The 3 Essential Website Pages You Need to Launch Your Small Business
Does creating your own website from scratch make you feel like giving it all up and escaping into the sweet embrace of Netflix?
Perhaps you’re browsing this lovely girl’s website, she’s doing exactly what you want to do and you cannot even begin to imagine how she managed to create such an amazing website. She must’ve had an army of web designers and copywriters working for her for at least a year to make such a flawless online experience.
Your first thought is: “I cannot possibly compete with all this!” You might not be able to afford it and even if you could, you’d have no idea where to start and what you’d tell your army of helpers to do.
Now, comparison is a crippling feeling and a huge killer of dreams but that’s a another story and it will be told another time.
Right now, I want you to close this girl’s website and start your journey at your very own beginning and not at somebody else’s middle.
What do I mean by that? I mean that you are suffering from website impatience. Raise your hand if you want all the pages, all at once, because everybody in your field, and their aunt, has them, even if you don’t have any the content for them yet.
And the cure for it? Start small and grow as you go. That’s how you’ll get from where you are now (having no business) to where you want to be (running a successful small business).
Remember, you should consult your gut, your soul and your one-of-a-kind brain and guestimate what your ideal customer will want to see, read and experience on your website. You shouldn’t copy somebody else’s online home, just because you think you have to, or because it looks pretty.
You have only mere seconds to engage the attention of your visitors. It doesn’t do you any good to have 20 pages if none of them has a clear purpose or if they’re all slapped together in a hurry.
You are much better off launching with three well-written pages and adding three more when you have a little bit more content ready (such as your first small product and a couple of blog posts). Don’t spend your precious time creating huge website nobody cares about, not even you.
But are three pages enough? And which ones should you choose?
Yes, three pages are all you need to launch your small business. When you first start out you have three goals, or as I call them the 3Cs: create, connect and charge. (for more on that topic see the free Brand Basics ebook).
Your job is not to become a web designer (unless of course it is), so don’t spend countless hours tweaking your website. Start with these three pages:
Thank you page
Here’s why you need exactly these and what to put on them:
The 3 essential website pages you need to launch your small business
1. home page
It’s also called a landing page and it’s the main room of your online home. I’d like you to think of it as your Rome. Here's what I mean:
You’ve probably heard the proverb stating that "all roads lead to Rome". Back in the day, Rome was the heart of an empire, the place where everything important happened and where people gathered to start their dreams.
Your landing page is the same thing — the place where people land when they click on the link in your Instagram bio, or Google your business name, or click on your Facebook profile.
Make your home page the heart of your tiny online empire, keep it up to date and make sure all roads lead to it.
This page might be the only one your visitor will ever see so make it good. Here’s what to include on your homepage:
Above the fold (the upper part of the page that is visible right away) you need your logo, your tagline or a short description of how you can help your people and a form to capture the emails of the people who want to hear from you.
Further down the page, you’ll need to put more information about your products and how to get them, a story about yourself, your business and your values and links to what valuable information people can find on this website, such as a link to your blog.
2. ABOUT PAGE
The about page is the second most visited page on your website. And since nobody knows who you are and what you do, you need this page from the very beginning.
I don’t know about you but I instinctively distrust businesses without an about page. Do they have something to hide? Do they don’t know me at all and think I don’t care about the people I give my money to? It’s so frustrating to like a product but not to know how it’s been made or what the creator stands for.
This is why, as a compassionate creative, you need to tell your story. This can mean different things so don’t go and copy other peoples about pages.
For example, I talk about my personal quirks and values and how I can help people with the similar personality traits (compassionate, multipassionate introverts) start their own businesses and live a slow happy lives.
But it might make much more sense for your to share the story of how you overcome the struggles you’ve been through and how you want to help others do the same.
Or you can talk about the ethical sourcing of your materials and why this is so important to you.
Here’s what to put on your about page:
Above the fold, you need a picture of yourself with a short text to tell your ideal customers what you do and why. If this is all they’ll ever see of your about page, they should know enough to be able to relate to you and get curious about your work.
Further down the page, you should tell your story and the story of your business in a way that the people you want to serve can feel as if you’re speaking about them and not just about yourself. This should be easy for you - your compassionate heart will tell you how to do it.
At the bottom of the page, you should include a contact form so people can get in touch with you when they need to. You can have a separate contact page if you want to, but I think it’s wasteful to put just one form on a page without any context of why and when people should write to you.
You can also add links to your social media accounts if someone wants to follow you on Instagram or Pinterest.
2. THANK YOU PAGE
First of all, it’s polite to thank your subscribers with a personal note and let them know what to expect from you. But the thank you page has a very logistically practical purpose, too.
When someone subscribes to your email list, they need to confirm their subscription. This means they’ll have leave your website and go to their inbox. And there await other emails from other people or in other words — a sea of distraction. And distraction is the absolute kryptonite to our monkey brains.
So, when your almost-subscriber clicks on her confirmation link she’s gently lead back to your website and she can continue learning from you and getting to know you better.
Without a thank you page to guide her back to your online home, she’ll be left in her inbox where she’ll probably forget all about you and might never visit your website again.
So, please disable the generic thank you page of your email marketing service and make your own. Here’s what to put on it:
Above the fold, convey your sincere gratitude that someone just entrusted you with their personal information, set clear expectations of what your reader should expect from you via email and when.
Optionally, further down you could include a button so your subscriber can share the link to your opt-in offer with her friends, a link to your products, links to your social media profiles, links to your blog where you can provide her with more free content and earn her trust over time.
What to do when you have these three pages ready?
Well, launch your website and your online business of course! :)
And once you’ve launched, start creating your free and paid offerings and free content such as blog posts, podcasts, videos, etc.
Start connecting with the people you want to serve the way you want to - through webinars, one-on-one calls, through email, or in person. Find your way to talk to them that makes you excited, even if you’re a little bit scared at first. Yes, there are such ways even for total introverts and yes, we’ll talk more about that soon.
How long can you have only these three pages on your website? Which one should you add next?
As long as it takes to create your first small product, several blog posts and to write your terms and conditions. And yes, these are the next three pages you should add, one by one or all at once, that’s totally up to you:
Google loves websites that get updated regularly and lets people find them easier. And your people will love bits of knowledge, wisdom and inspiration shared by you. So create a few blog posts, give your ideal customer a reason to return to your website every week and start building a loving relationship with her.
And remember, you don’t have to be an expert in your field to blog. You just have to talk from experience, from your heart and with the goal to help people.
Even if you have just one product, even if it’s hosted on a platform such as Etsy or Creative Market, make sure to create a page for it and to show and tell details about it. Give people more than just a product, give them a story to remember.
TERMS AND CONDITIONS
Yeah, I know, I wouldn’t want to write this one either. But you must at some point. It’ll keep you and your budding business safe. I know that’s the least fun page to do, but you can use a template by April from blacksburgbelle.com or generate your own terms and conditions with termsandconditionstemplate.com
Do you need more pages beyond these six?
It all depends on your content and business goals. Here’s how to decide if you need to add another page or not. Ask yourself these three questions:
Does it make sense to put it on one of my existing pages (like the contact form on my about page)?
Do I have enough content to put on this page?
Do my potential clients want to see it, or do I want it because this other girl has it and it looks so pretty?
Remember that your website is your online home and your storefront. Keep it clean, airy and cozy and add your personality to it through text and images, so the right people can feel at home on it and want to do business with you.
Are you happy with your website right now?
Do you have lots of pages or are you keeping things simple? Do you struggle with creating a website for your dream business? What’s the one thing you can do today to get your online home one step closer to launch? Let me know in the comments below.