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Website Development: 6 Must-have Pages

Adrian Singer, 11-05-2007
Setting up a new website or landing page?

For the sake of your (search engine) Quality Score, (human) Credibility and (financial) bottom line, there are exactly six pages your site must include.

#1. Home Page: Purpose of page = Get user to take action.

In today's short attention span, Web 2.0 world, there's no time for fluff.

Your Home Page is the gravity point of your site and your shot at convincing the end-user to stay on board for more than a few seconds.

Keep it clean, clear and to the point.

* If you're building a web service, let users "use", "test drive", or at least "watch a demo video" on your site's home page. Forget about requiring registration first. It rarely works.

* If your website is promoting a product/service, include information about (a) What you are selling, (b) Why it is the best product/service for your prospect, (c) Answers to common questions + Credibility boosters, and (d) Call to action.

#2. About us Page: Purpose of page = Build credibility.

The "About us" page is the second most important page of your website.

Our experience taught us first time users always click on the "About us" page, to learn more about the company, BEFORE they complete an order, BEFORE they signup and BEFORE they decide to trust your company.

Don't even think about using a template for this page. Be honest, include personal information about the founders, how and why the website was launched and what is the vision behind the site.

Include information about your company's geographic location, years in business, business model and best way to get in touch with you (Yes, you want all this information on the 'About us' page, even if you have a 'Contact us' page).

#3. FAQ Page: Purpose of page = Close the sale.

The user checked out your "home page" and they read the "about us" page. They're still not sure this is the right product/service for them, so they turn to your FAQ page.

Don't have an FAQ page? You just lost them.

The single purpose of your FAQ page is to answer any questions your prospect might have, further re-iterating why your product/service is a great fit.

#4. Privacy Policy Page
: Purpose of page = Reassurance.

Straightforward, but definitely a must have.

You can grab a template here

Users are going to skim through this page to ensure there are no gotchas,
associated with using your product/service.

#5. Terms and Conditions Page: Purpose of page = Protect yourself.

Don't underestimate this one. Make your T&C page as detailed as possible, so that you protect your interests. It's a good idea to have your legal team write this page for you.

If you're on a tight budget and can't afford a legal team, search for a site that is similar to yours, study their T&C and write yours accordingly.

#6. Contact us Page: Purpose of page = Reinforce Credibility.

The "Contact us" page is only on this list because not having a "contact us" page is a major red flag.

No need to go crazy with your contact page. Include more than one form of contact (i.e. Phone and Email, or Email and Snail mail) and make it very clear that your company is always available to answer any questions, comments or concerns.

--

Every single one of the web sites and landing pages we create, include these six must-have pages.

If your sites are missing one or more of the 6 must-have pages, go ahead and add them now. You'll thank me later.

ilan, 11-06-2007
what about 404 page?

hrm2100, 11-07-2007
what about 500 page?

Peter Gasston, 11-07-2007
If you've written your copy well, why would you need an FAQ page?

Micheal, 11-07-2007
1. all the error pages are part of the web itself and not needed to be build by you.
2. What about an error page which will redirect in case of a web error? (like the 404 and etc).

Adrian Singer, 11-07-2007
Ilan and Micheal -

Good point! Here's a great post by Tyler about the elements of an effective 404 page

Peter -

NEWSFLASH! Your website visitors don't read your copy. They just skim through the content.

An FAQ page is the perfect place to include answers to common questions. Don't expect users to be able to find answers on their own by digging through your content.

Patrick S, 11-07-2007
Good article you wrote.
How about site map? does a web site actually needs it?

chris, 11-07-2007
A good post. But I respectfully disagree about the need for a FAQ page. Have a search feature instead.

FAQ are usually not "frequently asked questions" and their answers. Rather they are rehashes of existing content written Jeopardy style. Generally they have no relation to how frequently actual users ask questions.

A good internal search function can replace a FAQ. It might even better than a FAQ because it lets you concentrate on your content while letting the user find what they're looking for without special effort on your part.

If a page called "FAQ" is still desired it can be populated with a list of search urls that highlight interesting parts of the site.

