4 Essential Website Pages for Brick and Mortar Companies
As a bonus, I have also included two valuable features all sites should have and four optional website pages.
Why is a website important for brick and mortar companies?
A website is a must for every business. To quote a previous post of mine:
Customers search the web to identify new companies and products or to find out information about those they currently know and use. Even less tech-savvy individuals tend to use the internet to discover how to contact companies. This is the driving reason why I believe every company needs a website.
Simply put, if you don’t have a website, you are turning away customers. Your potential clients will either never know you exist or they might conclude you are not a profitable, serious business. When everyone has a website, it can be a red flag to consumers when companies do not.
For me, if I cannot find a website for a company, there’s a 98% chance I will decide to spend my money elsewhere. I want to know all I can about the business, and if it matches my needs before I spend the time to visit the location.
What companies fall into the 2%? These are the ones that seem to have no direct competition in my area or have fantastic referrals from my network.
And, so we’re clear, a Facebook page does not count as a website. Facebook pages are important, too, but they are not enough. (Learn why here.)
4 Essential website pages for brick and mortar companies
If you’re still reading this post, you either already knew you needed a website or I have convinced you. Now that you know that you need a website, the next question is what do you put on the site?
Your site must be informative. It must also present the essential information in a way that is easy to find, and that is visually pleasing. If a customer cannot easily locate the information they are looking for, to them the information is not there.
So, let’s jump into the what and whys for the four essential website pages for brick and mortar companies.
A home page is the main page of your site. I like to think of the home page as the trunk of a tree with all other pages as branches. Visitors should be able to easily navigate from the home page to their desired location through menus and links.
Why is it important? Your home page is typically the first page a potential customer sees when they go to your site. It sets the tone of the message you are portraying to your clients.
The design of the home page should be simple and contain information that connects your website to your store or office. Include the same logo, colors, and taglines that a customer would see when throughout your location or marketing materials. Overall, the text should be limited and tell the customer what you want them to do next (call, visit, set up an appointment, visit the online product list or photo gallery, etc.).
Contact Us page
The contact us page supplies the how, when and where of finding and contacting you. The main elements include your location, hours, and contact details.
Why is it important? Your customers need to know how to find and contact you. Let’s consider the importance of each element:
Location – People need to know where to go to give you their business.
While maps and directions can be helpful, make sure you include your address in plain text. Supplying your address in this format allows people to copy and paste the address into emails, text messages, and map applications.
Consider including a picture of your storefront on your website. Pictures will help customers know that they are in the right location when they arrive.
Hours – Do you close early or open late during the week? Are you only open for dinner? Are you closed on Tuesdays?
Not all businesses, especially small businesses, hold the same hours. Due to this, it’s important to let your customers know when you are open. If you don’t, you run the risk of them arriving when you are not open.
And make sure you hold true to your posted hours. A locked door when you should be open is one of the fastest ways to give your competition business.
Contact Information – Potential and current customers are going to want to communicate with you without going to your physical location. Maybe they have a question about a product or service. Or, perhaps they are trying to confirm information to see if a visit to your store/office is needed.
When customers want to contact you, is it best to email, call or is either fine? Provide the best information for contacting you or your business.
A product page gives potential customers information about the goods or services you offer. While product pages can double a sales page for online purchases, it can simply be informational for businesses that do not sell online.
If you’re not selling online, and your product list is expansive or more custom, you do not need to include every product or service. The page can be more general and describe your product niche or the product categories within the niche.
For example, let’s say you sell furniture. Do you sell outdoor, indoor or both? Do you sell modern, retro, rattan, or custom made?
Why is it important? Customers want to ensure you sell what they desire before they travel to your store or office.
It’s always best to include prices, or price ranges, when possible. Customers want to make sure you are in their budget before they spend their time visiting or calling.
If you are a restaurant or a venue that offers set services at set prices, always include your menu with prices on your site.
The about us page contains an overview of the company. It should include facts and details that help visitors decide if they want to give you their business.
Why is it important? An About Us page is one of the most visited website pages. Customers want to who you are before they dedicate the time to visit you. When there are competing businesses, the information provided can help a potential customer decide which business they visit or call first.
The about us page should answer the below questions. While visitors might find some of this information on other pages, the about us page is often the first place a website visitor goes to read this information.
- Where are you located (state or city)?
- What areas do you service?
- When were you founded and what are the highlights of the company’s history?
- Who runs the company and what is their experience?
- What differentiates you from the competition?
- What are company’s values and mission?
- Do you, and how do you, support community programs/charities?
The delivery of this information will differ based on your company and target market. Write the content with your customer in mind to be the most effective.
Bonus #1 – 4 Optional website pages to help bring your site to the next level
Now that we have covered the essential website pages, there are additional pages you can add to bring your site to the next level.
The essential pages are ones that apply to every type of business whereas the following may or may not be needed.
Select the use of these optional pages wisely. If they don’t fit your business, or what the customer is expecting to see when they visit your website, they might hurt the experience instead of enhancing it.
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
An FAQ page is a list of questions frequently asked by customers.
Why is it important? It allows your clients to self-service answers. The benefit is that the customer gets the information quicker and employees do not have to spend their time answering the same questions over-and-over again.
