by Ivana Katz
The front page of your website, also known as the home, welcome or index page is THE MOST IMPORTANT part of your site, as the majority of visitors will enter your website through there. You have approximately 7 seconds to grab someone’s attention and entice them to read more or take particular action. Unfortunately, most website owners don’t realise this and forget to include key elements, which include:
1.Features and Benefits
Make your welcome page about what you can do for your visitors. Outline the benefits and features your business can offer them. Solve their problems.
Don’t tell your customers that you “use the latest equipment and greatest techniques”. It doesn’t really mean anything to them. Instead of using the words “we”, use the words “you”. Write your copy as if you were talking to your customer over a cup of coffee.
Most visitors only skim through your website, so use headlines to highlight what your website is about. Write headlines that will make your visitors want to read more.
3. Avoid auto play music or video
Having music on your website is never a good idea, especially if it starts blaring as soon as your website loads. Remember your potential customer may be looking at your website during work hours and if music or video suddenly starts playing, they will quickly shut your website down and never come back.
4. Flash Animations
Keep animations and special effects to a minimum. Nobody is going to wait around until your flash animation loads and they are certainly not going to sit there and watch it for more than a few seconds. Instead, create a video, upload it to YouTube and then embed it into your website. Make sure your video contains useful information and tips, rather than just a sales pitch.
It is very important that you include keywords (words people use to search for your products / services) throughout the copy of the website as well as in the headings, title of your page, in the meta description, website address, page names and image alt tags. If you are not sure what some of these are, don’t worry, your website designer will be able to help you there.
6. Call to action
Tell your visitors exactly what you want them to do when they enter your website. Do you want them to contact you via email, phone or a form or perhaps download a special report,r subscribe to your newsletter or Like your Facebook page? Highlight this on your homepage.
7. Don’ try to sell
It is a well known fact that as many as 98% of people won’t buy from you on the first go. Rather than trying to sell them your products or services, provide them with useful information, capture their details, and then stay in touch. It is only after they get to know you and trust you that they will be comfortable to order from you.
8. Search Engine Friendly
Remember your homepage needs to be not only visitor friendly, but also search engine friendly and that means including information and especially keywords that are relevant to your website. Search engines are not able to index flash animations, so don’t create an all flash website. Instead make sure you have text on all your pages and if you do include images, add alt tags with the appropriate keywords.
9. Easy Navigation
Ensure your visitors can quickly find what they are looking for on your website. Include a simple navigation bar on all your pages – either at the top or on the left handside, as people are used to looking there .
Your website needs to prove to your visitors that you are trustworthy. You can do this by including testimonials from happy customers, before & after photos, business and personal awards you have won and media articles that have been published about your business .
Although all these don’t need to be included on the homepage, it is a good idea to have a prominent link that takes visitors to a page, where they appear.
When people arrive at your first page, you only have a few seconds to get their attention and show them what your website is all about. Include all the important elements and your visitors will stay for long enough to find out what you do and eventually buy your products or services.
Ivana Katz makes it easy for you to get your business on the internet. If you’re looking for a professional and affordable website designer, visit www.web4business.com.au and download a free website plan or connect with Ivana on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/Websites4SmallBusiness