As bloggers, we spend a ton of time creating our posts. But pages are also a very important part of our site. Your pages create the structure of your site and are often some of the most heavily trafficked URLs.
Your “About” page tells your readers what they need to know about you personally while your “Resources” page could be the most lucrative page on your whole site. Meanwhile, your legal pages are protecting you from liability if someone has a problem with your advice.
All in all, the pages you create on your site could be some of the most important URL's you have. Here are the ones every blogger needs.
Your home page is the page readers will land on if they just type in your domain without any extras. In my case it's hitpublish.com. (As opposed to hitpublish.com/whatever.)
I think of a home page like a map to your site. You know when you walk into an amusement park for the first time, all full of excitement and energy, and they hand you a map of the park? You open it up and start scanning, looking at all the fun things you can you do — trying to decide what to do first.
Do you wanna ride the rollercoaster? It's on your left. You want the whirl-a-gig? Straight ahead. The show with the dancing bear? Down the street to your right, just behind the churro cart.
Like a map, your home page gives high-level directions that help the reader find what they came for. The key is that you don't want people hanging around on your home page. The amusement park doesn't want you staring at the map all day — they want you to find something to do and then go do it.
When designing your home page, think about what you want your readers to do. Do you want them to sign up for your email list? Do you want them to check out your products or services? Do you want them to read your best content? Those are the things to feature on the home page.
You may decide to only have one sign-post on your site, typically this is the option to sign up for your newsletter. I've seen homepages of pretty big sites where the only thing you can do on their homepage is sign up for the newsletter — that's it.
Must Have Elements of a Home Page
- The name of your site and logo
- Tagline, if you have one
- Your picture, probably
- A prominent way to sign up for the email list
- One or two other options; such as a few pieces of pillar content
Your about page is another must have page on your site. This should be in your main navigation bar on the site and will likely be called “About Me” or just “About”.
Focus on keeping the tone on your about page personal. It's not a resume. You are introducing yourself to a new friend. Let your personality shine through.
Even though this page is technically about you, everything we do is really for our readers. So, think about what your readers will relate to. If you write a parenting blog, you'll obviously want to focus on your kids. If you write a travel blog, you'll be talking about your love of travel. If you write a food blog, yup you guessed it — you'll talk about what cooking means to you.
Must Have Elements of an About Page
- A picture of you
- Your personal story, including what gives you credibility in your niche
- Your general location
- Why you got started blogging
- What people can expect from your site
Resources: 15 About Me Page Pages from Hubspot
Contact pages are usually pretty simple. The reader is there for one reason — to email you. So there's not a lot else to say on a contact page other than tell them how to, you know, contact you.
They typically have a form for readers to fill out so they can email you. You can use a plugin for this. I use WPForms Lite, but Contact Form 7 is also popular.
You can include your actual email address but know that you will get more spam if you do this. Having your email address online makes it easy for bots to get ahold of it and start automatically emailing you. That's why contact forms are more popular.
I always like a fun contact page. Something cute and friendly. If someone has clicked here, they are thinking about emailing you. Your goal here is to get them to actually do it — so being friendly helps keep them from chickening out.
Also, tell them what to expect after they submit their email. Let people know when they can expect a response and if there are requests you do not respond to, such as guest post requests.
Must Have Elements of a Contact Page
- A way of contacting you (obvs.)
- A call to action to fill out the contact form
- A friendly image
- An idea of what will happen after they submit the form
Resource: 25 Best Contact Pages from Impact
Ah, legal pages, quite stressful when you are starting out.
I recommend buying a template from a lawyer and then putting this stress out of your mind. Doing business in the world means taking on some risk. Blogging is no riskier than any other kind of business and we can take steps to protect ourselves from the tiny bit of risk we do assume.
One of the main risks we face is that someone uses our advice and it goes badly for them. They then sue us saying that we did them harm with our terrible advice. Honestly, one way to protect yourself from this is not giving straight advice or by making promises.
For example; you can say “If you eat less and exercise more you may lose weight.” Compare that to “If you eat less and exercise more you will lose weight.” One is a suggestion, one is a promise.
But those tweaks to your copy don't mean you don't need a disclaimer that legally says “Hey, I'm not giving you advice or making promises. YMMV.” Disclaimer pages also let people know that some of your links will be affiliate links and that you are not responsible for content on a website that you link to.
Another risk bloggers face is the fact that we track our reader's usage of our site.
We use things like Google Analytics to track page views. But we may also use third party tracking pixels, such as Facebook or Pinterest pixels. We have to tell people we do this. That's those nice “cookie” popups on every single website. (Shoutout to whoever named these “cookies” btw. That was a solid piece of marketing.)
I got my legal pages from Elizabeth Stapleton who is both a lawyer and a blogger.
Must Have Elements of Legal Pages
- A disclaimer saying that you aren't responsible for the results from your advice
- A disclaimer letting readers know that you link out to other websites and you are not responsible for the content on their site
- A disclaimer that you have affiliate links on the site.
Resources: Elizabeth Stapleton's Legal Bundle
If you've done a good job of choosing your affiliates then they have true value to your readers. It really is a win-win to show them off as much as possible.
For example, as a new blogger, you will need an email service provider. I recommend ConvertKit if you are ready to spend money on this and Mailerlite if you want a free version. I truly believe that these two services are the best for new bloggers so I will do everything I can to direct people to sign up with them.
I also have an affiliate relationship with both of those companies. So if a reader uses my link to sign up for a really good service they will need anyway it's win-win. They get a great service and I get to keep the lights on for another day at Hit Publish.
That said, your resources page doesn't have to — and probably shouldn't — only have affiliate partners. You can also include any tools that will be useful to your readers. You can also feature any pillar content or useful guides that you have on your site.
Must Have Elements of a Resources Page
- A list of tools
- A bit about the tool and why your reader should use it
- An obvious way to get the recommended tools
- A clear and functional layout
Thank You Page
When someone signs up for your email list they are directed to a thank you page. If you don't create your own thank you page, then they will go to a page from your email service provider. This will likely be very standard and boring.
However, right after someone signs up for your newsletter is the spot on perfect time to make a more personal connection! So take a moment and create a custom thank you page.
The goal here is make a connection so let some of your personality shine here. A video is awesome, but even a fun gif is better than nothing. Also ask them to do something else. This could be to follow you on social media, or make a small purchase.
Once you have this created you'll change the settings with your email provider to send people to a custom URL after confirmation. This will send them to your new Thank You Page after they click “confirm” while subscribing to your email list.
Must Have Elements of a Thank You Page
- Something personal and fun welcoming them to your world
- A call to action (follow on social or make a small purchase)
The pages you create are the structure of your site. Not all of these will end up on the navigation bar but that doesn't mean they aren't important.
If you are missing some of these key pages, now is the time to create them. If you have them, go back and take look at them. Are they the best they can be?