We say “don’t judge a book by its cover,” but it’s something we’re all guilty of. An eye-catching cover captures your attention long enough to decide if it’s the book for you. Similarly, a well-designed website homepage engages your website visitors long enough for them to decide if they want to know more about you.
The Purpose of Your Homepage
For most of your website visitors, your homepage is the first impression they get of your business. Years ago, Google confirmed that visitors develop a gut feeling about your website in less than a second. This is why it’s so important that your homepage immediately capture the attention of your potential customers and convince them to dive deeper into your site.
Your website homepage sets the tone for the rest of your site. In seconds, a visitor should be able to determine if your site is likely to deliver what they are looking for. And by the time they finish scrolling your homepage, they should be able to identify who you are, what you are offering, and where to go to access more info.
An effective homepage accomplishes the following:
- Engages new visitors quickly
- Directs visitors to the right content based on where they are in the sales journey
- Converts visitors who are ready to buy
5 Homepage Essentials
When you write your website homepage, there are five key elements to keep in mind. This page should always include branding and navigation, a customer-focused hero section, an explanation of what you do, social proof, and multiple different calls to action.
1. Include Branding & Navigation
One of the principles of good web design is easy navigation that reduces friction as your visitors move from point A to point B. Think about what your visitors want to accomplish and which pages they would want to visit. For example, if your customers are most likely comparing pricing before choosing your business, you should include a pricing page in your navigation.
A best practice for your homepage is to include simple, primary navigation near the top of the page. The text you use to link to internal pages should be clear and descriptive. Including key pages in your navigation also helps search engines find your content and understand your website hierarchy.
As for branding on your homepage, we advise putting your logo in the top left corner. This should be a no-brainer because we all read from top to bottom and left to right. By putting your logo top left and your navigation top right, you are guiding your visitor. First, they see your name and then they see what pages are most important on your site.
2. Frame Your Customer as the Hero
You should view your entire homepage through your customers’ eyes. Your goal is to clearly and concisely communicate what you can do for them. This all starts in the very first part of the page, which is sometimes referred to as “above the fold” or the “hero section.”
An important note: you are not the hero. Your customer is the hero. It’s their story and you’re here to help them. We recommend using your best photo in this section — one that shows your customer instead of you. People like seeing “themselves” because it helps them relate to the problem you are helping them solve.
Your headline in this section should communicate what you have to offer or what your customer stands to gain. It should be clear and simple. A subheadline can help you provide more detail about what you offer by zeroing in on a pain point. For example, “Save More on Your Insurance” with a subheadline “We’ll meet your budget without cutting corners on coverage.”
The headline here in the top section is the most important text on the page. It may be the only thing a visitor reads before making up their mind about your website. So, don’t waste this space with “welcome to our website” or your company name. Be clear about what you’re offering right away.
3. Explain What You Do
Your homepage should briefly explain what you’re offering and why it’s different from your competitors. Be direct and specific about your products and service. As soon as a visitor arrives on your site, they want to know what services you provide, the benefits of working with you, and what next steps they need to take to work with you. We recommend you use your homepage to summarize each product and service in 2-3 sentences.
As you describe your services, focus on the benefits instead of features. Your potential customers don’t care if you have x amount of employees or your building is 10,000 square feet. They care about how you can make their life better. Tell them how you’ll make their life easier or simpler.
On your website homepage, you should always be concise. Save your detailed and lengthly copy for your internal product pages. You should try to naturally incorporate keywords on this page and remember to use words your visitors would use.
4. Include Social Proof
Social proof is a piece of evidence that backs up claims you make about your business. You should use different types of social proof throughout your website to verify your reputation. For example, you may include customer reviews on your product pages or feature case studies on a dedicated page.
On your homepage, you may want to include some of the following:
- Client Logos: Showcase who you do business with. This is especially helpful if you work with recognizable brands.
- Testimonials: You can incorporate online reviews or testimonials that you’ve collected as long as it’s clear they are authentic. Testimonials will appear more authentic if you include a real photo, first and last name, and link to an external source if there is one.
- Awards: Only include awards that will mean something to your website visitors. For example, local business awards can communicate how well-loved your business is in the area.
5. Don’t Forget a Call to Action
Everything on your homepage should lead to another action. This page is just one step of the journey for your potential customers, and it should provide a clear path for them. You can do this by including calls to action that are relevant to whatever stage of the decision-making process each customer is in.
For example, buyers in the early stages may want more information about your products. Or, they may want to verify your reputation. You can facilitate their journey by providing a lead-in and button to your popular product pages or About Us page.
For buyers who are later in the process, you should define what conversion action you want them to take. For example, a chiropractor may have a call to action to “schedule a free consultation.” Make it clear to your visitors how to do business with you and provide them with the steps to do so.
Write a Homepage That Works
By following the five homepage essentials above, you can create a homepage that immediately engages your visitors and directs them on the appropriate path to do business with you.
If you don’t have time to implement these homepage best practices yourself, we can do it for you. Schedule a call with our team to learn about the Best Website solution for your industry.