Whether you are designing a new website or overhauling an existing one, your homepage is a good place to start since it drives the bulk of your traffic. You never get a second chance to make a first impression so what you include on there will determine how effectively your visitors will convert. Your homepage needs to drive traffic, generate leads and educate visitors. Here are some critical items that you must include on your homepage to be successful.
A great logo creates a stellar first impression, attracts customers and shows credibility and professionalism. Your website design must complement your logo with appropriate images, colors typography and graphical elements which is why it is so important that a strong logo design be created first. This may seem like common sense but many small business owners shopping for a website often just say “leave the upper left corner blank.” A logo is not just the name of your company written in a nice font coupled with some clipart. Here is some advice for powerful logo design.
Your headline should clearly state what you have to offer in 6 –12 simple words. It is impossible to please everyone so define your target market and write for the visitors who are most likely to find your products or services useful, easily attracted to your website and most likely to try out your stuff.
Your introduction should describe what you do or offer and address your target’s audience’s pain points. Try to keep it short and simple so that the content is scannable. It should entice and warm up your visitors and not just say, “welcome to our site” or sell them right away.
A call-to-action guides your visitor and instructs them what to do next. Your CTA needs to entice your prospects to click by using persuasive text, being action-oriented, stand out and create a sense of urgency. Whether it’s to browse your products, subscribe to your blog, demo your product or register for a webinar, it is crucial to keep your primary call-to-action above the fold.
Original Videos & Images
If your budget permits, hire a videographer to create a 60-90 second branding video for your homepage. A professional video significantly increases website engagement and exhibits what you do best. You should also include images of your customers experiencing your products or services instead of using cliché stock photos. There is nothing worse than using a $10 stock image of two businessmen shaking hands.
Features & Services
You might want to include a list of services or product features to better educate your visitors about what you have to offer. This kind of content can also help you rank higher in Google if you write with your SEO keywords in mind.
Your value proposition tells your visitors why they should buy your product or use your service and how it benefits them. It explains how your product or service solves their problems better than your competitors’ offerings. It should instantly communicate value and avoid jargon.
Testimonials & Social Proof
Customer testimonials or social proof can establish trust and greatly influence buying decisions. Social proof is when people act like others around them to reflect the appropriate behavior in ambiguous situations. Testimonials can include customer experiences, case studies, customer photos and quotes or video reviews.
With the exponential rise in mobile users, it is important to keep your navigation simple and intuitive. Opt for longer web pages instead of dropdowns and minimize top menu items as much as possible. If your website is more than a few pages, include a search box to help your visitors find exactly what they want.
You can implement a secondary call-to-action below the fold to give people who were not interested in your primary objective something to click on as they scroll down.
Recent News or Blog Highlights
Displaying recent posts can boost SEO, develop relationships with visitors, establish your business as an industry leader, humanize your brand and create opportunities for sharing.
Portfolio or Resources
If you provide services, you might want to link to your portfolio that showcases your best work. If you sell products, you might want to link to your resource center to convert those who are not ready to buy yet but want to learn more.
Awards or Recognitions
Highlighting awards or recognitions build credibility and trust. If your company has won something, be sure to advertise it on your homepage.
Social Media Links
Social media is important to your website’s SEO because it shows search engines that you engage with your followers by regularly posting fresh content. It shows that you want to give your content the best chance at going viral. It shows that you want to know what your customers think and respond to their feedback and reviews. A strong social media presence instills trust and credibility in your brand. If your company is active on social media, be sure to include your social media links to further build your following.
If you have an existing website, you might want to conduct some keyword research first to see which terms are generating the most leads. Google Adwords has a Keyword Planner Tool to show you which terms your customers are using to find you. Although we always recommend writing for your target market first to avoid sounding spammy, you should always naturally incorporate your keywords into your website content to rank well organically. Please contact us to receive complimentary SEO keyword research for your website.
Although this list of homepage must-haves can be daunting, it is not exhaustive. These elements are what have worked well for our San Francisco website design clients in our 12 years of developing WordPress websites. Remember to put things on your homepage that inspire your visitors to want more, not less.