Willy B, 11-07-2007
Where is the FAQ page on this very site? :O

Suffian, 11-07-2007
Hi, Adrian. Great post! But I must also respectfully disagree about the importance of a FAQ page. I think that it works when you need to outline a product's specific details, but I don't think that you need one if you can address most of your visitors' concerns on your Home page or About Us page. If I'm given a choice between clicking on 'About Us' or 'FAQ', I'd probably click on the former, because I know that the latter will most probably consist of a long list of questions and answers - and I might not have time to scan through all of the points to find out what's relevant to me and what's not.

Sangesh, 11-08-2007
I think the "Services" and "Portfolio" are also the important pages.

Ben, 11-08-2007
If a FAQ page exists, it should be simply links to the content on the site. Every question should be answered within the content. Optionally, you could reprint the answer, but the FAQ should not have any exclusive info. Having said that, people do identify with FAQ lists simply because they seem to be human-driven.

Karl Groves, 11-08-2007
I must also respectfully disagree with the notion that a FAQ is a "must have". IMO, an FAQ is most often used as a bandaid approach to fix a broken information architecture. I also wonder why a sitemap was not placed on this list?

Adrian Singer, 11-08-2007
Thank you everyone for your valuable feedback!

I'm surprised to see such a heated debate about the FAQ page.

All I can say is that in our experience, working with clients who are selling a product or service online, the analytics tools we use (CrazyEgg and Google Analytics) clearly show users spending a lot of time on FAQ pages, prior to making a purchase decision.

Users want to know what the refund policy is, how long it takes for the product to be delivered etc. This information typically doesn't fit on the "About page" and not on the "Home page".

As far as we can tell, having an FAQ page on a site that is promoting a particular product/service, makes a big impact on the bottom line.

Keith, 11-08-2007
Nice post - but I also agree not to have a FAQ page, personally I find its just a sales tool that site owners use to feed their readers (me) the answers that they want us to hear and NOT to the gritty ones I want to ask...

Shrihari.S, 11-19-2007
Very nice post Adrian...

Sunshine Chen, 01-09-2008
What a nice website and so many professional views! I came here by a Chinese edition . So lucky ,here is helpful for me do my SEO job better. I will come here often and learn to all of you .Thank you !

MegaFill, 03-09-2009
Mb we try invent 600 page?
Adrian Singer very interesting post.

Peter Coles, 03-16-2009
Interesting responses re: FAQs. Like you I've found them to be effective contributors to conversion for my clients. The anti-comments seem to be rooted more in cynicism about how they're actually used (or abused) than their potential effectiveness when used as genuine responses to user questions (e.g. harvested from email and telephone queries).

Jaggy, 08-26-2009
Hmmm. FAQ FAQ FAQ. What the fuq? hmm? is it really needed? Why this much brickbats against our big boy adrian? Is he correct?? Maybe, maybe not. But I personally feel FAQ is really needed for sites which are e-commerce related or public ones.Otherwise i dont agree with that plain vanilla principle of having a FAQ page. It is absolutely not needed. Maybe your Jesus needs it.

John, 09-26-2009
I agree somewhat with this article. I agree that for "business" use you would want that. But I don't see any use in a FAQ page on someone's portfolio page. Also, who ever reads a privacy policy? Tell me atleast 3 privacy policies uve read online to a full extent.

Charles, 12-10-2009
Yeah it’s a great stuff and I am sure I will get some information that I can use it as reference purpose.

ridwanzero, 12-24-2009
Affiliate Marketing is a performance based sales technique used by companies to expand their reach into the internet at low costs. This commission based program allows affiliate marketers to place ads on their websites or other advertising efforts such as email distribution in exchange for payment of a small commission when a sale results....

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eavenue, 10-03-2010
Thanks for this list, I watch our 404 logs and find pages that we should build and capture the traffic with. This list has a lot of the pages we now build out as default now because of the 404 logs.

Neville Dimon, 01-27-2011
cool

sree, 03-09-2011
Great post,awesome....
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