Similarly, when you hire someone to build your website, it’s important to have a basic understanding of the way a website works and the elements that make up a website.
Types of Pages
All the pages that are NOT your homepage are commonly referred to as “interior pages”. If you think of it like a book, the homepage is the cover, and the interior pages are all the pages inside the cover. Most websites have interior pages like; “services”, “about us”, “contact”, etc. These pages will often be in your navigation menu (more on that later) and are easily accessible to visitors on your site.
Typical Sections on Most Pages
Each page of your site, no matter if it’s the homepage, an interior page or landing page, is made up of different sections that help break up the content into digestible pieces.
While the possibilities are almost limitless, below are the most common sections each website contains.
The header is typically at the very top of every page of your website (except for landing pages, which most often do not have your header on them). Here’s what you typically find on a website header:
- Company Logo
- Primary Navigation
- Secondary Navigation
- Call to Action
- Address & Phone Number (for local, service-based businesses)
Page Header & Hero Sections
The section that goes right beneath the header is often referred to as the “page header”. This section usually tells the viewer the title of the page that they are on so that they can orient themselves as they navigate from page to page. Page headers aren’t necessary, and aren’t on every page, but they are very common and a good thing to have.
The exception to this rule is the homepage. Typically we refer to the section just underneath the header as the “hero” section. This is one of the most important pieces of your homepage and is meant to instantly connect with the customer through the use of a statement about the problem you solve and a call to action. This strategy behind this can get very in depth, but for the purposes of this article we’ll keep it brief.
While sidebars aren’t on every page, or used on every website they are still very common. Most often you see these within the content section of a page. Sometimes you will see the content broken up into 2 or more vertical columns. The sidebar is usually smaller than the rest of the content and often contains related information or navigation to related topics.
Common Website Elements
Within the sections of your website you can have any number of elements, including; text, images, buttons, menus, tables, videos, and much more.
Each of these elements serve a purpose and can be used in conjunction with one another to create a completely custom layout for your website project.
I will skip explaining the obvious, like text and images because I’m sure you already know you will need those things. Below are some of the elements you might not fully understand but should familiarize yourself with from the start.
Call to Action
A call to action (or “CTA”) is an important part of every website. This is where you tell the reader exactly what their next step should be. It’s always wise to try and guide the viewer through a path that is beneficial to reaching your end goal. Common calls-to-action are things like “Contact Us Today”, or “Buy Now”, or “Schedule an Appointment”. These direct messages tell the reader what their next move should be.
A button is one of the most common elements on any website. Buttons link to additional content or pages and are a strong visual queue to the reader that they can click that link to go to another destination.
Primary Navigation Menu
Secondary Navigation Menu
It’s possible for websites to have many different navigation menus. The primary menu will contain the most important elements, but it’s often necessary to create a secondary navigation menu. Often you’ll see secondary navigation menus used for things like “log in”, “donate”, or “volunteer”. They are still important items, but not important enough to make it into the primary navigation.
sign up / opt-in / contact form
- Collecting Leads
- Signing Up
It’s a great way to lower the barrier of entry so that it makes it easier for visitors to get in touch or join your email list.