Your website's homepage is often the first page a user sees so it's important it has the right content to help them complete the actions you want them to.
Your website's homepage is important, of that there's no doubt, but it's not the only way into your website given how search engines are able to find and direct users to pages deeper in the site and how any of your pages can be shared and linked to on social media.
However, I'm yet to view an analytics dashboard that didn't show the homepage as the most visited page so getting the right content on your homepage is key to helping your visitors complete the tasks you want them to, be that buying a product, downloading a brochure, booking a service or making an enquiry.
1. Explain what you do and why your site visitors should use you
Think of this as your classic elevator pitch. I've landed on your site and I'm giving you ten seconds to tell me what you do and why I should use you rather than one of your competitors. If you don't, I'll become confused and frustrated and rather than spending time finding out exactly what it is you do I'll just go back to whatever search engine I came from and click your competitors links until I find a site that can explain it to me.
The key to this is keeping it simple. It doesn't need to be competing with War & Peace in the word count stakes, in fact the shorter the better. A good example for a web design company such as ourselves would be: We build original, dynamic and innovative websites and web applications. It's short, sweet and to the point. Perfect!
2. Clearly signpost the main actions you want site visitors to complete
Once your users understand the services or products you provide the next most important thing is to direct them to the means of booking, purchasing or finding out more about said service or product.
A nice, big, blatantly obvious 'call to action' is what's needed here. Something like: Tell us about your project - which is exactly what we use to encourage visitors to our site to get in touch. Or, if you were a private gym, for example, it could be: Sign up for our 30 day trial for just £30.
Here you can use design and typography to make your call to action really stand out and grab the user's attention and leave them in no doubt that this is the number-one task you want them to complete now that you have them captivated by your wonderful website.
3. Highlight positive testimonials and reviews
These days, so many of our decisions online are based on what others thought of a product or service. I can't remember the last time I didn't buy the highest rated item on Wiggle or Amazon, especially if it's a product or service I've not used or bought before and so only have others' recommendations to go by.
These habits learnt at the major online outlets become part of our online behaviour for all sites and so if you have glowing testimonials or 5 star reviews from clients then shout about them because it might just be the thing the separates you from your competitors.
4. Show the biggest companies you work with
Users will often base a decision on the strength of your clients simply because they aspire to be like those organisations. If you've provided services or products to household names - or even names that those in your industry sector have a great deal of respect for - then let the world know. Your site visitors will then apply the simple logic of "If it's good enough for Apple/Google/Coca-Cola (delete as appropriate) then it's good enough for me".
It seems simple and even a little silly but we all do it - potential customers validate their decision to use you or not on the strength of the businesses that have and so it can be incredibly powerful tool in your approach to online marketing.
5. Make it easy for your site visitors to contact you
We all hate spending time trawling a website looking for an email address or telephone number so that we can raise an issue or send a question to a human. So make getting in touch with you easy by clearly displaying your contact details and, if you have one, a link to your contact form.
Showing that you're a real business with a real address and easy to find contact details helps to reassure visitors that you are a genuine and honest company that won't disappear overnight along with their hard-earned money.
By welcoming enquiries from your users you can build a relationship and it's that relationship that will bring customers back to you time and time again so it's a relatively simple thing that can end up creating loyal customers for life.
So there we have it, my top five items to display when creating a gold-plated website homepage. But it doesn't end there. The beauty of any website is that it can change and evolve in line with your customers and business goals so don't be afraid to tinker with your homepage until you find a formula that works for you.
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