Your home page is where most visitors enter your site. It typically offers the first and most important opportunity to qualify your organization to visitors. The home page can leave users intrigued with a desire to learn more about your organization or cause them to become confused and abandon your site. The following 10 tips will help you create a more effective home page that drives users to accomplish your business goals.
- Define who you are
Make sure that your company name, logo and tagline are clearly displayed near the top of the site. Users will scan your page starting at the top-left, so placing your logo there is generally accepted as best practice.
- Convey an identity
Is your organization modern or traditional? Corporation or small business? Local or national? If you plan on doing business with your visitors, convey to them your true identity and be sure that it's aligned with what they're expecting. Your identity will let your users know whether or not they've come to the right place.
- Emphasize a point of differentiation
If you are not a monopoly, this applies to you (everyone). Through the internet your prospective customers have access to each of your competitors websites. Any user with propensity to buy will be comparing your organization directly against your online competitors. Be sure that your website clearly conveys your point of differentiation -- What is your value proposition? What it is that makes you completely unique and special? It can make the difference converting a lead to a sale or doing the same for your competitor.
- Define a purpose
Why do you have a website? Make it abundantly clear why your website exists and be sure that it is reflected in your call-to-actions. And yes, by the way, you need call-to-actions!
- Prioritize content
Depending on your specific business goals (i.e. selling a particular product or service, ) you should display items on the home page that are held in the highest priority. This will increase the odds that your users will accomplish the most important goals. If you have several important products, services, or pieces of content, be sure they are weighted accordingly by size and location within the page. The most important pieces of content should be large and closest to the top-left portion of the page.
- Offer incentives
In the increasingly competitive landscape of the internet it is becoming more important to get users to your site and keep them there. A great way to compel users to travel further into your site (and sometimes offer up an email address) is to provide them with some type of incentive. An incentive can come in many forms: an e-book, video series, access to exclusive content, etc.. Incentives add value to the user experience and will ultimately improve the success of your website as a business tool.
- Be sure your design is helping the cause
Graphic design can act as a wonderful tool to qualify your organization as an industry leader but can also cause users to immediately lose interest in continuing further, regardless of the quality of your content. A display of professional, visually pleasing graphics convey to users your organization has the wherewithal to take the time and spend the money to produce a pleasing aesthetic experience (sometimes considered by website owners to be superfluous). It's an important indicator that the same care attention has been paid to product or service offerings.
- Provide up-to-date content
Providing quality, timely content is important for both users and search engines. It shows that you have taken a level of proactivity in keeping your site current. In the same sense that people don't enjoy reading old newspapers, neither do they enjoy reading content that's dated and no longer relevant to the experience they're having right now. Keep it fresh and keep it relevant.
- Make it scan-able
Be sure that your home page is not stuffed with so much content that your user has to scroll or spend a significant amount of time reading. This will reduce your bounce rate and keep your users focused on only the most pertinent content. If you can't say or display everything that you'd like in the small space allotted on your home page, offer your users an opportunity to dig deeper by placing a "read more" call-to-action! Providing too much information is a very common error that can be avoided by remembering the following: less is more.
- Remember the intangibles
While the overall experience of your site is dependent upon several concrete variables, there are some that are intangible. As your site is developed be sure to always focus on delivering an intensely satisfying experience and paying attention to detail in areas that might otherwise be overlooked. All the small seemingly insignificant components that make up your website add up to something larger which will help drive your success.
By Dave Romero