Why You Need Different Templates for Your Website

Recently I’ve been talking with some friends who don’t fit into the traditional SEO, publisher, or writer-with-delusional-dreams-of-becoming-a-famous-blogging-rock-star categories. They want to build and run websites in their spare time about subjects they are interested in. But they don’t want them to be  hobby websites; they want to use them to supplement their income. One of the lessons I’ve tried to teach both of them is why your websites needs different types of pages or templates and how the goals of each of these templates is different. In this post, I’ll try to teach you some of those same lessons.

eCommerce Product Templates

While these template types doesn’t apply to to the individuals I discussed earlier, I’ll mention them here in case they do apply to your case. If you run an eCommerce website, whether you are selling just one, a few, or hundreds of home made products, understand that there are different types of eCommerce pages but that each kind serves the same purpose: guiding you down the conversion funnel. I’ve written about them in greater detail on the Referral Candy website, so check out SEO for eCommerce pages, SEO for eCommerce category pages, and SEO for new products pages.

Lead Generation Template Pages

If you work in the lead generation space directly or as an affiliate, these are going to be your “money pages.” If you aren’t familiar with the concept of site hierarchy and money pages, I suggest checking out this classic post from WebmasterWorld on theme pyramids. It’s a really good visual representation of the concept that makes it easy to grasp.

Back to lead generation pages. They should be pages modeled after the click here you idiot format. You want to take the “long form sales letter.” Blend it with your theme to look professional but use minimal navigation and strategically place calls to action. DO NOT GIVE PEOPLE A LOT OF WAYS TO LEAVE THIS PAGE. Don’t make it a trap, but try and get them to do what you want them to do so you make money. Use very minimal navigation.

Adsense Pages

If you are running Adsense or some other contextual based program like Skimlinks or Viglink, there are your secondary money pages. These will usually take the form of information articles or blog posts with affiliate links or minimal tasteful Adsense sprinkled in. These pages will probably make up the majority of your website. They should bring you the most “drive by” traffic. Think lots and lots of keyword focussed articles and head and tail content.

Informational Library Templates

These will be your most well written and technically accurate articles. This is where you want to pay for good, expert quality content. Like lead generation copy, this should have a template with minimal navigation and advertising–but for the exact opposite reason. Instead of keeping people in the sales funnel, you want to use it to generate links. For example, try creating science projects and classroom lessons to target high trust and value “.edu” and library links.

Glue Page Templates

I’m sure there’s a big, fancy, MBA marketing school name for this conceptl, but I call them glue pages. Basically they are non- commercially oriented pages about subjects that people would expect to see on a “real website” about a your particular subject matter that make it look complete and thorough. You can put contextual or banner ads here, but they can make your website look cheesy. For example, let’s say you run a Baltimore Travel Website. Pages including information about cab services, emergency medical services, local supermarkets, drugstores, calendar of events, etc. would be what I would classify as “glue pages.”

Trust and Authority Templates

IMHO for the past several years, doing well in Google has largely been about how much trust you could convince them to have in your website. Template boiler plate pages like privacy, terms of service, and contact info fill this role. For more detailed instructions see how to make your website look more legitimate.

The key point I want to emphasize and want you to take away is that, while you can use one template for your entire website, you will be much more effective if you use specific templates to fill specific roles and purposes. The key to being effective is to maintain consistent branding with a masthead or logo, vary the size as needed, and then add or remove sidebar and secondary navigation as required.

photo credit: Shutterstock/Olly

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