Home, sweet home.
Whether you’re starting a website redesign or developing your business’s website for the first time, it’s almost certain that no page is more critical than your homepage. Whether your potential customers find your website on organic search, through PPC advertising or from your business card, the homepage is their main door into your business. Make it great and maybe they’ll hang their coat up and stay long enough to hear your story.
So what makes a great landing page? How can you lower your bounce rate and increase conversions? We’ll take a look at seven essential elements every homepage should have in 2014. We’ve featured the website below, which was designed for Heather White as an example.
This is obvious but often one that is quickly overlooked. We summarized the importance of great branding last week, and with a homepage it’s important to consider that visitors may be seeing your brand for the very first time. Consider the presentation for a fresh set of eyes and make sure your brand (along with your company’s name) is clear and speaks kindly of you.
Again, keeping in mind that customers will find you for the first time through your website, never forget to include a clear description of your primary product or service. Within seconds, someone new to your business should understand what you do and why they should care though your website. There are many way to accomplish this, but a clear tagline tends to be the most effective.
Whatever your business may be, your homepage design should speak to the universal fact that our brains process visual information much much faster than text. Capture your potential customer’s interest and imagination with images that set the right mood for your message. Avoid cheesy stock images, because really we’ve all seen these too many times. Visuals can be abstract even if your message shouldn’t be.
Whether you’re looking to be thought leader or just let people know you run a legitimate business, supporting your content with tangible accomplishments is a must for establishing trust. A design can take you very far in communicating the value of your business, but testimonials and examples of successful projects fill the gap for anyone questioning your experience. Particularly if your website is new, your business can benefit from putting these elements front and centre.
A clear path to get in touch
Gone are the days of contact information hidden in a footer or under your “about” page. Keep in mind that your window to capture a customer is now very short, and up to half of your visitors may be on a mobile device. Don’t make getting in touch an easter egg hunt, and make sure getting your contact information on a smartphone doesn’t require zooming in 200%. Use a clear title for your contact page (“Contact” is actually ideal) and make sure the link has a prominent place on your homepage. If it makes sense visually, including your phone number directly on the homepage is great too.
A call to action
It’s critical that your website design addresses at least one specific goal. In many cases, this may be getting visitors to your contact information, but it could also be having visitors sign up for a newsletter, register an account to your e-commerce store or, accessing another strategic page. Ensure the path is clear and help guide visitors with clear and enthusiastic language. “Sign up today!” may seem unnecessary, but countless studies have proven that an apathetic homepage design will likely bounce to the moon.
Your social links
If your business is on social media (as it likely should be), it’s critical to include clear links to all of your active channels. Not everyone has time to review your website fully, and a ‘like’ on Facebook or a follow on Twitter might be more valuable anyways. Make it easy for people to connect on social media and they’ll likely return to your website too.
There are always exceptions (and we love creative websites that challenge the norm) however the formula above is what works for most business most often, and we strongly recommend starting here.
So, what’s missing from your homepage? Get in touch for a free website audit — we’d really love to help!