While it isn’t really recommended to judge a book by its cover, many of us still do, right? And in the same respect, many more of us judge a website by its homepage. A homepage should be something that welcomes visitors and gives them a reason to stay a while as well as come again.
Is your homepage doing that? Or is it behaving more like National Lampoon’s Cousin Eddie? Read on to find out what experts recommend as the key components to a high performing homepage.
A Clear Headline & Intro
You know what you do and why you do it, but do your visitors? Does your homepage answer those two questions in a clever, attractive and professional way? Does it display your logo and branding elements?
Your homepage should clearly define your mission with words and visual support. If it doesn’t, one way to draw attention to that message is with a “hero section.” A hero section typically lives directly beneath the navigation bar and consists of one large image or a slideshow to give visitors an at-a-glance understanding of your website.
Original & High-Quality Images
As tempting as it is to use a bunch of sparkling fresh images from a stock photography site, most experts recommend limiting their presence to as little as possible. Your site should be a unique, personalized expression of your business. If you don’t already have personalized images that capture you and your twist on what you offer, get in touch with a local photographer. Authentic images communicate a sense of integrity – it will be well worth the investment.
Also, make sure your images are all optimized so that they aren’t slowing down your site. Nothing sends visitors running like a slow load. Your content management system may already have a plug-in to automatically optimize all your images—we recommned the WP-Smush plugin for compressing images on WordPress. Do a little research on your website software to ensure you’re using all the resources it has to offer.
Main Services or Products you Offer
Make it as easy as possible for your visitor to see what you offer. Highlight your main products or services on your homepage with direct links to get more information. What are your top sellers and why? Be cutthroat about which images and words you use to communicate about your products and services. Less is more when trying to capture a first-time visitor’s attention. Consider the best way to display what you offer; try to create a visual narrative. Some popular formatting options include:
- Benefits section
- Offer/Lead Magnet
Does your homepage give your visitors a clear sense of why they can trust you? This is not the time to be humble about your achievements or work ethic. Give your visitors proof that you are offering them an opportunity they can be proud of taking! Be sure to clearly display social proof in the following areas:
- Examples of your work/portfolio
- Customer testimonials/reviews
- List of awards
- Companies you work with
All of these things help boost your authority and gain visitor trust. But be sure to limit the social proof to just a handful of solid elements. Too much more and it may just seem like an oversell. Read more about how to build trust with your website’s visitors here in this LR Design & Marketing post.
And never forget the contact information! Make it incredibly simple for visitors and potential clients to get in touch with you. Depending on the type of business or service your site offers, your homepage can share your contact information in one of two ways. One way would be to place it within the main navigation bar. A second option would be to have a contact form.
Consider searching out 2-3 other websites that sell comparable goods or services and see how they display their contact information. There may be an industry standard that you discover through that little bit of research.
Make your Homepage Stand Out
The good news is that a visitor to your homepage is already there – now you just have to work on keeping them there! You believe in your mission and now you get the opportunity to share why everyone else can, too.
And this is just the beginning! We have dozens of other resources not only in our blog but also in the services we offer here at LR Design and Marketing that can really make your whole web presence stand out. Contact us today to find out more!
Article written by Emily Krill, Editor & Content Specialist