Before you even start blogging, you need to ensure that your website is ready. Until you have the main pages and the legal side of your business set up, you are not ready to welcome any visitor to your site.
With the enactment of the FTC and GDPR laws, you now need to make full disclosures on your website if you are receiving compensation for your content.
You also need to set up some of the core pages of your website.
1. Home Page
This is the main landing page and you want to optimize it for two things:
- Brand authority.
Most sites have a hero section above the fold that focuses on a free download or access to a free email course. The offer is one that is directly connected to your main promotion. For instance, if your main promotion is a web hosting company, then your offer can be a guide to or an email course on starting a blog.
This also applies to your own digital products.
When designing your own Homepage, focus on the most important elements that make up your website business. Align that with your main website homepage goal and you will have clarity on what exactly you need to highlight.
It's also a good idea to benchmark with the influencers in your industry. Every industry is different, thus homepage designs that work really well for certain creatives may not, at all auger well with your audience.
Is your design Bold, simple, Elegant or interestingly pretty?
Homepage Example: FreelancerKenya
Walter of FreelancerKenya really narrowed down to making his homepage super conversion focused. In fact, his entire page is a call to action inviting people to join his mini-course on Freelance writing, which then promotes his affordable Freelance writing training course.
Walter implemented this new twist to his design in the fall of 2018, helping him grow his subscribers to over 22000 two years later.
Note how he subtly shows his face and a quick welcome intro after the form. He also points you where to go to next if you don't want to subscribe. (Read the Blog)
Takeaway: While you may not want to replace your entire homepage with Walter's home idea, you may want to adopt it for the hero section of your site. Wants more proof?
Let's see two other examples:
2. About Page
Apart from your homepage, your About-us page will attract a good number of visitors. Thus, you want to optimize it so that it aligns with your general purpose.
People visiting your About page wants a story. Serve them one that’s yours and relevant to them. Your About page is really about the both of you. You and your reader. Don’t take the larger piece of the pie.
Warm your visitors with the exciting parts of you, and have them connect with you with your vulnerabilities. In other words, tell a story and tell it so well that everyone who comes to this page will immediately feel a connection.
You also want to carefully invite people to join you towards achieving particular goals together. Make them feel like insiders rather than people you just want to bombard them with your weekly newsletters.
Your story convinces people that you are in a better position to teach them what they need to learn in your industry.
3. Contact Page.
This, sadly, is an underutilized page yet one that can be truly transformative to your business.
When designing my Freelance website, I had to give lots of thoughts to every page. Whether it was the Homepage, the About Me, or the Contact Me page.
When creating your own Contact page, keep the following tips in mind:
- Start with a copy of some sort. Instead of just placing your forms or maps, invite people to invite you. Be friendly but concise. Effective contact page copy ensures that only the visitors with a mission that you can help contact you.
- Scrape off unnecessary information. Your page is to let people do what they came to do: to contact you. The copy should facilitate that process instead of taking away from it.
- Only ask for the details that you really need and gonna use. Long forms are easily abandoned and every abandoned contact process is a cost that your business gets to pay.
- Use conditional logic to show specific details. For instance, if a user selects a particular service from a dropbox, then only follow up with other form fields that relate to the selected service, as and when it's necessary.
- Finally, make sure that you set the necessary expectations. Tell readers when you are likely to reply, if there are queries you will never respond to, or generally, what happens next. For instance, you may choose to prequalify users who contact you and send the successful ones to booking a time with you with a calendar tool like Calendly.
Examples of Best Contact Pages: Mostly Serious
Mostly serious does not have a dedicated Contact page as their contact section appears near the footer of their pages and also upon expanding their top navigation menu. They manage to achieve classic lean minimalism with forms that add a human touch to them.
You want to include:
- a disclosure that data is collected
- What data is collected
- How visitors can obtain copy of details collected
- If such content will be shared
- If so, with whom…
5. Terms and Conditions
This page is important as it safeguards your intellectual property and restrict legal liabilities, if you ever run into issues.
You can generate your own Terms and Conditions page content using free online tools, and then edit them before posting on your website. Alternatively, you can find affordable legal templates authored by Lawyers.
One free generator is Shopify's. Just check the box that says skip free trial for now to proceed without creating a Shopify account.
After completing the form that shows up, a link to your template will be emailed to you.
This is an agreement that informs your visitors that your website is going to put specific cookies on their devices in order to improve their experience.
For instance, cookies will inform your site whether the user has opted in to a particular form so that they are not bombarded with offers they have already seen. This page also informs them how exactly these cookies will be used. In certain coutries for example EU region, this notification is a necessity by law.
7. Affiliate Disclosure.
Depending on how your website is structured, you may need a separate page to outline how you make money with your site. You may include this information in your General Disclosure page
8. 404 Page
A 404 page is one that pops up in case the intended page or post is not found on your website. While a good practice is to always redirect your visitors to a relevant resource in case you delete a page, there still will be instances when people will still land on a resource that is not available on your website.
Generic 404 pages are boring and screams “I don't care.” This is an impression you don't want to give to your readers.
Thus, instead of using the generic 404 page by your WordPress theme, consider creating a custom one using a 404 plugin or using Elementor 404 page template. A good 404 page is fun to interact with, simple and points visitors to the most relevant option (s)
Let's have a few examples:
1 Blizzard uses humor
2: Enchanting Marketing by Hennekke
3: What about my own?
Depending on the nature of your business, you may need a few or all of the pages that I have discussed on this page. Like anything that you do online, make sure you give lots of thoughts when creating and designing each of your web pages.
Doing so will ensure that your overall design tells a complete, compelling story and every piece of it syncs throughout your site and resonates with your audience.