You may have heard the analogy that a website is like a car… or a house… or the clothes you wear. What they all have in common is that they help to tell others about who you are.
Your website is probably your customers’ first stop in getting to know you, so it’s important to relay all the necessary information in a way that builds trust and credibility. What you present and how you present it will have an impact on your bottom line.
“What website pages should my website have?”—good question! Every website starts with a homepage, but what other pages does your website need?
Read on as we answer this question and go through the pages a website must contain, pages that are great-to-have and then some optional pages. If you’re short on time, just scroll down to find the bonus website page checklist.
We hate to do this to you but...it depends. It depends on what your industry is, your goals, what information you need and want to share with website visitors. For example, an e-commerce website or online store will probably need thousands of website pages, whereas a small local business will probably be fine with 10 or so pages.
Start out with some of the essential website pages that you must have, and check out the competition to see how many and what kinds of pages they have on their website.
Your website should be shaped by your target audience, what you want them to learn, and the action you want them to take. Do you want them to read an article? Learn about a new feature? Sign up for a newsletter? Buy a product?
If you’re unsure how to answer these questions, use search engines like Google to find insights. Search query reports and competitor websites give you an idea of what site visitors are hoping to find. Once you’re clear on what relevant website content to add, you can jot down the web pages and landing pages your website needs.
In this article, we’ll divide website structure into:
Pages your website must have
Pages that are great to have
Other common pages on a website
Let’s start with the eight pages that are a must on every small business website.
Your homepage is the grand entree. Though not every visitor will enter via the main entrance (e.g. because of search results or ads), for most people this is the first page they will see.
What to put on the homepage of your website:
A headline and subheading
Explanation of the product or service
Links to important pages e.g product categories
Social proof such as reviews and testimonials
Any other content that sparks curiosity and strengthens your message
Visitors decide in seconds whether a webpage is relevant or not. Make sure to catch the visitor’s attention immediately, tell a compelling story and focus on their needs. A clear call to action lets the reader know what action to take.
A great way to measure page relevance is with Five Second Tests. Five Second Tests are a form of user research used to evaluate the effectiveness of your webpage. Participants are asked to view a design for 5 seconds and then answer some questions to gauge how well the page’s messaging comes through.
To create the right content, ask: “If a visitor only sees this page, what do I want them to do?” Visit the shop? Book a call? Sign up for the newsletter? Read blogs?
This example from crwnmag talks directly to their target audience, clearly tells what the magazine is about, has a distinctive “Order now” CTA, shows examples and inspires.
If you want to learn more about the specific elements that enhance your website’s success, read our blog “The key elements of a well-structured website”.
The about page on your website is key to introducing your company or brand and building trust with your audience and potential customers. Not only does it give you credibility, but it also helps to humanize your brand and connect with readers by presenting the people and story behind the business.
Add in some fun facts, team pictures, milestones, company values or USPs. Whatever makes you stand out from competitors and resonates with readers.
Take an example of illustration agency Handsome Frank—their story is funny, informative and personal.
MailerLite is a people-first company, and to emphasize this our About page is full of beautiful photos of our lovely staff members. To give visitors a better understanding of what we’re about, we’ve included 7 fun facts about the company. This shows personality and differentiates us from other ESPs.
Your contact information page is where website visitors can get in touch with you. Add your company’s mailing address, telephone number, email address, live chat, social media links, map location, and business hours—whatever is relevant.
In case people are looking for information or support, you can also include links to your knowledge base or FAQ section. This will help to keep people on your website, create a better user experience, and lighten the load on your inbox or support team.
An integrated contact form with CAPTCHA can prevent spam bots from contacting you.
Wedding photographer Alea Lovely shows what options your contact form can have to gather necessary information upfront. By asking things like the number of guests, budget and expectations, she can better filter the right clients and decide on the service fee to ask for.
Only ask for information that’s necessary. For example, if you don’t need a phone number, don’t ask for it. Keep your contact form as simple as possible.
For eCommerce, this page is the shop section where items can be placed in a basket. For SaaS or other B2B products that require further steps, this is where features are explained and signups, demos, trials, etc. are collected.
A typical product page includes:
eCommerce: Each individual product page has high-quality product images, product description, price, product specs such as weight, dimension and materials, delivery time, customers reviews and testimonials etc.
SaaS: A feature page that explains the product and leads the visitor to the registration page
If you have a large portfolio of products, a product overview page is also necessary. Your product overview page should have product categories so your visitors can find what they need fast and easily.
Large e-commerce stores should go a step further and include filters so that visitors can search for products that are a specific color, size, customer rating etc. The product overview page will then link to the individual product pages.
The page below from illustrator Alja Horvat shows a print product page with the relevant information.
