One of my responsibilities at Marketing Breakthroughs involves researching our clients’ competitors websites and identifying their strengths and weaknesses.  I’ve analyzed hundreds of websites and seen some really great and some dreadful ones. Some websites wow me with their design and their content, while others look like they were put together by a roomful of blind chimpanzees. But a good website is more than just impressive graphics; it is a useful tool that is designed with the end-user in mind.

One of the questions I often get asked is “how many pages should my website have?” While there is no single answer to this question, there are a few guidelines you should consider.

How Competitive is Your Market?

You want to be page one on Google. It’s been proven time and again that people attribute a high level of trust to the business that ranks first on their search results. According to this article from SEO 101, the top three positions on Google receive 58.4% of all click-through traffic. If you’re not in those positions, you’re losing out on a lot of potential clients.

The number of pages in your website is an important part of good search engine optimization (SEO): how high your website ranks in search listings. In a competitive market, you’re going to want to have many pages of deep content in order to wrest control of those coveted top three positions. That said, if your business involves selling bees-wax sculptures of mythical South American folk heroes, you’ll probably do well with just a few pages of good content.

Bonus Tip #1: Every blog post counts as a website page. Add a blog to your website (using your main domain) and contribute to it regularly. This will bolster your SEO by adding additional pages to your website and further help your marketing efforts by establishing you as a thought leader in your field.   

How Many Products or Services Are You Selling?

Multiple website pages help categorize the various products and services that you are selling, but bear in mind that too high a number of separate sections, or page elements, can lead to page abandonment before a conversion event. Having a lot of pages without a clear path for the visitor will cause frustration. Give your visitors a yellow brick road to follow: they’ll be happy, and you’ll have more leads.

In many cases it’s better to have a smaller number of content-rich pages, which visitors can easily navigate rather than multiple individual pages for every single service you offer.  Always remember that your visitors are looking for information NOW. Make them search for too long and they’ll search elsewhere.

Bonus Tip #2: Simultaneously offer your users variety and simplicity by categorizing your products and services in logical groupings. Use these groupings to help guide your visitors to the information they’re looking for, and ultimately, to a conversion! 

 How Much Quality Content Are You Offering?

Your most important consideration is ultimately the quality of the content you are offering. If you bought hundreds of poorly written SEO articles from a freelance essay mill service, you might be disappointed with your long term results. Your short term SEO boost from additional pages on your site will be ultimately compromised by higher and higher page abandonment and user disengagement. Not to mention that when Google’s algorithm ninjas catch up with your tactics, you’ll likely be sent to the bottom of the page rankings.

The content you add to bolster your website’s SEO becomes associated with your website. SEO articles have an important role to play in any optimization strategy, but you should always strive for valuable content, rather than meaningless puffery and keyword stuffing (the practice of repeatedly inserting search terms in an article in order to reach an ideal content-to-keyword ratio – see “blind chimp” comment above).

Bonus Tip #3: Before loading content on your website, ask yourself: “Will the target reader be happy they found this piece of content after reading it?”

Well, are you?