Types of Pages – User’s View
January 11, 2005
A typical well-designed small business web site will tend to have pages falling into a handful of categories, each with its own particular function. There are of course two fairly different views of this, the “user oriented view” and the “search engine oriented view”.
Having a successful site requires considering both, as one brings you traffic, and the other retains that traffic and converts it to sales. This article focuses on the “user oriented view.”
The home page is essentially the “main navigation” page of your web site. It’s where people who type in your domain name, or follow a link from another site will typically arrive first. Most search engine users will arrive on a page somewhere within the deep structure of your site, but if they stay to look around the site, they will typically head to the home page to explore. As a result, your home page should be primarily designed to introduce your message, and provide easy access to navigation to the rest of your site.
The bulk of a typical site is given over to content pages. Content pages allow you to provide articles and other material of interest to the users of your site. These pages serve the twin purposes of bringing in search engine visitors, and providing relevant enough content for them to become interested in browsing your site, bookmarking and returning to your site, and most importantly, having a look at your products or services. Bear in mind that your focus in creating these pages is to provide value to the user — they are looking for “their content”, not “your content.” If your content isn’t relevant to them, they will hit the back button and go to the next site in the search results.
Sales pages are usually somewhat different than the rest of your content pages. These pages are where you pitch your products and services, and are written appropriately to that task, which varies by industry, and by the nature of the customer. These pages are linked in the rest of your navigation, but they are also targeted (gracefully) by specific links from within the text of your content pages. They may also be the targets of a pay-per-click ad campaign, links from your newsletter, and links acquired from other sites.
Navigation pages are designed to help the user find his or her way around the site. They tend to be organized by category or topic.
Depending on what you are selling, your site may include a shopping cart. This may include pages linked to your sales pages, or your sales pages may be built within the shopping cart. Shopping carts also come with a variety of their own utility pages (account page, order status, shipping information, etc.)
Your site may take advantage of other specialty scripts to provide things like link management, search, newsletter management, etc.