A great website can be so much more than the sum of all pages linked from your site's navigation menu.
Reading time: 8 minutes
We need to rethink how we structure websites.
When most people think of their websites, they think about what’s on their front page and all the pages you can get to from there.
(The massive trend with one-page websites certainly proves that.)
And those Navigational Pages are important; you do want a clean and easy-to-navigate website. However, what if there was a whole new universe of pages underneath it all.
Why would that be important?
Your Site is an Iceberg
Since you’re reading this, it means you’ve somehow landed on this post.
In my sidebar, you’ll find a few highlighted sections, a selection of popular posts and a link to my Facebook page. In the menu, I have three items. My About page, a plug for my email list and a contact form. And that’s about it. All in all, just a few pages to go along with the occasional new post.
But actually, there’s more – I call them Iceberg Pages:
Example: Special Event Pages
When I talk at events, the audience often wants to keep my presentation. Some just send their documentation to the event hosts for distribution via email; others upload their presentations to Slideshare.
But I prefer to put up a landing page simply with a relevant URL, like doktorspinn.com/event-name. Then I use LeadPages to put together basic a page where I can greet people personally seeking to download my presentation. If I’ve covered some specific stuff during the Q&A that’s not mentioned in the presentation, I can add “show notes” with links and quotes.
To download the presentation, the visitor has to subscribe to my email list and this functionality is seamlessly integrated via MailChimp (or the provider of your choice), courtesy of LeadPages. (If I’m in a good mood, I can even tape a video with myself saying hi and thanking the visitor for coming to listen to my seminar!)
At this point, I think I’ve created 35 event landing pages. The conversion rates on these pages are often between 70-90%.
How you could use this these types of pages:
- After a client pitch.
- For salespeople (instead of leaving a USB stick).
- After event participation.
Here’s a basic and simple landing page I made in 5 minutes after a seminar at Uppsala University:
Example: Thank You Pages
Now, you often need to have a page that says thank you for subscribing or thank you for buying, connecting, following, providing feedback or for participating.
Of course, you need a whole range of various thank-you pages. Most company site’s thank-you pages are utterly useless. Often I have to go back to the front page or hit “back” in my browser to get away from a pointless page.
Here are a few tricks:
If someone subscribes, send them to a form and ask them a relevant question that will help you understand your subscriber base better, like “what’s your single biggest challenge?”.
Here’s an example:
You can have several variations of thank-you pages:
- If someone buys something, send them to a page with a promo code to entice them to buy from you again.
- If someone gives you feedback, send them to a site where you ask them to endorse or review your products or services.
- If someone comments, send them to a site where they might be interested in following your brand on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.
And so on. You can be infinitely creative with your plethora of designated thank you pages!
Example: Social Landing Pages
For the sake of argument, let’s say someone discovered my agency or me on Instagram. We don’t know all that much about this person, but we do know that this person is using Instagram, right?
So, as you can see in my personal profile on Instagram, I have a link to doktorspinn.com/instagram instead of my front page.
What would be relevant for me to put on such a landing page? Some suggestions:
- A presentation of who I am and why I blog of course, but very condensed for a person surfing images with their mobile.
- A collection of posts related to digital marketing on Instagram and the importance of visual communication.
Your company might be on various social networks and instead of pointing them to your front page, you can point them to a designated page which takes into account where they discover you.
Example: Category Pages
I might post lots of articles on content marketing, and if I add them to a particular category, they will end up on a category page.
If someone searches for posts on content marketing, they might just end up on these pages if they’re optimized correctly. So I add some introductory texts and instructions to ease their way into my relevant content.
These pages rarely attract a whole lot of people, but they help search engines better understand what content belongs together on your site. It might help your SEO strategy to name your categories (or tags) wisely.
Example: Resource Pages
A while back, I blogged quite a lot about blogger outreach, sort of like a content marketing experiment (read more on this experiment here).
If you pull the best posts together and put them in a certain order, they become like an introductory course to blogger outreach; but in this case, I’ve just pointed to a page where all the resources are located:
When you collect and outline links to “deeper content” like this on a specific landing page, these pages are called resource pages. Search engines love these — especially if the resource pages are linked from your sidebar.
And they can be very useful for new visitors looking for solutions and guides on how to get deeper into your content. And it’s valuable to re-use older content, too!
Example: Feedback Form Pages
Remember thank you pages? Asking your visitors for their feedback can be valuable to you and your brand.
Having various feedback form pages can, therefore, be quite a resource. Some form examples:
- “What’s your biggest professional challenge?”
- Industry-specific surveys
- Leave a review / leave feedback
- “What do you think of …?”
- Would you consider covering this on your blog?
Links to these form pages can be added to RSS footers, email signatures, thank you pages, etc. This one by Tim Ferriss (read my blog post about it) is very easy to setup. It’s not fancy, but forms like these are easy to put up — fast!
Example: Qualifier Pages
Now, let’s say you’re getting the same request over and over again. Some requests represent opportunities; others don’t.
Personally, I hate FAQs. I rarely find the answers that I’m looking for because most companies only include the answers they want to give. Like:
“Are you providing the best solution? Yes!”
So let’s say I’m approached online by potential recruits. Since I can’t do coffee with everyone and explain in detail what we’re looking for, how and why we work and what to expect.
But I can set up a sequence of pages to qualify these HR leads. For instance, each step could deal with a particular circumstance of working with me (“Office Hours”, “Selling”, “Vision” etc.) and list the pros and cons on each step. The idea is, of course, to attract those who are a good fit, but also to “scare away” those who aren’t.
You can have these online qualification sequences for recruiting of course, but also for RFPs (request for proposals), instead of FAQs, news media requests, etc.
Those who are still around at the end of the sequence have the right expectations, so you can just point them to a form where they can add their contact details. Very efficient and if done right quite appreciated by the visitors!
Example: Automation Entry Pages
Instead of setting up a resource page, you could easily use a popular email list provider (MailChimp, Aweber, etc.) to build a mini-course of email send-outs.
So you can set up landing pages for each of these automation sequences. A great resource when blogging on a subject. For those who want to know more — boom! — “here’s a link to a free email course.”
Example: Disclaimer Pages
Depending what you do, it can be good to have a set of disclaimer landing pages. For instance, I have a disclaimer page for my affiliate links.
Since I rarely use affiliate links other than for testing purposes, I don’t feel that I need to link to it from my main navigation menu, but when I do shoot out the occasional affiliate link, it’s good to have a disclaimer to point to — for full disclosure.
… And Much, Much More
The pages mentioned above are in a way “hidden,” lying there doing good work for you in the background. Sometimes I feel that I’m doing twice as much work creating these pages than I do create actual blog articles!
But these underlying pages are pulling their weight in creating value for me as a professional person and brand. Just because these pages aren’t readily accessible from my menu hierarchy, it doesn’t make them less valuable.
Published by Doctor Spin on November 6, 2014.
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