10 Steps To A Complete Website: A Website Content Checklist

Launching or redesigning a website can seem like an overwhelming project. 

There’s content to create, user experience to consider, technical components to manage, and layout to build out. 

However, having a website that accurately represents your company, your offerings, and who you serve is imperative for providing potential prospects and current clients the appropriate information they need to learn enough about you to make a decision on if they’re the right fit for working with you or not. 

And, as your business evolves and expands, the content, look, and feel of your website will likely need to shift too. 

Begin by planning out your website

Before you begin physically building your website it’s important to create a framework. 

Take time to lay out the pages you’ll need to host the information you want to provide visitors, the look and feel you want to capture, any additional functionalities you need the site to allow, and any photos or graphics you want to include. 

This is particularly important if you won’t be the one doing the website build-out, and instead will be working with a web developer or designer

I’ve written more about how to prepare if you’re working with a web designer here

To effectively lay out your website, first get clear on:

  • The look and feel you want to encapsulate. Do you have branding elements like colour schemes, logos, and fonts already determined that you can infuse into the website? 
  • Your target audience. Who are they and what is it you want to tell them about your business? What are their pain points? What language will resonate with them? How can you show you relate to them? 
  • The value you bring to your audience. How can you support them? Why should someone work with you? 
  • The services you offer, and the process a prospective client will need to follow if they want to work with you. Will visitors be able to buy directly through your site? Or, will they need to fill out a form or book a call with you first? Break this down for each service or program you offer.
  • Defining your website’s objective. Why are you building or redesigning this website to begin with? What’s currently working? What needs to be improved upon? Are you looking to provide visitors solely with value and information? Or are you looking for them to convert in some way? What does that conversion look like? 

Once you’ve gained clarity on all of these different elements, you can begin laying out your website in more detail, keeping these goals and objectives in mind. 

12 elements your website needs: your content checklist

1) Home Page

Your home page is often a visitor’s first impression of your business. 

To ensure users aren’t confused or overwhelmed, your home page should not be cluttered. 

Include your logo (likely in the header) and utilize your brand colours and fonts so people know that they’ve landed in the right place. The logo also can double as a link back to your homepage, which supports user experience and ease of use.  

Keep your home page simple by including appealing graphics or professional photos that are aligned with your marketing objectives, and clearly presenting the value that your product or service can provide. 

A headline with a sentence or short paragraph underneath describing what you do and who you support (your “elevator pitch”) can help give context to your website and business. 

Make what you’re selling obvious, so people can easily decide whether or not it’s for them. And include at least 1 call to action so visitors are directed as to what to do next, if they’re interested in learning more or working with you. 

You’ll also want to include some social proof in the form of testimonials or customer reviews, to build credibility and trust with visitors. 

2) Navigation

Your navigation should also be part of your header, and needs to be visible and easily accessible on every page of your website (unless you’re building out a sales landing page where you don’t want to give people the ability to click away). 

Take some time to brainstorm what you want your navigation to look like, keeping it relatively simple with 4–6 main links, easily directing people to the different pages of your website. 

Rather than linking every page on your website in the top navigation, consider where links would be better served:

  • In the footer (less frequently visited pages like privacy policies work well here)
  • In a link drop down (for example, the main link might be “services” and if you offer 3 different options you might include them in a drop down rather than linking them all in the navigation), or 
  • Omitted altogether (you don’t need to link every single subpage in your navigation. In some cases it might make more sense to simply link a page within another page, if it only needs to be accessed in very specific situations)

If your website is very content heavy, it might also support user experience to include a search bar or button in the navigation. 

Consider your navigation like a map for your visitors. What are the different destinations visitors might be trying to get to? How can you make it as easy as possible for your audience to find what they’re looking for? 

The better you lay out your navigation, the less likely you are to have a high bounce rate (people landing on your website and leaving without visiting any additional pages – most likely because they couldn’t find what they were looking for). 

3) About Page

Your about page is your opportunity to summarize your experience and/or education to boost your credibility, and build a sense of rapport with your audience. 

Because your about page is about you, make sure to infuse your personality into it! The more authentic you are, the more people will connect with, and want to buy from you.

Determine what parts of your story will resonate most with your ideal clients, so that you can emphasize these. 

Many of us built our businesses as a way to serve a previous version of ourselves, so make sure that you speak to that version, letting them know that you understand what they’re struggling with, and how you can help them solve their problems! 

4) Contact Page

A contact page is a very standard, but essential part of any website. 

Customer service is key when it comes to developing strong relationships with potential and current clients or customers. 

Consider your own experiences where you needed to get in touch with a company, and couldn’t find any information on how to do so. That sense of frustration is something you want to avoid when building your business. 

When thinking about your contact page ask yourself:

  • How should someone contact you?
  • What is your preferred method of being contacted? For example, email, phone, in-person or all of the above? 
  • Do you want to have a contact form on your website or just an e-mail address (or both)?
  • If you’re building out a large business with many different departments, do you need to implement different avenues of contact for different concerns people might have? (For example, directing people to contact info@yourbusiness.com for customer concerns,  pr@yourbusiness.com for PR inquiries, so on and so forth)
  • Are your contact methods convenient for your customers?

Your contact page should be easy to find from every page of your website – because the easier you are to find, the more inclined someone will be to contact and buy from you.

