What website pages are essential? How many do you use?
Anatomy of a rebrand, part 3
I’m deep in the design process now for the new Magnolias West website. As I started fiddling with the menu (nav) bar, I took a minute to really think about the main nav items, and about what website pages I want to include and which might be eliminate-able.
I really want to simplify the new iteration of my site, for a couple of reasons. This will be my first responsive website* for myself (after designing and developing responsive sites for my clients for the last 18 months), and I’m designing with functionality and ease in mind. In a responsive site viewed on mobile, sidebars appear below the main content, and there can be a lot of scrolling when you’re on an iPhone. So… no sidebars (for now anyway).
Second reason: simplicity for simplicity’s sake. My goal is to keep the text lean, and to embody and manifest the principles of heart-centered empathy-based marketing in as few pages as possible.
Well then, what website pages are essential?
My current Magnolias West website has seven main pages:
- Start Here
- Who I Am…
- How It Works
- Work with Me
As of this moment, the new site will have only five:
- About Me
- Let’s Work Together
A few words about the pages that are being eliminated
The Start here page. Also known as Is this you? or New here?, this page is a key element in empathy-based marketing. I learned this method of tribe- and practice-building from some amazing teachers, and in a large part from Mark Silver of Heart of Business (who is also the source of the doors and windows magic mentioned below).
The way this teaching has landed in my heart is this: Speak to and about your ideal client before you speak about yourself. Or: Roll out the red carpet for your ideal client so that he or she feels seen, heard, recognized, welcomed, and like they’re in just the right place. The “Start Here” page is a great way to do that.
Notice its placement in the order. It comes after Home and — most critically — before I start talking about myself and my badass expertise.
I’m going to combine what I’d put in a Start here page with my Home page text and see how that works. Hey, it’s WordPress, and there’s plenty of space. I can always add it back.
The How it works page. I have never really felt that this page served my site, as it’s very similar to the page called Work with me. This one is an easy one to drop. And since I’m in a dropping mood (for the sake of simplicity), it’s gone.
Website pages — what order?
Of course, you create your nav menus with a reading order in mind, but there’s no way you can guarantee that your imposed order will be followed. Think about it: Do you ever read a website in order? Of course not. Something will catch your eye. Or you’ll enter from an external link and go on from there.
Knowing this, go ahead and create your website pages in the order you’d like them to be looked at, and then employ this amazing magic trick to increase the odds that your reader will check out the stuff you think is important:
Create doors and windows at the bottom of each page.
Yup, leave easy paths for your reader to follow at the bottom of each and every main page. At the end of the text on each page, add a paragraph that reads something like:
Keep it to two links — no more. Keep it simple, and trust that by including these doors and windows you’ve added a few inviting and engaging links to those that appear in the menu itself.
That’s it from me today. Now I’d like to hear from you. How did you decide what pages to include in your menu? What do you know that I should? Share your questions and tips in the comments. Blessed be.