What Makes An Effective Web Page
You might find yourself facing writer's block when faced with the task of organising content for your website. What information should be on your homepage or in fact any web page? (The first page your website visitor lands on may not necessarily be your home page.)
Here are some guidelines and ideas to help you create a compelling web page.
The Anatomy of a Web Page
In simple terms a web page is made up of 3 main parts:
- Header - this will be the same on all pages
- Content - this part changes depending on the web page
- Footer - this will be the same on all pages
Your company logo
The best place for a logo is on the left hand side although you may desire a central logo. The logo doesn’t need to be huge. Ensure that it’s a sensible size. Most business owners think that their logo is never big enough but as long as it is clear and legible that’s fine.
If your logo doesn’t include a tagline consider adding a short line of text that encapsulates what it is that your business does. This is especially important if your business name doesn’t explain it at all.
Most businesses like receiving phone calls so your phone number should be included prominently. Some businesses use freephone numbers but Google likes local numbers so I would add both, with one phone number being more prominent than the other.
You may also consider adding a precursor to the phone number, a call to action such as “For a free quote call us” or “To talk to an expert”. It’s a good way of adding a benefit that will encourage an enquiry.
Social Media Icons
You could include any social media channels that you regularly update and nurture, display less prominently than the other elements.
The resulting header should be uncluttered, simple and clean so think about the most important elements you need there and stick to that. Avoid adding anything unnecessary.
This is the most important part of the page so it’s important to think about what it is your customer is looking for in relation to what the page is about and then provide it. Explain how you can help them in whatever way you can.
A sub headline can be added to expand more on the headline and to convince your visitor to read on.
Images or Video
Choose photos or graphics that support the topic of the page. Avoid adding an image so huge that it takes up too much space. This is especially important if you’re placing the image at the top of the page, the top is the most read part so don’t waste space.
If appropriate you could add a video. Note that not everyone prefers watching a video so include text content covering the video content and ensure it is easy to scan read.
This is more detail on what you’re covering with your headline and sub headline.
- Add short paragraphs using short sentences and plain english.
- Large blocks are too hard for people to read. Break up the content with subheadings.
- People are skim reading so make it easy to do that.
- Don’t bother writing every detail, it won’t get read.
- Use bullet points to describe the benefits or key points about the topic of the page. Your bullet points should be as short as possible.
- Remember that people are want to know what’s in it for them so keep that in mind when writing.
- Keep it short, to the point, providing just enough information to persuade your visitor to take action.
Product or Service Information
Try to find a balance between providing enough information about the specific product or service without being too overwhelming with detail.
People want to be reassured that you know what you’re doing. Depending on what your business is this section could be used to display content such as photos of past work, portfolio pieces, a case study that links to more detail or client testimonials / reviews.
Call To Action
The main point of the web page is for you to get your visitor to take action so a very important element is to include a prompt. Tell people what to do next.
Whatever it is that you want the person to do, whether it’s signup, buy now, enquire, or call, you need to make it easy for someone to take the next step.
Add a button to click, insert a form to fill out, display a phone number. Make it prominent and obvious.
Add the simplest enquiry form that you can. The more information you ask for the less likely your potential customer will complete the form.
Home Page Content
A home page is different to other pages, it's used as a hub page to help direct people to other parts of the website to get more detail on what it is they are looking for. Here are some suggestions specifically related to a home page.
Headline / Sub headline
For a home page this text should be your value proposition. Your offer or promise. What you do and how you are better than similar offerings.
A lot of time can be spent on the ground work to coming up this. It may be harder than you expect but if you put your mind to it you’ll come up with something that fits and is unique to your business.
Image or Video
Choose a high quality image that supports your value proposition. You might like to combine the headline and sub headline into a hero image. Example:
Another option to an image is to use a short video (1-2 mins tops) at the top of the page to elaborate on your value proposition.
This should be used in conjunction with your headline, sub headline and text. Search engines can’t index video content so without text your web page possibly won’t rank as well.
Products and Services
Display your products or services clearly. A title, some short content, maybe an image or icon and a call to action button to link through to more detail about them.
Overview information about the business that links to the About page. It may include a photo or image.
If your business is blogging you could display selected blog posts that support your value.
Here's some ideas and options, you can choose which suits your business the best.
Phone numbers, address, email, business information.
If you’re a member of any organisations, societies or have any awards or accolades that are relevant and worth promoting add any logos or text in to the footer area.
You could add a mini map to show your location if it is relevant to your business.
Mini enquiry form as an easy way to make contact or offering a freebie download in exchange for a subscription email address.
If you’re running a blog of useful articles you could include links to the past 3 or 4 posts.
Depending on your preferences you could add social media icons that link to your business profiles or embed the social media feed to enable your website visitors to view the social media content directly from your website.
Your business is unique and so use these notes as a guideline to spark your imagination into providing your potential leads with the content that will satisfy them.
Try to be as succinct as possible. Write your content freely and then see if you can cut it down to say the same thing in less words. Website visitors are impatient and time poor.
Always try to talk about how your business can help your customers with their problems.
A great home page should say: who you are, what you do, who you do it for and how you do it better than anyone else.