Believe it or not, your website outline can make a huge difference to the overall success of your blog or website. We should resist the urge to quickly install our WordPress blog and begin writing blog posts.
We have all been there. We get that great website idea, find the perfect domain name, and then we are eager to begin putting that idea to work. But there must be some planning first and an effective web site outline is the perfect solution.
With that said, let us examine the critical elements of every outline for your blog or website. These items must be in your website.
Website Legal Pages
You may ask “what do legal pages have to do with my website?” The answer is that the major search engines will not recognize your blog or website if you don’t have legal pages. And if they are not recognized, then they will not index your content – which means no organic web traffic.
Understand their position. They are trying to provide customers with the most reliable and highest quality content possible for the search terms that are entered. In their view, legal pages are a great way to verify that.
As a minimum, your website outline should include the following pages:
- Terms of Service
Depending on your market, you may need to add a few more legal pages. The good news is that there are several great legal page plugins that will work your through everything you need for your legal pages. I urge you to check them out – most of them are totally free.
Finally, make sure that you have links pointing to each of these pages, and that the links are prominently displayed.
Website Courtesy Pages
There are two basic website courtesy pages (as I like to call them). Let us review each of them.
About Us Page
The about us page is far more important than most online bloggers think. I say this because when people click on your about us page, it usually means they are looking for a reason to trust you and your website.
Depending on your objective, it could mean they are thinking about buying one of your products, signing up for your newsletter, or trying out your service.
This is why you really want to describe the mission of your website, what you can offer visitors and customers, and why you are offering your service or product.
Contact Us Page
Your second courtesy page should be one that allows your visitors to send you comments and feedback. This requires a form where they give you their email address so that you can respond.
Fortunately, there are some very good WordPress plugins that will set up a contact form very easily. They allow you to enter a shortcode on a blog page which will display your contact form. It also lets you customize a form yourself, or it walks you through setting up a very simple form.
As with your legal pages, ensure that links to your courtesy pages are prominently displayed on your website. I usually place them alongside my legal pages.
Website or Blog Categories
Here’s where we get down to your niche and the topics that your new website will be addressing. It is very important that group your content in a very useful way.
Imagine if you were a new visitor to your website, wouldn’t it make sense to have categories included in your web site outline in order to navigate quickly to what you are looking for?
Many people have difficulties coming up with website or blog categories. If you are having problems coming up with these, let me recommend something.
Take a sheet of paper or spreadsheet and start listing every topic that you anticipate writing about on your new blog. Now start grouping common topics together. Keep working until you have anywhere from 4 to 6 groups. Unless you are building a mega site, you should never go beyond 4-6 blog categories.
Now start giving these groups a name that will represent all the topics within the group. Remember that you can always use a “Misc” or “Latest News” name that could be somewhat of a catchall for various topics in your niche.
Set up these categories in your WordPress blog and give them a 2-3 sentence description. As you begin adding blog posts to your new blog, you can begin assigning them a primary category. Do not be afraid to place them in more than one category if you believe it applies, but you will have to designate one of them as the “primary” category.
Hopefully, you now have a clearer idea about setting up your website outline. I have used the web site outline described above in literally hundreds of blogs and website over the past 15 years or so. It works very well.