event, promotion or offer and they should always be used to send users from other sources and then feed back into your main website as much as possible.
The header of your website is on every page and features your business logo and the menu or navigation bar. This is where your user will naturally go to find their way around your site, so the structure must be carefully planned out and be as intuitive as possible. The structure is difficult to change so make sure that you are fully satisfied with it before development begins and test it with as many people as possible, taking on feedback and making amendments as necessary.
Headers can also have your contact details on, a call to action button or a banner advertising your latest promotion which is useful as it is so prominent on each page.
The footer on your website should be the same on every page and should fit into your business brand. You may have two separate 'rows' on your footer and the top one might be split into two or more columns. As the footer is on every page, it should feature information which you want available to your user at all times. This could be a newsletter sign up form, your contact and social media links, a menu or a call to action button.
There are some great examples of innovative footers and it is an important part of your website so worth taking some time to plan properly.
Without a solid foundation, you'll have trouble building anything of value.
How To Create An Amazing (And Effective) Website With 4 Pages...
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For all of your pages, it is important that you consider your user first and yourself second. Remember who is going to use the website and what they are using it for. It is very easy to get lost in what you and your business want, rather than focussing on your user needs - which is actually what is most important.
Ensure that your business brand is reflected well, particularly in your header and footer which appear on each page, and that this is consistent throughout the site. There is a lot to take into consideration for this, such as header and body fonts, colours, layout, images, links, buttons and more.
If you start with the basic four pages and get that right, then your website foundation can be built on to create more pages and increase your online presence. Remember that Rome wasn't built in a day, so it takes time to get the foundation perfect before you can build on it.
Getting feedback from your users about their experience at your website will enable you to make positive changes when you review your website (which should be done every six months at least).
I really hope you've enjoyed reading this post and that it has helped you understand more about the basic pages on your website. There are many things to take on board so it is important that you have an experienced design and development team who can advise and guide you through this process (hint, hint).