Believe it or not, I’ve had my website for 10+ years yet only I’ve been actively working on my business for give or take two years. Yes, I’ve been paying for my domain & web hosting for some time now but it was merely a parking lot with lots of “useless” website pages. But how come, you may ask? For starters, I had NO idea what I really wanted from my website (portfolio for photography, blog about my adventures in New York City, etc.). And with an office job that paid my bills and some more, I didn’t really feel like I wanted to start my own business (yet). But fast forward some years and a move to the other side of the world, I’ve finally narrowed down the purpose for my business and website.
Surely, I was familiar with coding (self-taught teenager) and design so one would think it should not be a problem to launch a website in no time. But truth be told, the design part was not the issue but to narrow down what my audiences wanted & needed to know took time to figure out. Making it look pretty is the easy part, but gathering the right content to turn your readers into followers is where the magic hides. And while content is king, hands down, having the right website pages & structure can make or break your website visitor’s experience. Not to forget the few seconds you have to impress before they click away.
That’s why in this article I want to share with you the must-have website pages so you can create a website that will turn visitors into raving fans on autopilot.
Why does Solopreneur need a website?
Before we dive into what to put on your website, let’s consider the pros and cons of actually having your own website. Most often I come across solopreneurs who are confused if they should invest in a website from the get-go or just wait. In my humble opinion, while social media is widely available to promote your business and offers, it’s not your own.
What I mean by that is that if a social media channel is discontinued and you spent months building your audience there, best believe that all your efforts are going down the drain as you will not have a way of keeping in touch with your followers and fans. On the other hand, your own website gives you the freedom to collect whatever info you desire from your website visitors, provide them with information you seem to be relevant, cut out all the distracting noise and most importantly have access to your audience until they unsubscribe.
I guess you can clearly see which option is the better one to grow your following. And no, I am not discouraging you from growing your social media accounts but just don’t put all your eggs in one basket and neglect to start your business right with its own website.
PRO TIP: It’s more professional when people start searching for brand or your business and find your website domain over socialmedia.com/yourcompanyname
What is the best structure for a website?
Basically speaking, you could load all your content onto one page and call it a day or create several pages with similar content and make the user journey into a never-ending maze. From the perspective of design and user experience there is no one fits all solution out there but there are some industry rules that are easy enough for anyone to follow.
A well put together website will have an entry point (mostly home or blog) and several sections or pages that will provide the web visitor with the exact amount of info to take them from newbie to super-fan. Of course this can be accomplished in multiple ways, for one a single page website with sections or well-thought out collection of website pages …
But which one should you aim for, you may ask?
Do you need a Single Page or Multi-Page Website
As already discussed your option is to have a single page website with all of your content on one page which allows visitors to learn about you in one place. Or you create a website with multiple website pages and they will just have to click around the navigation menu a few times to learn more about your brand and business which is one of the most popular ways in setting up a website nowadays.
To sum it up: single page design is great when you’ve got narrow focus or you’re encouraging users to perform a specific task. It’s also ideal for mobile-first design. On the other hand, multi-page design allows you to widen your reach potential, stick to traditional navigation systems and optimize your SEO strategy.
PRO TIP: Pre-plan the sitemap for your website and how all pages are linked together before you start the design process with multi-page websites.
SINGLE PAGE LAYOUT VS MULTIPLE PAGE LAYOUT
Must-Have Web Pages for Your Website
As already established, having a website in business is not a nice-to-have but rather must-have for every solopreneur. Not only does it give your business a home online, but it differentiates you from competitors and allows customers to find you through SEO.
But simply having a website isn’t enough. If you don’t have the right website pages in place, you’re going to have a hard time converting traffic to sales and even driving traffic to your website. Think about it this way: If you’re a customer shopping for a product or service and you stumble upon a website that’s hard to navigate, what kind of experience are you going to have?
Your website is your business card and online office at the same time that will allow your web visitors to learn about your service / product and will invite them to take action the right way. That’s why it’s so crucial to have all information available on your website, in the right order, on the following website pages:
This is your first impression – make it count! You want to give onlookers a sense of your style while also enticing people to step inside so they can see more.
One of the biggest mistakes people make with their website is putting everything on their homepage. Having too much information, too many pictures and too much copy is not only visually unappealing, but it can be confusing to find what your takeaway message is.
Captivate customers with a clear layout on your homepage that only shows top level information. Craft an exciting headline that explains what you do and who you help. And don’t forget to introduce yourself in a few sentences to make that personal connection.
Let your audience know that they are in the right place first, then share more about you and your story. Don’t forget to include a headshot of you – people love to see who is behind the business & will feel more comfortable hiring you or purchasing from you once they have seen this.
Try to cover the following questions in your about page: Who are you (include your story)? What niche do you fill in the market? What do you offer/sell? Why should someone choose you versus a competitor?
Don’t just list what services you offer, let your audience know what it’s like to work with you, too. Outline your process, timeline and how they can get started. Remember to include testimonials from past clients too!
PRO TIP: If you offer several services, use your main “work with me” page to summarize all and then create a separate sales page for each of the services you offer.
First and foremost, it should be easy for your customers to find what you sell. You may have this section on your top navigation bar under the heading, “shop”. From this section, you can break up your product offerings by category to make navigating your online store easier.
Another page to consider on your website is a “new” section or a page for “best sellers”. Sometimes when customers end up on your site, they may not even know what they want—and here is where you can guide them. For customers who are being indecisive, having a section dedicated to what other people have bought can help you close the sale.
One of the website pages you must have that you may not even think of is a blog. It’s really important to use some form of content marketing to demonstrate your expertise, get traffic to your website, get an SEO benefit and help customers that didn’t even know you existed find you. A blog is the perfect tool for this. Keep in mind you can use whatever content you prefer – written, video, podcasting – as long as fresh, informative content is being released on a regular basis. Consistency is key!
Make it easy for people to get in touch with you and even book your services. With WordPress, you can easily insert a gorgeous contact form on a website page. Don’t forget to include all the necessities, like your address, phone number, email address and hours of operation if you also have a brick and mortar location.
Newsletter / Freebie Opt-in Page
A lot of people who love your service or products will want to know more – whether it’s about upcoming products or sales. The place where they are going to look is a web page to sign up for your newsletter. It’s not necessary to create a website page for newsletter signup as you can also strategically place signup forms and pop-up throughout your website.
Another effective way to grow the audience for service-based businesses is to offer a free downloadable resource in exchange for their email address. Create a checklist, roadmap or whatever will solve your ideal clients pain points and it’s related to your main offers. Make it sweet, short, to the point with a clear call to action to start their customer journey.
PRO TIP: An email newsletter is an essential marketing tool for reaching your targeted client base directly. Unlike other forms of marketing where you are going after a broad audience, the people who are opting-in to your email newsletter or freebie are dedicated customers one step closer to buying your next big offer.
Plan for Success & Consistent Web Traffic
While having a website in today’s online driven world is pretty much a must-have, it’s up to you to decide on the website pages and content you want to include and share with your audience.
Keep in mind, that a website is a “living document” and requires periodic updates to stay fresh and drive consistent web traffic. But most importantly, if you have not yet started, get busy planning your website pages and sitemap or update your existing website to give your website visitors the best experience you can in the crowded online world.