By Christopher Elliott
Don’t look now, but your Web site might be missing a few pages—a few very important pages.
You’re not alone. Most small-business sites are a work in progress—constantly being revised, improved, and updated. So invariably, something is always missing. But some pages are so important that not having them could hurt your bottom line.
A 2007 Forrester Research study of business-to-business Web sites found that many of the pages it examined were difficult to navigate and use. About one-quarter of them lacked critical pages containing privacy and security policies, for example. Those are essential pages for any business site, big or small.
"Many companies get sidetracked from what is really important," Kelly Cutler, chief executive of the Chicago-based strategic interactive advisory firm Marcel Media, told me. That is, sites that are "clean, professional, and easy to navigate," she says, generally have most or all of the pages customers are looking for.
So, you can let your customers tell you about those missing pages. Or you can read this story and then add these commonly overlooked components.
Let me tell you about having customers tell you what is missing, because that’s a road I’ve taken. When I began designing and publishing Web pages in 1996, there were, for all intents and purposes, no standards. Back then I wouldn’t make a change to my site until people e-mailed me en masse to complain ("You don’t have a Contact Us page? Get one!").
That was the hard way.
This is the easy way. Here are seven pages every business Web site must have, and where they need to be:
About the author Christopher Elliott is an Orlando, Fla., writer and independent producer who specializes in technology, travel, and mobile computing. His work has appeared in numerous newspapers, magazines and online.