The homepage is one of the most popular pages of any website. Of course, we have the about page, landing pages and the contact page, which can be pretty popular depending on how you set it up all. At the same time, the internet is a really busy place and competition is stiff. For this very reason, the homepage you build for your clients and personal projects should stand out from the crowd, to attract and retain prospects. First impressions my friend, first impressions.
Elements Of A Homepage
In today’s post, we will cover the ten (10) most-important elements of the perfect homepage. By the end of this post, you should be able to build attractive homepages that convert prospects into ready-to-buy customers. Enjoy and share your thoughts with us at the end!
Answer the Three (3) Main W’s
Right off the bat, your website should answer the three (3) W’s: who you are; what you do; and what the prospect can (or should) do on your site. Combine design elements and content to answer these questions clearly and as quickly as possible.
Your web visitor should not be left to wonder; answering these queries will assure your customers they are in the right place. They are assured of solutions.
Adopt Mobile-First Design
In this time and era, you can’t expect to do much online business without a mobile friendly website that caters to the mobile demographic. Your homepage needs to look amazing on mobile devices to capture the attention of mobile users. Adopt responsive web design techniques and build a homepage (and website) that adapts to every screen width – big or small. An un-optimized website will drive mobile users away, which means you will be leaving a lot of money on the table.
Spot a Professional Design
Nobody is going to take your website hence business seriously if your homepage looks like it was built by a fifth (5th) grader. Great design is pivotal in creating the right “vibes” around your business. Everything from the colors to fonts to graphics and more should work together to create an eye-catching and professional homepage. Use high definition and relevant visuals as well as plenty of white space to create an engaging experience for your users.
Building a homepage without clear and concise navigation is just like asking your users to venture out to sea without a map or even a compass. You will only confuse (and bore) your readers since they won’t know what to do or where to go next. Provide links to important content on your navigation bars but keep thinks simple and straight to the point. If you can, highlight the most-important menu items e.g. services/benefits. A great navigation system will decrease bounce rates and provide a richer user experience as well as unobstructed access to the rest of your website. Don’t forget to add links to a resource center or blog where users can learn more about your products, company etc.
Calls to Action (CTA’s)
The homepage is the best page to place your calls to action (CTA’s). Well designed and clearly displayed CTA’s will encourage your web visitors to dig deeper into your website or take a desired action, in turn increasing your conversions. Add a maximum of three (3) CTA’s above the fold and about two (2) at the bottom of your homepage.
Add Customer Proof and Success Indicators
Which is the best way to show prospects your products and services work? Show them customer proof and success indicators. What’s customer proof and success indicators? Customer proof comprises of client raves, reviews, case studies and testimonials. Display a few of these on your homepage creatively and much of the work is done. Add real names and corresponding photos (and links if you must) to your testimonials to make them real and more credible.
On to success indicators. Displaying awards, sponsors, As Seen On, and other forms of recognitions on your homepage will create a good first impression immediately. Moreover, they will entice customers to do business with you, since many well-known businesses think you’re worth your salt.
A Descriptive Headline
The headline is probably the most important element of any
perfect effective homepage. This is because it (the headline) summaries the entire purpose of the website (read homepage) in a single statement, letting the user know if they should leave or stick around. Your headline should inform your web visitors what your website offers in a matter of seconds. The pressure to compress your mission in one statement might be too much, but remember to keep your headline short and simple. No jargon please.
Outline Your Key Features and Benefits
What features do your products or services provide? What does a web design package in the range of $500 to $750 bucks offer? Outline these features clearly on your homepage alongside the benefits of dealing with you. Prospects need to know why they should choose your products as soon as they get to your website. This is the time to show off your selling points. You can link your key features to detailed feature pages that explain each feature in detail. Just make sure you don’t disrupt the buying cycle in your bid to provide more information. Be creative, the technology has provided the options.
Provide Audience-centric Content
Your homepage will only be effective if you target a specific demographic. This means you must understand and define your target audience from the onset of the design process/project. You should tune your homepage to speak to your target audience in a language and style they will resonate with. You simply can’t be all things to all people – it will backfire and leave you with a bad taste in the mouth.
Add Social Sharing Icons
The more traffic you can pull to your website, the better. Ensure your homepage spots beautiful social media icons in a prominent area to encourage social sharing. If it’s popular, social media sharing can only make it more popular, which is alright by all means. Adding social sharing buttons to any website shouldn’t be a challenge what with an unlimited supply of plugins and publicly available API’s.
BONUS: Add a Mailing List + Content Offer
According to Hubspot.com, “…approximately 96% of the visitors to your website are not ready to buy.” Where does this horde of people go after “not-buying”? They probably click the back button since there is nothing else to get from your site. Don’t let them go away, capture these leads with a mailing list, keep them close and slowly convert them into ready-to-buy and loyal customers via email marketing. Make sure your sign up forms are attractive. In addition, you can offer a gift (content offer such an eBook or guide) to encourage sign ups.
Looks like I need to add a few of these elements to my own homepage; a design refresh is way long overdue but that aside. Your homepage is the most important part of your website and it can make or break your business. Armed with these eleven (11) elements, you’re ready to take your homepage(s) to new heights. Did I leave out an important design element for the perfect homepage? Does the perfect homepage even exist? Let us know in the comments below. Happy designing!