Who should use the feature? Companies that find themselves addressing the same issues with the same answers for a high percentage of customers.
It’s best to build FAQ pages off questions asked not hypothetical questions. Therefore, you should not create a FAQ page before you start interacting with or release your product to customers; don’t assume you know what challenges your clients will face.
Questions that have an “it depends on…” answer or cannot be explained in a few short sentences should not be included.
If you have frequently asked questions but not enough to dedicate a whole page, include the information on other pages of the site. For example, the product page or the contact us page.
An events calendar page includes public events at or related to the company. The events can be displayed listed or highlighted on a visual calendar.
Why is it important? Including events on the website informs customers when, or when not to, visit your business. The more you advertise and inform customers of events, the more successful your events will be.
For example, let’s say you’re a coffee shop that holds an open mic night every Wednesday. I might be a customer that is looking to attend this type of event. Your calendar lets me know to visit your establishment on Wednesday. Or, let’s say I’m looking for a quiet coffee shop to visit. Knowing you have an event on Wednesday might alert me to visit on a different day.
Who should use the feature? Companies that are consistently having or sponsoring events.
If you have an event calendar, it must be kept up-to-date. It’s better not to have an events calendar than one that only has past or outdated events, or is blank for long stretches of time.
Resources/Articles/Blog are links to information that will provide additional value to your customers. Let’s walk through an example of each option with the assumption that you own a hardware store.
- Resources – You provide a link for top DIY books. You do not sell these resources in your store.
- Articles – You provide links to articles about yearly AC unit maintenance and the top ways to prepare your home for winter.
- Blog – Someone inside your company runs a blog about home remodeling.
Why is it important? The reason for this is two-fold.
First, frequently updated sites are said to rank better on search engines.
Second, if you are posting the right information, you are giving your customers a reason to use your business. In the above examples, products available in a hardware store are needed to complete the discussed topics. By supplying the information, your business is most likely to be top of mind when they ready to make a purchasing decision.
Who should use the feature?
Resources – There are products or services that are not available through your company but compliment your offerings. Example: As a contractor for residential renovations you provide the names of local architects on your site.
Articles – There are articles written by people outside your organization that will help customers realize that they need to purchase your product or service. Example: You are a catering company, and you post articles on the year’s catering trends, how to cater a party on a budget or the top reasons to have your next party catered.
Blogs – Blogs are an excellent choice if your company has the knowledge and time to post consistent articles within your company’s niche. Example: You own a craft store that has a blog featuring weekly crafting tips and seasonal ideas.
A photo gallery or portfolio is a group of photos that shows the work created or completed by the company.
Why is it important? Customers want to see what they could end up with if they select your business. Pictures will help clients visualize the result. They also help clients see if your work fits within their style wants for the project.
Who should use the feature? Companies that provide a service where the end results will differ based on the client should visually display their work. Examples could be hair salons, home remodeling contractors, or landscaping companies.
Bonus #2 – Valuable features every site should have
A subscribe feature is including a form where you ask site visitors to provide you their email address. Often something is given in exchange. The item could be a discount code or a free download of a resource.
Why is it important? Once you have your customer’s email addresses, you have a way to contact and market to them directly. You can send newsletters highlighting company information, events, and promotions.
If you are going to collect email addresses, be sure to follow all anti-spam rules. To make sure you are compliant, consider using an email marketing service. I currently use MailChimp. For those just starting their email list, they have a free plan for up to 2,000 email subscribers.
A search field that allows customers to hunt within your site for specific information.
Why is it important? Website visitors want to find the desired information quickly. A search field allows them to track down information easily or find products on your site. Remember, if a customer cannot locate the information easily, to them it is not there.
How do you create a website?
Now that you know what pages should be a part of your site, how do you create a website? There are two ways; hire someone or do it yourself.
The good news is, you do not need to know computer programming to create a website. There are multiple companies out there that allow you to build a site off of templates. You never have to look at or figure out the actual code. I believe anyone that can navigate new technology can create a website on their own. You just need to be comfortable researching information online and following directions and tutorials.
If this is out of the comfort zone of everyone in your company, you can hire a web designer. There are two options you have with hiring a web designer.
The first choice is for them to create a custom site. However, this might be more of an expense than you need if you are brick and mortar business. While a website is necessary and must stay current, it is not the backbone of your company.
The second option is to have a web designer set up your website by using a predesigned template. Using a template will cost less than having a custom site made and content updates can be easier. In most cases, you can hire these designers through the company you are using for the purchase of the template. You can find other designers who run their own small business specializing in this task by searching online.
Be sure to check out The Basics of Setting Up a Website for more information.
A word of caution
As I end this post, I wanted to leave you with a word of caution. If you are having a website custom made, be warned against using flashy or trendy features.
Flashy, in your face features, can be distracting. Distracting sites can turn away customers.
For trends, website trends are like fashion trends. They come and go, and sometimes it is best for them never to return. If you are going to use the latest trends, make sure you update your website as soon as they start going out of style. Otherwise, your site will look outdated. Outdated sites can be worse than not having a site at all.
Do you have a website for your brick and mortar business? Let’s see them! Provide the link in a comment.
If you are in the process of or need to create a website for your business, what are your biggest challenges?