Come to think of it, there's no such thing as a 1-page website... or for that matter a R1000 website either.
I do marketing for a living and the culmination of all my combined marketing talents has led me to website design. I build big websites - 50 to 300+ page behemoths that wow and impress the pants off anyone who visits them.
So it grates me no end when I sit on front of client who tells me that XYZ person will build them a website for R1000, or they just want it to be 10-pages big.
SEO works because it's specific
So if you want to be found for service A and services B, C, D & E then you need a dedicated page for each.
Because that's how SEO works.
SEO is specific... and your keywords match your copy, match your URL, match your page display, match your metadescription - and you need to tie all those elements up to the service or keyword you want to be found for in search.
If you list all your products under products, the Internet will index that page under the word products and people searching for the word products will find it.
If your page is about hairdryers and you sell another product that is a hot air dryer, then you need a separate page for hot air dryers.
Similarly, the Internet will also stop searching the copywriting on your page a short way into it - so no, it won't help to list all your products on one page.
The crux is that every product and service needs its own dedicated page if it stands a chance of really being found.
Speaking of which...
Designers and developers are not copywriters
Usually the reason they can't come up with the menu breakdown and SEO for you is that they don't have the knowledge to do it.
Websites are built on copywriting and the copywriting starts from the SEO. If the designer/developer cannot copy write they won't be able to build you a customised menu structure or categorise your products and services or write your SEO or your copy... and without these elements you will land up with a cheap, 10-page website that won't impress anyone. If it is ever even found.
Marketing is not a function - it is the entire company seen from the customer's point of view
So if someone gets to your site and sees a cheap, poorly put together 1, 2 or 10 page website, they'll think you are a cheap, poorly put together company.
Your website is your digital face to the world and should showcase your products and services, making you look large and professional and like the kind of company that you'd want to do business with.
Speaking of showcases...
Your menu is 70% of your website
In a great website people will know everything they need to know about you, what you offer and how they can use you by simply scrolling over your menu structure.
Your website is a huge, comprehensive company profile that tells people everything they need to know about you in one go - and clearly takes into account the fact that people don't read much and will mostly scan.
There should be a well-defined menu that tells everything at a glance, loads of space and clear focus on the elements you want to have people focus on.
How can you tell if this is happening? Simply open your website and look at it.
What is your eye drawn to? If you shut the page after 3 seconds, what do you remember?
Marketing is common sense
Too many people get too wrapped up in research and analytics, forgetting the basics - will I be found, what do people remember, does it look good and is it easy to understand and read?
If your website looks good to you and is easy to understand it will be successful. If it's messy and all over the place that's what people will remember.
It's going to take a professional with polish to achieve the simplicity you're after though, because putting together a good, presentable website requires a professional touch.
Anything under 20 - 30 pages will never get you the specific search results you need to turn your website into actual business.
Any half-decent copywriter will easily be able to split your company up into 30 pages of specific search results.
And if your web development company cannot do the menu, SEO and copy for you, you're wasting your money, because your website is never going to work the way you want it to.
Chemory Gunko is a seasoned Creative Director, a certified NLP Practitioner, Ericksonian Hypnotherapy Practitioner, Energy ReSourcing Practitioner & Life Coach, among others. She works as a marketing consultant and provides copywriting, SEO, graphic design and Joomla! website services.
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"Any half-decent copywriter will easily be able to split your company up into 30 pages of specific search results... if your web development company cannot do the menu, SEO and copy for you, you're wasting your money, because your website is never going to work the way you want it to."
Insightful article. It all depends on what you want to achieve with your website. A 5 page website will not add any real value to your business. In this day and age, a website is there to generate leads, to grow your business. It is not a once off cost. Once you have a website and to get sales leads, people need to find your site, and that is where content marketing, search engine optimisation and pay per click marketing becomes extremely important. These critical seo elements will get your website ranking effectively in search engines.
Interesting article. The one thing I would have added for SEO nowadays is that you can utilise the hummingbird algorithm to maximise the SEO exposure with relevant content on the same page. But it depends on the market. I am referring to the US and UK.
I just wanted to add 1 more thing. I usually advocate for the use of audience focused activities, which should allow the web copywriter to naturally structure the content and the website for semantic relevancy. I briefly touched on this in the following article.
Amen, SEO is alive and well and still relevant, although quite different from 2 or 3 years ago.
Good content, usability and relevance are important, and key is putting your customer at the centre of it all.
I always start with keyword research around the particular niche, and then map out a content plan line by line in Excel, with unique titles and descriptions for each URL. Using a multi-tiered approach, I can see how each piece of content fits neatly within various topic silos.
I'm sorry but not every online business website needs hundreds of pages to be successful with regard to SEO. That's like saying the only point of contact for businesses is through their own website. Social media also helps to break down structures into digestible chunks for online consumption, and helps to create other platforms of exposure.
I agree with you that copy writing is important for effective SEO but I wouldn't go as far as saying designers and developers are not copywriters. There is no reason why a copywriter should be better equipped to produce website copy than that of a designer or developer. If you understand information architecture, and you use the necessary tools and processes to develop the right keywords SEO will be successful.
Information overload is a major concern in my opinion and can also lead to less exposure. I guarantee you that users do not want to be bombarded with unnecessary information, and I quote,"Your website is a [...] comprehensive company profile that tells people everything they need to know about you in one go - and clearly takes into account the fact that people don't read much and will mostly scan."
Websites need to be clear and to the point, particularly if you are a new comer within the industry. Start with something simple and build on it. Anyone who tells you otherwise is not affording you the opportunity to start small and dream big, and will run your business into the ground with costs you might not be ready to incur. Development doesn't come cheap.
The statement below is extremely contradictory to the point of this article as well.
"If your website looks good to you and is easy to understand it will be successful. If it's messy and all over the place that's what people will remember."
A 50 to 300 page website will not look simple and will definitely display plenty of clutter, and will become expensive to produce. A website of this magnitude requires an extensive content management system which will increase the development cost of your website.
I honestly believe that a 1 to 10 page website is the best starting point to expand on because it will be affordable, easy to manage and there will always be room for growth, and you will be in a better position to see where real growth is needed at a time that is convenient for you and your business.
If you think that making a massive website is all you need to do to make your business successful then you can adopt the same opinion as this article and see where that takes you. In my opinion marketing is a full time job and should never sit squarely on the shoulders of web development, and SEO. Get out there and promote your brand in as many ways as possible. Don't rely on your website to be your saving grace, because it might end up being the spanner in the works, especially if you rush into a commitment you are not ready for.
There is nothing wrong with starting small when the option to grow is always available.
You speak sense to this article. Different websites have different goals, and so will have different structures. A person that sells one item on the web can't be expected to now create 100 pages of general "SEO-friendly" insincere garbage just so he can be "found" within the rubble of thousands of others, doing the exact same thing to the highest abuse.
People forget that some people come directly to your site to easily find what they want, quickly.
Leave the 500 pages to the "Blog" section within the design. Lots of CMS systems cater for that.