Your website is the best chance you have at making a great impression on potential new customers online. Though your outbound content, social media channels, and ads might capture their initial interest, your site is where they’ll end up making a final purchasing decision.
There are some basic best practices you’ll have to cover site-wide, including the implementation of a compelling, branded design, but after the basic structure of your site is out of the way, you’ll have to zero in on specific pages—and some pages are strictly more important than others. Importance is somewhat subjective, and different businesses will have different goals, but as a general rule, important pages are ones that:
With those qualifying factors in mind, understand that these five pages of your site are the most important, and prioritize them accordingly:
This is the most obvious entry on the list, and you probably already understand why it’s important. The home page is the first page most users will see (or at least the first page they’ll click on), so if you make a bad impression, your engagement with a new user can easily end prematurely. It’s also the first and most important page Google considers when understanding the purpose and function of your site.
Include a strong headline above the fold on your home page along with a strong design element—it could be a visually striking image, an interactive animation, or just your brand colors in a way that complements the color of your text. Your goals here are to grab a user’s attention and concisely express the purpose of your site (as well as the value of your brand). That’s a lot to fit into a relatively small space, so be careful not to bombard your users. Generally, minimalistic designs fare better than overstuffed baroque ones.
Once a user gets a preliminary understanding of your brand and website, if they’re interested in learning more about your brand, the About page is the first place they’ll go. Here, you’ll have the opportunity to sell your brand and explain why you’re an expert in the industry. If done successfully, you could make a lasting impression that carries throughout the rest of your site, or even convert a lead immediately.
Selling your brand on an About page should be a “soft” sell. Don’t be too aggressive with selling your products and services. Instead, focus on what makes you unique, what makes you experienced, and what makes you valuable. Certifications, history, and past accomplishments are all perfect things to mention here. It’s also good to focus on the problems you’re best at solving, and give users a good reason to trust you.
If a user is reading a piece of content on your site and decides that they’d like to do business with your brand, they’ll immediately look for a Contact page. Contact pages have become a familiar staple to the average user, so if yours isn’t prominent or easily available, you could lose an otherwise perfect opportunity to convert.
Any user that gets to your Contact page is already interested in speaking with you, so you have to make it easy and appealing to get in touch. Add a personal element to your copy, and if possible, include a testimonial or two near the bottom to increase their initial trust in your brand. It’s fine to focus on one form of contact, such as an email response box, but always include multiple options—a phone number and instant chat window are both important as well.
The Home page is all about capturing initial interest. The About page gives more details about who you are and what you do. The Contact page helps seal the deal with prospective clients. The Blog page does the job of all three, giving you much more range to show off your expertise and help buyers make a final decision.
Your blog needs to be updated constantly—at least once or twice a week—and only with your best material. Every post you make should show off your authority in your industry, tell a little about your brand, and persuade readers toward a conversion. As your archive of posts builds up, your Blog becomes increasingly important to your search ranks—so don’t neglect it.
Finally, I want to mention the checkout page, where your e-commerce customers will finalize their purchase. If you don’t have an e-commerce platform, the equivalent page would be a landing page intended to convert or some other “final” destination other than the contact page. Google won’t care much about this page, but your users will. They’re already interested in buying from you, so your most important job is to make it easy for them to finish. Your design needs to be slick and easy to navigate, and your process needs to be quick and familiar.
Don’t take this ordered list too far—these are the five most important pages of your site, but that doesn’t mean they’re the only important pages of your site. Spend time optimizing all the pages of your site for search engines, user experience, and conversions—just make sure these are at the top of your list. One final piece of advice: don’t think your job is done just because you’ve completed a round of optimization for all these pages across all important categories. If you want better results, you’ll have to make ongoing tweaks and adjustments.