Want people to stick around on your website for a while? All you have to do is engage them quickly on your home page! OK, so that is easier said than done – but it can be done.
Here are 8 rules successful home pages follow:
- Content is written in plain English
This is the first and most important when it comes to anything content-related, but it’s especially important that you follow it on your home page.
I don’t care how technical your audience is – DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT use jargon, SAT words, or complex, overly long sentences anywhere, at any time, for any reason.
If you wouldn’t say something at a cocktail party with a bunch of friends and neighbors, do not say it on your website.
- A bold and crystal-clear sentence or two introduces who you are
This can be hard to do, but it’s really important that you write a completely straightforward sentence that explains who you are/what you do – and it should be the first thing a website visitor sees when they land on your home page.
Really dig down to the essence of what you do. Your goal is to simplify it to the point that when you tell your grandmother or a 5th grader, they both understand it.
- Your value proposition is front and center
Your value proposition can either be a subhead to your main introduction, or it can stand on its own. Either way, you need to tell website visitors how you make their lives easier. What challenges do you solve – and, if relevant, how do you solve them better?
- Your top services or products are highlighted.
Far too many small businesses bury their top products and services in their website Or worse, they don’t list them at all because they’re too busy to update their website (I won’t even get into the crazy number of opportunities they are likely throwing out the window – it makes me too sad to think about it).
Pick your top one, two, or three products or services, and highlight them on your home page with an image, quick blurb about what they are and why they’re so great, and a link to another page where a website visitor can learn more.
- There is tons of white space
The cleaner your home page design, the easier it will be for your website visitor to focus on the messages you want them to read – who you are, your value proposition – and actions you want them to take – learn more about your top services or products, sign up for your newsletter, etc.
I hate to call out a big company that I like, but UPS’s home page totally violates this rule. Where am I supposed focus my attention when I land on this page? Any ideas?
- Navigation is clear-cut
A couple of years ago, it was trendy to have two or three navigation bars – one on top, one on the left, and one on the bottom. News flash: numerous navigation bars are confusing. Unless you are a Fortune 500 company, one navigation bar will suffice.
- Calls-to-action pop
The easiest way to get people to do something while on your home page comes down to one super-basic rule: Your calls-to-action need to stand out. Use a contrasting color on a button and tell your visitor what to do: Learn more, buy now, sign up for a free trial, download the app, etc.
- It changes and evolves over time
Your website is a living, breathing digital thing that will naturally change over time as your business grows and evolves. Make sure your home page stays up-to-date by adding that new, top-selling service or highlighting an upcoming event.
Did I miss anything? What else should successful home pages include?
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