The Island Of Misfit Webpages

Written by Jamie Courtnell on Monday, 16 September 2013. Posted in Digital Marketing, SEO

The Island Of Misfit Webpages

Just ask yourself this question: “How often do you see a great looking website which is let down by a few pages being incomplete?”

I constantly see sites that have obviously had a lot of time, effort and money spent on them in terms of design and aesthetics only to be let down by pages which have clearly been considered unimportant.

From what I can tell, and through personal experience, the reasons these 'misfit webpages' get left behind boil down to:

  • Other funnels and conversion paths take priority
  • Running out of time before launch deadlines
  • Their value isn't realised or considered important
  • They simply got forgotten about

Toy Story - Forgotten Toys

Of course your landing pages for your money keywords deserve a lot of attention and effort, but I want to highlight that there is SEO and conversion benefits to diverting some of your attention towards this group of forgotten pages.

Frequently Asked Questions Pages

The poor old FAQ page, for years it has been neglected, ubiquitous with the footer links of almost any website but never considered more than a bit part. However, the FAQ page can represent a HUGE SEO boost for your website.

How can this 'ugly duckling' of a page become the a key player in the overall strategy and success of a business's website? Ultimately it boils down to the psychology of search:

People search for questions, not just keywords

If you know anything about SEO, you'll understand that long-tail keyword phrases are a great way to beat the big brands in the search engines and provide you with real, genuine targeted traffic – with a high conversion rate. If your customers are asking questions via Google that relate to your business, why aren't you answering them?

Turning the FAQ page in an encyclopedia of frequently asked questions about your product, service or industry you'll instantly be answering the exact or similar questions that you client base is entering into search engines.

FAQ pages typically seem to answer slightly more technical questions on the use of the website or some basic explanation of the delivery or returns policy, but you can turn your FAQ page into a SEO behemoth by following these simply steps:

  1. Think about your buying personas and what types of questions they will be searching for.
  2. Ask people outside your business to give you ideas for questions they have on your product/service.
  3. Follow this guide from Moz to find out real life examples of questions used to find your site.
  4. Create a simple, good looking, easily navigated FAQ page with detailed answers and resources for each question.
  5. Make it easy for customers to gain further information by including contact details.
  6. Watch a simple FAQ page become a major source of conversions.

Note: Don't forget that a FAQ page is just that, it answers frequently asked questions, it is only a hook to get people into your website. Each question answered should link to a conversion page such as the related product/service or more the next step in the buying process. You should still try to pre-empt these questions by having high quality, rich information on your product/services page.

Delivery and Shipping Information

Maybe not as neglected as the frequently asked questions pages but nevertheless, most sites could still do a lot more with their delivery and shipping information pages.

They often sit alongside the forgotten FAQs down in the footer links of a site, only discoverable if you are really looking to find them. If your company sells a tangible product then making the delivery information page hard to find is conversion suicide.

On the homepage, it shouldn't take up valuable real-estate above the fold but should be catchy enough for users to find if necessary. Links to the delivery details page should also feature on all product pages, in order to be found by people entering your site by bypassing the home page. Arguably having the information or links on these pages of vital buying decisions are more important than anywhere else on your website.

This buying process chart from Stratimind highlights how the buying cycle works for online customers. Within the 'Research Alternatives, Define Requirements' section, Point 11 of the process details how users compare vendors and eliminate vendors that cannot address the need.

Buying Process Chart

In Layman's terms, once the correct product has been identified, the customer will then look to see which of the potential vendors can get the product to them. Although point 11 of the buying process chart can also focus on the customer choosing alternative vendors due to cost, product specification and reputation, the availability of readily available delivery information will also affect this decision.

If your delivery information is not easily available, when compared to an equal competitor, the customer is much more likely to choose to purchase from the competitor with the most readily available information – Especially if your top level domain (TLD) is different to the native nation of the user – a .co.uk website who sells to a worldwide audience for example.

With the levels of competition in the online market and the ease of switching vendors, having to search for over a few seconds for information can have huge negative impacts on conversions.

Contact Us Page

I have to admit, bad Contact Us pages aren't that common, the consensus among webmasters, even inexperienced ones, generally understand that a website isn't just a space to display information but as one of the major channels of communication with a business – even if it's online activities are minimal.

Bad Example of a Contact Us Page

It used to be ok for contact us pages to include a phone number, email address and a street address, similar to the kind of information you'd find in a Yellow Pages. However nowadays that is not enough. Users want to be able to use their own preferred method of communication to get in touch, whether that be via email, webform, Twitter or Skype.

The options should be there to cover a number of different mediums, with webforms, phone/fax number, map/physical location and social channels are a must in my opinion. Occasionally it's good to throw a few alternative communication channels such as video calling or live chat, although these are only necessary if your users are likely to be competent in using these channels.

Also keep in mind the different reasons people may be searching for your contact details, if it is an emergency, the user will not be happy only finding only an email address when they need to phone your business urgently. This can also be true with more traditional users, just because they are savvy enough to use the internet doesn't mean they will be Skype or email users and may still prefer to pick up the phone.

Regardless of the methods of contacting you your customers are likely to use, take care not to overwhelm them with 100 different ways to contact you. Using Skype, Viber, MSN and 10 other online chatting systems will more likely confuse and scare your customers from contacting you.

I Dont Always Meme - Communication Channels

Thank You and Confirmation Pages

The pages that you are redirected to after you've completed and submitted a webform are a great way to increase engagement with your website. I've encountered thousands of websites where, once I've completed a form, I'm either greeted by being taken back to the form I've just completed (More on these pet peeve of my later) or simply had a little pop-up message thanking me for my message.

I think this is a huge waste of potential. If a user has taken the time to fill in a form on your website, you can consider them a qualified lead at best and a potential customer at worse, regardless they have shown enough interest in your business to engage with your website.

Why would you want the party to stop there? Why take the user back to the form they have already just completed? Nothing infuriates me more than completing a form, pressing the submit button only to find myself back where I started, with all my fields wiped, no message, no confirmation, nothing telling me whether or not my form has been received or not. It bugs me on a personal user experience perspective but absolutely gets under my skin from a digital marking perspective... Andddd breathe....

You should redirect the user to a confirmation page that not only thanks them for their message but gives them a chance to reengage with your business, be it by cross selling, recommending the next action/path to take or recommending social channels to keep up to date etc.

An example being if you requested some more information on new car tyres, you should be redirected to a page saying thanks and by the way do you know we also sell alloys, hubcaps and wheel alignment services etc. You've instantly given the customer a few more options to increase their spend and may also have informed them about a service they didn't know you provided.

A form submission followed by an exit is a failure

Conclusion

Much like a mother loves her children, you should love all your pages equally. OK, well maybe not equally but you get the point. Just because the page isn't the most glamorous doesn't mean you can't make it work for your website.

Have you got any more pages we can submit to the Land of Misfit Webpages? Do you have an examples of success from unlikely pages? Let us know in the comments below.

About the Author

Jamie Courtnell

Jamie Courtnell

My name is Jamie Courtnell and I am one of the co-founders of Marketing My Journey. I am a digital marketing and SEO enthusiast and blogger who loves all things digital and branding. I first learned SEO while on my marketing degree placement and since graduating I have worked full time within the industry in an in-house role. Follow me on twitter and Google+..

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