12 Things You Need To Consider For An Effective Homepage
Your website’s homepage, also known as the index, front or welcome page is your website’s sales page. You have 7 seconds to grab someone’s attention and entice them to read more or take action.
Sadly, most people don’t realise the importance of their website’s homepage and forget to include key elements. Spend the next 24 hours tweaking your homepage and you will be ahead of your competitors
1. Easy to Understand Tagline
The minute a customer arrives at your website, they need to understand what it is that you do and what problems you are going to solve for them. As such, it is important to prominently feature your hook or slogan. Your tagline should be memorable, straight to the point, differentiate you from your competitors and include a key benefit.
2. Resolve Problems
Don’t tell your visitors how great your business is, how you use the latest equipment, greatest techniques and offer the best service. No one will believe you.
Make your homepage about how your products/services will resolve your customers’ concerns/problems. Show that you understand what they are going through and explain why you are the authority on solving the issues. Explain your process / roadmap you will use to help 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.
Information about your products and services should be broken down into bitesize pieces rather than big blocks of text. If you provide too many details, your visitors may become confused or overwhelmed and take no action.
3. Call to action
Tell people exactly what you want them to do when they arrive at your website. Do you want them to contact you, download a report, sign up for a webinar, request a quote, apply for a consult, subscribe to your newsletter or follow you on social media? Show them where and how.
You will find that most people won’t buy from you the first time they come across your website, so it is important you capture their details and then stay in touch to build trust and credibility. This can be done via a pop-up form linked to your favourite email software such as Mailchimp or GetResponse.
You will need to give your visitors a reason to leave their details, so offer them something that provides value and a possible solution to their problem, eg. a downloadable report with tips, checklists or worksheets, a quiz, a guide, mini training series or a competition.
You only have a few seconds to get your visitor’s attention, so make sure you include great headlines which will make them want to read more.
5. Visual appeal
Images you use should tell a story of how your products and services solve your customer’s problems and what their life will look like after using your products or services.
It is a good idea to have a video which welcomes your visitors to and gives them a brief overview of what they will find on your website.
Keep animations to a minimum. Noone is going to wait around until your animation loads and they are certainly not going to sit there and watch it for more than a few seconds.
People have short attention span and often prefer to watch videos rather than read pages and pages of text. As such, it is a good idea to include a short video, which gives them an overview of what your website is about and allows them to connect to you on a personal level.
7. Avoid auto play music
Under no circumstances should you have music which starts playing as soon as your website loads. Imagine if your potential customer is looking at your website during work hours, in a library or on a bus and suddenly the music starts blaring. They will quickly shut your website down and never come back.
8. Easy Navigation
Make sure your visitors can easily navigate to other parts of your website by including a simple navigation system – either at the top or left handside. The navigation bar needs to be on all pages. Remember, not everyone will arrive at your website via your homepage.
If your homepage is long, include a “sticky” navigation bar, which stays at the top of the screen as the visitor scrolls down.
Your website needs to prove to your visitors that you are trustworthy and reliable. This is best done by including testimonials, before & after shots, awards you have won and media articles that have been published about your business or successful case studies of customers you have helped.
Although all these don’t need to be included on the homepage, it is a good idea to have a prominent link or image that takes visitors to pages, where these appear.
10. Contact Information
Make it easy for customers to contact you and include your phone number at the top of the page and all your contact details – phone number, email address, street or postal address, Skype details, social media networks – in the footer. Whenever possible also include a map of where you are located.
Ensure 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 tags – description and keywords.
12. Search Engine Friendly
Remember your homepage needs to be not only visitor friendly, but also search engine friendly and that means including content that is relevant to your website. Search engines can’t index flash animations, so don’t create an all flash website and make sure you have some text on all your pages. Also ensure all graphics have alt tags with the appropriate keywords.
When people arrive at your homepage, you only have a few seconds to get their attention and show them what your website is all about. Include all these key elements on your page to ensure your visitors stay for long enough to find out what you do and eventually convert into paying customers.