Welcome/Landing Page
This page requires particular attention for two main reasons. One,iIt is the first impression new visitors/customers get when they arrive at your site. Two, it is likely to be the same page return visitors see each time they come back to your site.

In the first instance it is important that this page provide immediate value for your visitors. If it doesn’t have something they are looking for and can make use of right away they are going to “bounce” right off of your site, most likely never to return.

Give first time visitors value on the welcome/landing page of your site and you will be rewarded. Visitors will stay longer, come back more frequently and tell others about your site. All of the behaviors that will lead to your site becoming more successful.

In the second instance, the returning visitor, your welcome/landing page needs to provide familiarity. It should be thought of as the dashboard for your site, letting returning visitors memorize the navigation controls so each visit they become more efficient at interacting with it.

The pedals and steering wheel in your car don’t change places or function from day to day. This makes it easy for you to get behind the wheel and operate your vehicle with very little frustration. Your welcome/landing page should follow this model. If you have to make changes make sure they would provide drastic improvement to your visitors experience otherwise try to keep the page as familiar as possible.

About Page
This page won’t get as many visitors as your Welcome/Landing page but you will be surprised a how many people will want to know more about you, your business or organization. The About Page is the absolute best way to present this information to visitors to your site looking for it.

So what do you put here? A biography? A history lesson? A mission statement or strategy manifesto? Any or all of these could be right for you. Let this page be true to your voice or the voice of your organization. Provide the information you would want to know if you were visiting a site for the first time.

Be yourself and your visitors will learn what to expect from you. They won’t have misconceptions that could lead to miscommunications or feelings of deceit later down the road. An honest About page will go a long way to smoothing the road ahead as you build relationships with your visitors.

Contact Page
The Contact Page is possibly the most important page on your site. Without a means to contact you, your ability to do business with visitors will be severely limited. Make sure visitors have an effective way to communicate with you via your Contact Page.

What communication methods should you provide? Only those that you will reliably check and use. If you are terrible at email but great with phone calls provide a phone number that can reach you right away or drop into a reliable voice mail service and leave email off.

Remember, any communication channel you post on your site will foster an expectation with your visitors that you will be timely in your response via that channel. Don’t set yourself up for failure. Provide the contact information that you will be successful at.

Testimonials Page
These days the most effective selling tool you have are your past customers. Amazon.com has made the customer review the way most people evaluate whether or not to buy. Sites that don’t provide customer testimonials score low on visitors trust scales.

What if you don’t have any previous customers? Can you offer some services free or at lowered cost to gain some history? If you can you should consider your cost of doing this as a valuable investment for the future. Testimonials are extremely powerful. Get some on your site today!

Newsletter Sign Up Page
What’s more powerful that search engine optimization? What’s faster than word of mouth? What’s able to drive hordes of reliable, qualified customers to your site in a single message? It’s your email newsletter.

Newsletter subscribers are your site’s gold mine for repeat visitors. They are the visitors that have told you they are interested in what you have to offer. They have gone out of their way to sign up to make sure they get information from you the moment it is available. Why would you not want to find out who these visitors are?

The only way you are going to do that is to offer a newsletter to subscribers and give them an easy way to sign up for it. Services like Aweber and MailChimp make it simple to mange a email newsletter and provide simple tools for creating a newsletter sign up page. If you need help or ideas on how to run an email newsletter there are plenty of free resources available to help you get started.

Check one out today and go get your newsletter up and running. It will give you a new more reliable source of customer contact that will have amazing potential.

That’s it. Those are the five pages essential to your site. So how many of them do. You have? Which ones are you missing? Leave your answers in the comments, I’d love to hear your perspective.

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