Chapter 9: Products & Services

The ability to show off your products and services at precisely the time buyers are seeking suppliers is a fundamental reason for the explosive proliferation of websites – surpassing two billion pages in less than a decade. The ability buyers have to find detailed information 24/7 in turn spurs ever-greater usage of that information. The result has been an unprecedented upward circulation spiral.

In this chapter we’ll detail some of the ways to display products and services to make it easy for prospects and customers to use the information. We’ll also suggest ways to go beyond simple display of products and services information to gain interaction with buyers. Later, we’ll give examples of Products and Services sections in manufacturing, health care, real estate and specialty retail.

Finally, see the chapters on Resources and Other Content before finalizing your list of items to include in your Products and Services and your website. Consider all of these suggestions with a view to their usefulness in the context of your industry, your company and your products and services.

See the color plates for visual examples of products and services as well as overall site navigation.

Products & Services Overview

Start with an overview of your products or services (for ease of reading, we’ll simply refer to both products and services as ‘products’ from time-to-time). Even after you’ve developed product details on your site to include specifications, drawings, and other information to the nth degree, you want to give viewers a relatively simple overview to start with. Just like the home page, you do not want to overwhelm viewers with too much information at the start. You do want to give viewers enough information to determine that your products are indeed what they are looking for, enough highlights of the products or product families to position them competitively, and links to more detailed information to allow viewers to “drill down” for any and all information they may be interested in.

In planning and deploying your site, start with the Products and Services overview page. Sub-pages and sub-navigation can be built from there.

Often your product overview page can show the range of products, the applications and more. The product overview is essentially a secondary home page, giving a general overview of your products while detailing all of the information available on your site about your products via links to product details.

Remember to include calls to action on your product pages. The old direct marketing axiom, AIDA, for attention, interest, desire and action, is appropriate for web pages. Buyers often come to your site with their full attention after all they searched you out. Their interest and desire are already whetted. Call out ways to get action, from using links to your Contact Us page to your “Call Toll Free” number and other means to get buyers to communicate with you.

Additional content covered in the print edition of Webforging includes a paragraph to a page or more on each of the following:

  • Products & Services Sub-Navigation
  • Complex Products & Services Pages
  • Adding Images
  • Search
  • Product Images
  • Image Maps
  • Mouse-over Titles and Descriptions
  • Applications Bulletins & Case Histories
  • Testimonials
  • Product Overview Comparison
  • Product Specifications
  • Downloadable Files
  • Drawing Templates
  • PDFs
  • Manuals
  • Tutorials and Presentations
  • Email to Departments
  • Other Communications
  • Products and Services by Industry
    • Manufacturing Products & Services
      • Downloadable CAD Files
      • Uploadable CAD Files
    • Healthcare Products and Services
    • Real Estate Products and Services
    • Specialty Retail (and Wholesale) Products and Services
    • Products and Services Intermediation