Website 101: Homepage Essentials

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Oct 2016
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Author : Pete Peranzo

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The homepage of your website is the digital face of your business and your very first chance to give visitors a good impression of your company.

There are so many businesses with great websites that if yours isn’t up to mark, visitors will have no qualms in ditching it and moving to another more professional one that is designed with the user experience in mind.

While there are an endless number of features that make a website stand out, there are also essentials that businesses cannot afford to ignore. While reading this blog, take inventory of your own website and be sure it includes all of these elements.

A clear guiding principle

The homepage has a purpose. It is where visitors first land when looking up your website or directed by organic search.

The homepage, therefore, needs to convey the nature of the business and who it is aimed at so people can determine without wasting time if it is of use to them.

Get your content writer to create a succinct introduction that effectively captures the ethos of the business. You don’t necessarily have to sound boring doing that. There are creative ways of conveying what you do, though those should not come at the cost of clarity.

State the purpose of your business

You have an entire web page to impress people with your achievements and credentials. Make use of it.

“As seen on,” or “Featured in,” for example. It’s great for small businesses to gain mention in the leading blogs, websites or TV networks of the day. Display all such citations prominently on the homepage.

Work with your web design firm to figure out the best placement for this.

Keep the web design clean

Clutter on a homepage is probably the worst idea ever. It’s the equivalent of committing digital hara-kiri for up and coming businesses.

There are a few things that are guaranteed to turn visitors away. Clutter is one of those because it looks sloppy, unprofessional and is simply not user-friendly. Other elements that might turn visitors away include slow load times, confusing directions and an outdated appearance.

With a clean design, businesses have to make the decision about the most important information to include on the homepage and how to state it in a minimalistic manner. Not a lot of content, and an image or two that only serves to further the purpose of the home page.

Here are some examples of beautiful clean web designs that engage but do not sacrifice functionality.

Create engaging content

Yes, even on the homepage. Content isn’t just which you push out through the blog. All the writing, images and videos on your website qualify as content and you want everything to sound professional and engaging, never boring or dry. You could use humor to do so or cultivate your own characteristic style. The only thing to ensure is to maintain that consistency throughout the website.

All businesses have a personality. Capture yours with smart content so that visitors know what to expect.

Make navigation intuitive

With only including minimal information on the homepage comes the challenge of making sure visitors are able to find detailed information right away.

Opt for a WordPress theme or ask your web design firm to incorporate menus on the homepage in a manner that is easy to spot and use. Navigation should feel natural to users, without them having to wonder where to click or what to do next.

Take a look at these websites with impressive navigation to gain some idea about how to do this.

Include Calls-to-Action

We all want our websites to make a great first (and repeated) impression, but that alone is not the purpose of a homepage. The ultimate idea is to pique the interest of the visitors so that they want to find out more about your business.  Clarity, a clean design, quality content and intuitive navigation help you do that, but you also want visitors to take action. It’s one thing to lay it all out for them in an intuitive and intriguing manner, but you still have to go beyond impressing them. You have to tell them exactly what they should be doing upon visiting your website.

Some of the common CTAs include:

  • Signing up for the blog
  • Watching a free video
  • Liking/following the website on social
  • Providing a number to call
  • Providing a deal coupon or a signup discount
  • Simply leaving a comment

This is important. Action is what will engage visitors and convert prospects into customers. Accordingly, include calls-to-action on the page in strategic locations. Ideally this should be done in a manner that feels like a natural next step to the visitors. If they like your content and if it is indeed what they have been looking for, it shouldn’t be difficult to get them to take this next step. But it bears emphasizing that you would have to specifically ask them to take these actions.

Make it mobile-friendly

You want to deliver a great experience through desktop as well as mobile. Given that a greater number of queries and more general internet surfing are taking place through mobile devices than desktops, a business must absolutely ensure to optimize their website for mobile, if not create an entirely new one for this medium.

All that which looks beautiful and easy-to-use on the desktop can quickly turn into a nightmare to navigate on a much smaller screen. You don’t want your homepage to look messy — thoughtful content wrapping around images, people having to scroll down multiple times just to find out what you do, contact information missing links.

Here are some ways in which you can make your website mobile-friendly.

A remarkable homepage is a thing of joy and pride. More importantly, it is useful to visitors, which is how it benefits a business. There are so many ways in which this can be done. Depending on your business, you could use rich typography, card-style interfaces or full-screen slides. It helps to consult design trends to make your website look even better.

So, does your website have all of these essentials? If you think you are ready for a re-design or aren’t sire, contact us for a free evaluation.

 

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