If you have a brick and mortar business, this is also a good page to include your address as well as hours of operation (though these should likely also be in your website footer). 

5) Services/Products/Menu Page

What is it that you want people to buy from you? 

Whether it’s a service, product or a visit to your store or restaurant, this information should be clear. 

Your services/products/menu page is your chance to showcase what it is you have to offer. 

  • What’s your unique selling proposition? 
  • What helps your products or services stand out? 
  • Who are they for? 

Speak to your ideal clients with the language you use, and highlight the pain points that your offers help to solve. Include additional social proof in the form of testimonials, or sharing how many students or past clients you’ve helped to serve, and the transformations they’ve experienced. 

If applicable, a portfolio page might also be supportive to showcase your work. 

Along with listing what the product or service is, what it includes, and its benefits, you’ll also want to include a clear call to action to help people convert in the way you desire. 

If they’re interested in the product or service you’re providing, what do they do? Is the product directly available for purchase on your site or do people need to book a call with you first? 

If a product is only available online or in-store, or if some food items are only available for dining room patrons only, make that information clear so people aren’t disappointed.

Make sure the products on this page are strictly yours (no third party advertisements!). This page should be as streamlined as possible to increase conversions. 

6) Rates or Pricing

If you’re selling a service, be sure to outline how your pricing works for each service, on the appropriate page. If you don’t want to list prices on your website, make sure visitors know how they can easily obtain a quote.

If you’re selling a product online, make sure the price is clearly listed and that any extras, such as taxes, shipping, etc. are indicated. Don’t mislead people when it comes to pricing, or you’re likely to lose their trust, get negative reviews, and/or more frequent return requests.  

If you’re posting a restaurant or catering menu, you can choose whether you’d like to list the prices beside each item, or direct people to reach out via your contact page for more specific pricing information.

While it’s up to you how transparent and easily accessible you want your prices to be, information about pricing is key for helping visitors and potential customers feel confident with their purchase. 

It can also help you to find your ideal customer, weeding out anyone who is unwilling or unable to afford your rates. 

7) Blog

A blog page is a great way to keep your audience cognizant about new products or services that you are offering, in a more informal manner. 

It’s also a place to write about industry trends or anything else that relates to your business. 

By posting consistently on your blog you’re telling people that you update your website frequently and that therefore all the information there is valid and current. 

A blog also gives you the opportunity to add value to your audience, affirming your credibility and demonstrating the knowledge you have on what it is you do and the services you provide.

When you provide valuable free content through a blog, it allows potential customers a glimpse of what it would be like to work with you. And, if they see results from suggestions or advice you provide in your free content, they’ll be more inclined to pay you to experience a bigger transformation. 

Finally, your blog is a great opportunity to boost your website SEO, by embedding keywords within the content, and showing Google that your content is fresh and up-to-date. 

8) Media Page 

Has your business or products been featured in print, television or on the radio? Have you written a guest post on another company’s blog or been interviewed on a podcast? 

A media page is where you can list the links to all relevant media spots that help boost your business’s credibility.

Don’t have anything to add here yet? Make it a goal to start building out this page by pitching yourself to online publications, podcasts, or blogs. 

Not only are these opportunities to get in front of new people to share your expertise, but these links back and forth between your site and other websites of authority can help boost your SEO and credibility in the eyes of search engines. 

9) Graphics and brand assets 

A professionally designed logo, banners, and any other relevant graphics should be given to your website designer. 

All graphics should be consistent with your messaging and match your branding (as well as match any graphics that appear on any of your social media networks). 

This helps visitors to know they’ve landed in the right place when they’re moving from platform to platform. 

Your branding also provides a distinct look and feel to your company, separating you from your competition. It can help give insight into the kind of business that you are, creating a memorable identity for customers that hopefully also reflects the experience and feelings they’ll receive working with you. 

Plus, a website that is visually appealing is more likely to retain a visitor longer! 

10) Additional Functionalities 

Do you need a client portal? A search bar like described above? A newsletter sign-up embedded within the site? 

 

All of these additional elements should be considered before you build out your website, to ensure the platform you choose to host your site on is capable of handling what you require. 

11) Social Media Links

Where can people find you other than on your website? 

It’s important to include each pertinent social media icon or link on the footer or header of your website. This includes, but is not limited to: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Tik Tok, Google+, Pinterest, and Instagram.

Linking your social media networks adds additional credibility, giving visitors the opportunity to explore more of your work, connect with you more personally, and stay up-to-date with your business, more frequently than they might check your website. 

12) Newsletter Signup

Speaking of staying connected, having a newsletter sign-up on your website is also imperative for collecting information about prospective customers. 

Once someone has visited your website, you want to ensure you can keep in contact with them and include them in your sales funnels. 

Make sure your website has a call-to-action, such as a newsletter sign-up graphic that includes an enticing heading stating WHY someone would want to be on your mailing list. 

What value do you have to offer them?

Streamline your website

When designing your website, remember that no one likes to be confused.

Keep your website simple while still making sure it contains all of the necessary information that your client needs to buy from you – and to ensure they will continue to buy from you time and time again.

By building out your site framework first using our content checklist, you’ll be able to streamline the website build process, and can ensure you don’t overlook anything important.