Page structure is extremely important when it comes to writing and designing webpages. It's the difference between your website performing as an effective promotional tool, or being a waste of time and money.
Any webpage needs to grab the user's attention, and prove itself useful within a few seconds. This article will help you form the basics in structuring your webpages for effective user engagement.
With perhaps the exception of the Home page (which I'll refer to shortly) and list pages (eg. shop products), webpages should follow a structure similar to a newspaper article; Starting with the Punch-line and working down through supporting information in descending order of importance.
Articles should be kept as short as practicable at around 300 words, and include Calls to Action (CTA's) to engage the viewer and lead to a conversion (sale or enquiry).
Here below is a sample of an effective webpage structure. Note the use of Heading Styles for headings and titles.
(Headline): Here’s How to Make a Great Web Page!
(Opening Statement): Supports and follows on from Headline. 2 or 3 sentences max.
(Paragraphs): Your primary message is all about what the customer wants. Treat your page like an outline for a sales call. In a sales meeting you wouldn’t open with company history and the like. This page is usually the only chance you get to make an impression and win a customer/sale.
- Use it well.
- Mean business.
- Don’t be shy.
- (and if you do use bullet points – keep them short!)
Think of what images or graphics might give further strength and interest too.
Graphics can be useful in drawing attention or illustrating a point. Image selection is not just about what your product looks like, it's about suggesting the effect your product or service will have upon your customers life. Sell the sizzle, as well as the steak.
When you can grab their attention and get your message across, you're in the game. When they convert… you win (and so do they, of course!).
So don't forget the Call to Action. For example;
Are you ready to order your easy self-managed website for less than $400 ?!!
And don't feel you need to limit CTA's to just one!
Home Page Design
While there are many Home page forms and structures that various websites may use, there is one that I favour and recommend that applies well to almost any business.
In determining the brief for any client's website, I ask them, "If you could only say one thing to a prospective customer, what would that be?"
This question distils the all the client's information down, resulting in the all important main message to the customer. The nutshell. The punch-line.
Then I ask what is the second thing they'd say. And the third.
When combined with a large high-quality image slider, this "3-wishes" approach forms the basis for a very strong Home page.
The About Us Page
Headline your About-Us page content with one punchy sentence that states who you are (in terms of your business) and what you are about.
Follow on from the headlining sentence above, with a few short paragraphs to support your claim and help your viewer establish familiarity with who you are and what you offer.
If you get stuck, just follow the WHO, WHAT, WHY, HOW & WHERE formula. For the most part, forget the history of the business. In most cases, no-one cares except you! And if you bore the viewer or make them work for the info they want, you will lose them.
And remember to include the include a call-to-action. Take every chance to lead. You don’t them to just read it. You want them to contact you or buy something online!