The homepage is the most important page on your website. It also receives the most visits. Unfortunately, most businesses don’t put enough thoughts and efforts into designing and creating their homepages.
Here are the common mistakes I see on most homepages:
Since the home page is the most important page, don’t leave the design of the home page up to the graphic or web designer. Designers are only interested in creating cool and flashy designs with little regards to meeting business objectives.
So if your designers insist on making the site look cool, unique, or flashy, you should hit your designer on the head with a hammer and remind your designer that the objective of your website is to generate sales or leads, not to win a design or art contest!
I strongly believe that the marketing person should be responsible for the look, feel, branding, and messaging of the home page. The marketing person should take the lead role and work with the designer, web developer, and copywriter to design and create a high impact home page.
Here are the things you should consider and think about before creating or recreating your home page:
After you have gone through the above important exercise, you are ready to start putting together your high impact home page.
Follow the steps below:
By doing a wireframe first, you have a blueprint of how the layout of your site should look like and where to position each feature and element. Your wireframe or mock up should include the following elements and features:
Now that you have your wire frame done, let’s put them together.
The look and feel of your site must be attractive and professional looking. Visitors will make a split second judgment of your site and determine whether they should stick around or leave your site based on the look and feel of your homepage.
Follow these guidelines to create a professional and attractive looking design:
You only have a few seconds to let the visitors know that they are in the right place and that your site has something worth looking further. As such, your value proposition must be clear and compelling.
You can communicate your value proposition and unique selling points using a combination of the headline, the subheadline, a short paragraph, and a few bullet points. The headline and/or subheadline should contain the keywords related to your business and should convey a compelling value derived from the experience provided by your business.
In addition, you should have 1-2 paragraphs of texts and bullet points to answer questions like who your business serves, what problems do you solve, what makes you special or better than the competition, and what your target audience stand to lose by not using your products or services.
Your value proposition and USP should be at the forefront of your website and above the fold, where visitors are able to see it right away.
Since most of your visitors have never don’t business with you, they want to know if they can trust you or not. To convey trust and credibility you should include the following elements on your website:
An image or a video on top of the fold is important to give the visitors a visual representation of your products. If you sell physical products, you should take professional photos of your products and show an image or two of the products. If you sell a SaaS product, you can show a screen shot image. If you have a very complicated product, you may want to use a video to provide a quick demo of how your product works. The length of the video should be 30 – 90 seconds.
Alright, now that your visitors know what you do and why they should check you out, what do you want them to do next? You must provide them with clear “Call to Actions” to lead them to the next steps.
One thing you must avoid is having too many “Call to Actions” with equal weight. If you give the visitors too many choices, it lead to a phenomenon known as “paradox of choice.” What this means is that when you give someone too many choices or options, that usually leads to paralysis of the mind and results in no actions taken.
You can have one or two “Call to Actions”, but you must have only one primary “Call to Action.” You should use the most prominent colored button for your main CTA and a less prominent colored button for the secondary CTA. Your secondary CTA could also be just a text link.
Examples of “Call to Actions” include:
Depending on your products and your audience, you must choose appropriate CTAs. Pushy CTAs such as “buy now” or “sign up now” usually are not as effective, because the visitors do not have enough information or data on your business to fall for such aggressive CTAs.
Depending on your business, you might want to add the following features:
Your home page design should evolve and change over time as needed. Do user testing and leverage Google Analytics data to improve your home page. Look at the bounce rate data and find out what people click on and what people don’t click on.
If there are certain features or elements that never get clicked on, you might want to remove them.
To give you some inspiration, here are examples of home pages incorporate the best practices as discussed above.