Your website homepage is the digital equivalent of the traditional shopfront. It, therefore, needs to be inviting, informative and engaging, all whilst catering to the needs of a diverse customer base who are likely to be at different stages in the conversion funnel. As the saying goes, you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression, so a well designed, functional homepage is paramount in ensuring the success of your website. Research suggests the first impression of a website is conceived in 50 milliseconds, so you really haven’t got long to make it count! However, if you follow the 6 steps below, you should be well on your way to hitting that home run.
1. Consider the 3 ‘W’s
Your homepage should outline who you are as a business, why the user will be interested and should clearly demarcate where the user needs to go in order to progress to the next stage of the funnel. Highlighting the benefits of your business to the user will keep them engaged and make them more likely to linger on your homepage or explore other pages on your site (and hopefully eventually convert!). Once you have caught their attention with the plus points of what you’re offering, make sure your Calls-to-Action are above the fold so that the user need not scroll before finding what they are looking for. They should be easily identifiable and address users at different stages of the funnel.
2. Simplify your Navigation
User experience is fundamental to your homepage design. The aim of the page is to solve the user’s problem and it must do so in a clearly navigable manner or the user is likely to become impatient and click-off the page. As I said at the beginning of this article, your homepage is like the traditional shop front, so your homepage navigation is akin to the door to that shop, without it, your customer won’t be able to find their in and benefit from what your site as a whole has to offer. Ideally, the navigation menu will always be visible at the top of the page, preferably with a search box included. It can be easy to become desensitized to the user experience when you have been working on a site for a while, so make sure to perform user tests to ensure your page really is as easily navigable as you think!
3. Include Visual Aids
The overwhelming majority of people prefer the visual to the written, therefore a pertinent visual aid demonstrating what you offer is essential on your homepage. If you opt for an image, make sure it is emotive and will encourage conversion. You could go one step further and include a video, as recent studies have shown the rise of video marketing and its impressive effectiveness, for example: adding video to a landing page can increase conversion by 80%!
4. Afford your site Credibility
84% of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, therefore including quotations from satisfied customers on your homepage can be an excellent way to increase the trust new site users feel towards your business. The human element of a site also greatly affects credibility, so if possible putting a face to a name by adding photos to these testimonies can boost trust and get you one step closer to that all-important conversion! Likewise, if you have won any awards, make your successes visually prominent to further inspire user confidence.
5. Make it Mobile Responsive
More searches are now performed on mobile than on desktop, therefore having a mobile site that is not just mobile friendly, but that affords the user the same experience they would get on a desktop is essential to keep traffic coming to your homepage, as Google rewards those sites that are built responsively. This will not only boost traffic but will decrease bounce rate as consumers are much more likely to stay on a page with a seamless mobile user experience, in fact, 40% will choose another site if this is not the case.
6. Choose your Website Builder Carefully
The above factors function as a checklist for a practical and aesthetically pleasing homepage. In order to turn the theory into a reality, you will need to choose a website builder appropriate for your needs and budget. The best strategy is to weigh up all your options thoroughly before taking the plunge, thinking about the functionality not only of your homepage but of your site as a whole, for example the types of pages you will need on your site, whether or not you would like to allow multiple site editors or the kind of support you might need when creating it.