7 Tips for Great Website Information Pages

January 16, 2013 by

Are all the pages on your website doing all they can for your company?

Consider the humble information page – a page that doesn't sell, doesn't generate leads, and doesn't herd prospects to pages that do – a page that simply provides helpful information on a particular topic. Are they doing all they could for you?

Basic information pages don't get a lot of press in marketing circles. Instinctively, we know we need them – to educate our prospects on our products, our services and our technologies. But otherwise, we usually don't give them a lot of thought.

If handled with care, however, simple information pages can do a lot of heavy lifting for us.

Why you need good information pages on your website

Solid, useful information is a huge asset in online marketing.

Most web users – and, in fact, most of your own website visitors – are not looking to buy. They're looking for information.

Business buyers are the same. They need to make informed decisions. They want to get smarter about issues affecting their industry and career. Most of the time they're online, they're searching for information. They know the Web makes gathering that information more efficient.

And because Web users are information seekers, having plenty of great information pages on your website creates a lot of goodwill for your company. When visitors find you have loads of helpful information on your site, word travels fast. They tell their colleagues. They return again and again. They learn to trust you. And when it is time to buy, they remember you.

Plus, it's not just your visitors who take notice. Google and the other search engines reward sites that provide tons of quality content.

In short, it pays to make your simple information pages the best they can be. So, I'd like to give you seven tips that can help you do just that.

My Top 7 Tips for Helpful Information Pages

Tip #1: Tell, don't sell.

Always keep in mind that the primary role of an information page is to deliver useful information.

Think about how you felt the last time you stumbled across a web page that was truly educational – a page that was free of sales talk, that was interesting to read – a page that had exactly the information you were looking for. You didn't have to filter. You could just relax and read. You probably felt relieved, even grateful.

Well, that's exactly how your visitors will feel. So don't try to turn that page into a selling opportunity. Leave that to other pages (which you can link to at the bottom of your information page). Let your reader relax.

Information pages aren't about selling. They're about providing information that will help pre-sell your products or services, so you can sell them more easily later on.

Tip #2: Pick a narrow topic, and stick to it.

Don't try to cover too much on one page. Trying to cover broad topics on a single page can be confusing for both readers and search engines. Break up those big topics into a number of subtopics, and write a different page for each.

Select one idea that your page will be about. Then, cover that topic well. Your readers will be grateful.

You'll also make it easier for the search engines to determine what your page is about, and to rank it. Result: your page will earn a higher ranking.

Tip #3: Anticipate your readers' questions.

Think about questions your readers are likely to have when they arrive at your site and as they read your page. You might want to talk to your sales and customer support personnel. Study your site logs and keyword search tool results for clues. Review blog comments and industry forums. Check out the FAQ pages on your competitors' websites. Come up with a list of customer questions on the subject.

Then, answer those questions on your information page.

Remember, if a prospect were sitting down with you to discuss your products or services, he or she would probably have lots of questions. And they'd want good answers before deciding to buy. The same goes for prospects who visit your website. Your information pages are a great place to answer those questions.

By providing answers to your prospects' questions, you're pre-selling your product or service without letting your prospects know they're being sold.

Tip #4: Provide contextual links to related pages.

When you reference a topic covered by another page on your website, link to that page. Turn that reference into a hyperlink that will lead the reader to additional information.

Likewise, when you add a new information page, review your existing related pages. Edit them to add links to your new page.

There are three good reasons for doing both.

First, readers may need context – additional information to understand the page they're reading.

Second, readers may simply want to know more about the referenced topic. It may be just the information they're looking for.

And finally, you're helping the search engines. Google gives great weight to links and their context in determining what your web pages are about. So, contextual links help your page rankings.

Tip #5: Summarize your page in the headline, subheads, page title and meta description.

Making good use of the title and meta description fields, and of headlines and subheads on the page itself, helps Internet users quickly determine if your information page is relevant to them.

A good page title and description will make search engine users more likely to click on your results page listing. Then, as they scan your page, an informative headline and subheads will help them quickly determine what your page is about, and make them more likely to decide to stay and read.

Summarizing in this way also helps the search engines rank your page. Headlines, subheads, page titles and, in some cases, meta descriptions are all used to determine relevance and ranking.

Tip #6: Suggest 3 or 4 next steps.

Think about what visitors might want to do next, once they've finished reading your information page.

Think hard about this. Do some brainstorming. You might want to review your site logs and look for patterns. What might we reasonably expect the reader to want to do next?

Most readers will probably want additional general information. Some may want specific product information. And a few, depending on the page, may be ready to contact a salesperson. Determine what those logical next steps are and list them – as links – at the bottom of your page.

Tip #7: Never leave your reader hanging.

How many times have you read a web page that simply ended, abruptly, with no suggestion of what to do next?

Don't ever do that! Pages like that cause many visitors to leave websites. Web users tend to be impatient. They think, "Oh, is that it? On to something else then." And they never return.

Don't expect readers to scroll back up to your menu. In most cases, they won't.

Always suggest next steps. Give your visitor several paths to other pages on your site. You will greatly increase your conversion rates and generate more leads.

Take Away Points

Remember these seven tips when you create a new information page for your website:

1.  Tell, don't sell.
2.  Pick a narrow topic, and stick to it.
3.  Anticipate your readers' questions.
4.  Provide contextual links to related pages (i.e., crosslink your information pages).
5.  Summarize your page in the headline, subheads, page title and meta description.
6.  Suggest 3 or 4 next steps.
7.  Never leave you reader hanging.

Need help developing additional information pages or other content for your website? Call CopyEngineer at (+39) 011 569 4951. Or send me an email at john@copyengineer.com.

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