Focus on the benefits, not just the features. If your product is better shown with a video, add it! You can also link to a size guide or recommend similar or “Shop the look” products. Whatever information helps customers make a better decision is worth adding to the product page.
Avoid the temptation of simply copying and pasting cookie cutter product descriptions. Aim to write unique and informative descriptions with a touch of personality.
The service page describes all your services. Though that sounds easy, the trick is to organize it in a way that’s clear, compact and easy to digest for the reader. If you offer a lot of services, think about how to structure the page. You might need one main page that contains links to specific services.
This services page by educator, author and speaker Monique Melton is a great example of how you can structure your page and aesthetically present your services.
It helps to know a thing or two about web design when deciding how to present all your content. Read our 9 website design best practices article to learn more.
A blog page is an overview where all your blog articles are collected. Though this section isn’t mandatory, we do highly recommend having a blog page—both for creative and marketing purposes.
Creatively, blogging is great for talking about topics that motivate or inspire you. You can also show behind-the-scenes or highlight customer successes. Let it be a place to tell your stories.
For digital marketing purposes, writing about specific topics and using relevant keywords help your website rank on search engines. Furthermore, by sharing your knowledge you can position yourself as a thought leader in your field of expertise.
Don’t forget to add a CTA in your blog posts (e.g. signup for the newsletter or download the e-book).
We love this blog overview from plan-tracking tool Tability. Apart from the interesting blogs, the artsy headers are unique and differentiate them from their competitors.
With MailerLite, you can easily add a blog section to your website. Watch Marcin’s video tutorial to learn how to set up your blog in MailerLite.
This page lets visitors know how you handle their personal information and data. It includes information on cookies, emails, advertising and more.
You can also add an additional Security Statement. See here what that looks like.
Create your Terms and Conditions with Shopify’s generator.
Testimonials are great for building credibility. You can praise your product all you want, but it’s much more trustworthy when customers give their honest feedback.
Reviews can come in the form of written text, videos, star ratings, links to reviews, magazine articles and interviews.
Personal care manufacturer Native transparently shows the (majorly) great but also bad reviews. By clicking the blue “Write a review” button, the review form unfolds. This makes it easy for people to add their review to the testimonials page.
Does collecting customer feedback feel like drawing blood from a stone? Check out how we use NPS surveys to find out what our customers think.
Do you notice that customers keep asking similar questions? A Q&A page with Frequently Asked Questions can provide answers before people contact you (aka fewer support requests).
Answer each question honestly and when writing the copy, keep in mind that FAQs can take doubts away and convince readers to take action.
Use an accordion menu like the one above to keep your page neatly structured. This will hide the answers until visitors toggle it to show.
Sitemaps are a great way to help search engine bots better discover your content, understand your website structure, and find newly added pages more quickly. The sitemap lists all the website pages and blogs on your website.
See the official Google documentation to learn how to create a sitemap.
This 404-page tells readers that the URL they inserted doesn’t exist (anymore). Normally it links back to the homepage.
You can be witty with your copy or add a GIF (like Mixcloud) to make the 404-page more engaging.
Add a search form to give visitors the option to find the page they were looking for.
There are two types of website visitors that might want to see a return or refunds information page. Potential customers who want to know that they can easily return the purchase and get their money back before they make a purchase, and converted customers who want to do just that. Either way, you want to make the user and customer experience as seamless as possible.
What’s more, you’ll build credibility by reassuring customers that you’re a legitimate business, and free up space in your inbox or support channels by providing the information on-screen.
Society6’s returns policy leads to their help center, where you can easily find information on the policy, how to start a return, and how long it takes to receive the refund.
Keep things simple but informative. Make it easy for customers to get the main point of the returns policy without overwhelming them with a wall of text.
Save your customers the time and frustration by offering them the details up front. Include shipping locations, estimated delivery times, available delivery options and costs, as well as any other important information. This way you’ll set the expectations and avoid any unhappy experiences.
There are often many questions around shipping. Axel Arigato keeps things clear by presenting their shipping information as an FAQ so that customers can easily find what they are looking for.
Keep the content of this page up to date! Inform customers of real-time service interruptions and keep track of any common questions or issues that come through in support, updating the page as needed.
These commonly used website pages are not a must but can make your website even more informative, engaging and complete.
Search results page
News page with updates about your company (see our what’s new page)
Career or jobs page with open vacancies
Partner or expert page (see ours here)
Other disclosure pages for advertisers or affiliates
Now you have an idea of what pages to include on your website, you need to remember to optimize them! Learn how in our Search Engine Optimization (SEO) guide.
To recap, these are the 19 pages that every website should or could contain—some are a must, others are great to have, and a handful of website pages are optional.
Terms of Service
Page not found (404)
Shipping Policy page
Search results page
Editor's note: This article was originally published in July 2020, but has been updated with fresh ideas and examples.