Missed opportunities. I see them all the time when working with business owners who didn’t get it right with Web Site 1.0. Sometimes the problem stems from not sharing information the right way; sometimes from not sharing it at all.
In this post, I’m going to introduce you to the four most underrated pages on (or not on) your web site. These are the pages you either 1) forget about altogether, or 2) include in the mix only because you feel you have to.
No matter what type of business you do online, you want your web site to 1) rank well in the SERPs so you can attract more traffic, and 2) convert that traffic into customers. These are the pages you’ve likely underrated, not realizing their ability to accomplish these two important goals.
1. Frequently Asked Questions
If I’m visiting a new site, the FAQs page is often the first place I’ll go for information. You’ve seen FAQs in the Google and Yahoo webmaster help pages, but you probably haven’t given much thought to adding a FAQs page to your own site. You should. FAQs give users great information and give crawlers great keyword-rich content.
As with the Glossary, you can divide your FAQs into multiple pages for the most impact. (We have a farm client with separate FAQs pages for the different fruits they sell online.) This makes it easier for users to find the specific answers they want, and gives crawlers more high-quality pages to index. Any page that can serve quality material to both users and crawlers is a page you need on your site. FAQs are the most underrated and underused content page on the web. Their potential benefits are huge.
Free tip: Don’t just focus on questions your customers ask a lot. Think about the questions they don’t ask — frequently unasked questions. Customers often don’t know what they should be asking, so you can improve customer service by giving them information they don’t even know they need!
You have your keywords and you know you need to work them into your page content. So take that list of words and phrases and write a definition or explanation for each one. Ta-da! Instant glossary! If your list is only a couple dozen phrases, you’ve got a single web page with all of your targeted words. If your list is several dozen phrases, or several hundred, your best bet is to break the list down into several pages. Organize them alphabetically, or better yet — to help with search algorithm “theming” — break them down into categories.
Result: You’ll end up with one or more pages of content filled with your keywords and phrases. This flies against the idea of targeting only 1-3 keywords per page, which is something you can and should practice elsewhere on your site. But what a glossary does is make you an authority on your topic. And there’s an excellent chance other sites in your industry will link to your glossary as a reference tool. Do it right, and get enough quality links from related sites, and you might find yourself defining the phrase “SEO success.”
3. About Us
You probably do this page because everybody else does. You probably just throw together a paragraph or two about your company, how long you’ve been in business, maybe mention your mission statement (if you even have one), and slap on a photo of the company president, or maybe a staff shot if you all fit in the viewfinder. Man, are you missing a huge opportunity.
Think about it like this: Wouldn’t you love the chance to sell your company to a crowd of people who want to hear about it? That’s what the About Us page is — it’s a free chance to convince site visitors that you can deliver whatever it is they came to find. This isn’t about increasing rankings (even though you might end up using a keyword or three), this is about building trust and turning visitors into customers. A person who clicks on your About Us page is essentially saying, “I want to learn who you are and what you do.” If someone said that to you at a conference or in the elevator, wouldn’t you make the most of the opportunity? Sure you would. So do the same on your web site.
Your About Us page shouldn’t be a direct sales pitch – there are plenty of other places on your site for that. Instead, it should be you talking to your customers,
telling them showing them who you are, what you’ve accomplished, and why you’re different from every other site selling the same green widgets. Don’t waste this golden opportunity.
4. Contact Us
This is another page too many businesses do only because they have to, and that’s especially true for small businesses who may not have the time or resources to respond to web site inquiries as quickly as they need to. But you can’t expect your web site to solve every visitors’ problem and answer every visitors’ question. The Contact Us page is your best bet to fix that problem.
Like the About Us page, this isn’t about search engine rankings; this is about converting traffic into customers and serving existing customers. The biggest mistake you can make is to put together a bland contact form with 3-4 fields and a “Thanks for contacting us message” after the form is submitted. Instead, use the contact page to give out all the important phone numbers at your company — front office, customer support, sales, even the company president. (If you’re a small business, you’re not too big to give out your phone number.)
Make sure your fax number and mailing address are there, and if possible, offer suggestions on specific people at your company whom customers can contact for specific questions. Make it as inviting as possible for people to contact you, and watch your conversions and customer loyalty grow.
Related article: ClickZ, Building More Effective “Contact Us” Pages
By putting a little more thought into these four types of web pages, you can increase the quality of your site’s content — helping to attract more links and increase search engine visibility. And you can do a better job of converting visitors into customers.
[tags]web design, web development, web pages, web marketing, web page content, web sites, SEO[/tags]