Websites come in all shapes and dimensions, but all have a structure that organizes content that is presented to the visitors. The main website sections that all websites should have are:
- presentation of services or products – “what we do” section
- about us section
- contact section
- dynamic section of content
- specialized section
This is a example of web-page mock-up that contains all the above mentioned website sections as menu items:
- Events and Causes are the “what we do” in the case of a Non-Profit Organization
- the Causes section also have the role of the specialized section: this is specific to their activity domain
- dynamic content: the blog page
- all the content is centered on the specific Call-to-Action: Donate!
What Should Each Website Section Contain?
Your website home page should provide an introduction to your company, letting a visitor know right away what services or products you provide and how you’re different from your competition. The most important and most frequently performed tasks should be available from the home page. The homepage should also contain a strong call-to-action, the most important thing you want your visitors to do: register for a newsletter, send you a quote request, choose an event from a calendar and so on. Sometimes, the homepage is the place where all the parts of the web-page are highlighted, letting the user navigate to the detailed section from there.
Products or Services
The details about exactly what you do should be presented in a separate products or services section. Provide enough information to allow visitors to see the range of products or services you provide, and create sub-pages for each individual category of products or services if there are lots of details to cover for each product or service. The bulk of your content creation and optimization should be centered on which problems you can solve for your customers and clients. It should be easy for the visitor to choose the service or the product and either buy it directly or contact you about it. This is usually the core website section, as all the other sections are supporting it by adding details to convince your customer to choose you over the competition.
This is the place to tell more details about your company, such as more information about your team, your company history, how you fit in the marketplace, and your mission statement or philosophy. This is where your customers will understand the fit between your expertise or your philosophy and their wishes and needs. This is the place where you can capitalize on your personal profile or your team’s strengths, or even on your company’s profile.
This website content section is self-explanatory. Make sure you include all the ways your customers can contact you, including phone numbers, email addresses, a contact form, the physical address of your business and a map, if applicable. All the Social Media channels should be presented here, even if they are already featured somewhere else.
Custom Content (Information)
Every business is different and you might want to educate visitors on your domain of activity or offer some insights in your personal activity. Some examples are: pages for support, developers, partners, an online store, an image gallery, an event calendar, a reservation module, an online resources library. This website section is important, as you can choose what you feel it is important for your customers, or you can modify it easily to cover the needs you discover.
You should include a section in your website with content that changes often to determine visitors (and search engines) to return to your site. A blog, news page, videos, and a forum are great ways to keep your site content fresh. It’s a great place to add new content created to market yourself as an expert, plus keep the search engines coming back to index your site. The dynamic content is a good source for the social media posts: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube (for video content).
If you plan on having a lot of dynamic content, it is vital that the content is easy to update and you don’t need to ask your webmaster to do it for you every time you need. This is one of the reasons I feel that WordPress is one of the best CMSs out there.
Even if you have a static page, like a simple presentation site, the website content sections detailed above should be present.
Find out what type of website you need by scheduling a free consultation talk.
Forms of Presenting the Content Website Sections
The sections can be presented to the user as menu items leading to a page with the exact content of that section or can have multiple pages:
- services and products:
- special offers
- client list
- about us:
- company description
- team presentation
- company philosophy
- goals set and achieved
- personal presentation if it is the case
- custom content: any type of information that can highlight the advantages of your products or your services, grouped on one page or more. Also, pages that are specific to the domain: a portfolio, a list of awards or achievements
- dynamic content:
- blog sections with articles grouped by category and subcategory: any hot topics that put some light on a product or service, content that explains products or services, changes in the business, resources that you want your visitors to read
- news page: information about current events or happenings related to the business domain or, in the case of personal websites, about the services/products provider. Here you can present the latest developments in the field, new technology used, new legal changes that affect you and/or your customers
- media pages: videos that present content relevant to your users, form How To videos to viral videos that engage the visitors with your products or services
- forums: it is useful sometimes to put your customers in direct contact so that they can discuss aspects related to products or services. For example a food recipes discussion when you are selling raw ingredients, or helpful tips about a healthy lifestyle if you are a personal trainer. It is important to moderate and engage, to make sure the discussions serve a purpose and are not bringing any harm to your business
- social media feed: if you are active on social media channels but lazier in updating the website, a feed from your Instagram or Facebook page will create new content every time there is an interaction on that platform
The website sections are useful to have in mind, as all the pieces of the puzzle will be put together using these as guidelines.
Why is Structure of the Website Content so Important
Everybody knows that planning should be the first step of any project. In the case of an website, the structure of content is one essential part of planning. This should be done by the website owner and refined with the implementer or developer.
You, as a service or business provider, know better than anyone what are the key facts that you want your customers to have access to. Sometimes you get the feeling it is too little, sometimes you want to say too much. This is where the expertise comes into action.
The content should be grouped by it’s importance and by it’s purpose. The content sections detailed in this article can help you do that. The actual content is very important as it gives clear guidance on the design needed, the final structure and also the area where content is missing and should be created. The type of content is also important: images, texts, videos, charts should be taken into consideration.
After finalizing the “want-to-feature” content, a site map can be created: it will serve as a starting point in website sections design, including the types of pages, number of pages and the content blocks that need to be designed and used. The site map also helps creating the links between the pages or the sections of content and making sure that all the content is connected.
This is one of the first steps in the solution design process that I use when planning an online solution. The image is the type of sitemap generated in the planning phase, as part of the wireframes generated for each project.
The sitemap is a good starting point in identifying the possible problems in structure that might appear. It is also one of the first things to check when a site audit is performed, as pages that have no clear hierarchy are “lost” for the search engines.
After the website is finalized, the sitemap will be created as a document to be sent to the search engines. This will assure that your content is read and indexed.
After the sitemap is finalized, the types of content that will be needed in each of the website sections can be determined and also the exact elements can be listed, created and finally used.
If you want to find out more about what is exactly is needed in a website, what are the elements that need to be prepared before diving into the website construction, you can find out in this article:
Read more about the above subjects:
- sitemaps: https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/156184?hl=en&ref_topic=4581190
- hows and why to adding a Facebook feed to your website: https://sproutsocial.com/insights/how-to-embed-facebook/