by Kristal Reagan
Homepage: This is the overview of your business and website. Much like the inside cover of a book that contains an excerpt, you want your website to intrigue visitors so that they stay and read and browse for more information. If you don’t get their attention right away they will keep searching by moving on. Your home page should clearly communicate what you do and how visitors will benefit from your product or services. It should also have clear direction and motives for what you want them to do.
1. Make the most of your homepage:
- Branded logo/Header-Communicates your business personality and reflects what your business offers
- Simple Navigation-this should be a guide (like a table of contents) so they know where to find your key components and offerings
- Content and Copy-this is the text that makes up your homepage. You don’t want it to be cluttered with words but you do need to precisely describe your business and offerings while still being as short as possible and using keyword-rich text for better SEO.
- Images-Use images and videos that are relatable to your target market. They need to strike a chord with them and the images and videos you use should be in line with your business.
2. Clearly Communicate the Action you want Visitors to take: (what do you want visitors to do when they get to your site)
- Make it clear the action you want visitors to take. Make sure this is front and center. If your main objective is to get their email address so you can stay in touch more frequently with them make this bold! Consider putting a free offer in exchange for their email address in your header (opt-in). Don’t be afraid to ask more than once within your copy, in the middle, and at the end.
- Provide an easy way to take the path you want them to take. Sort of like following the yellow brick road. Use feature blocks and call-to-action buttons in more than one place. Remember it takes 7 times for something to be ingrained in our brains so keep asking without being obnoxious.
3. Clearly Communicate your business and what you do. When someone comes to your site do they know without any doubt what you do? Several components will help communicate your message to visitors:
- Your Logo: does it do a good job of communicating your business and what you do?
- Do your images and video effectively communicate what you do? Don’t use random images just to feel space. Use videos, testimonials from clients, and consider taking photos yourself of you working in action, or your product, etc.
- Make sure you communicate your business model before the scroll point.
- Your navigation/menu labels should reflect your business model and grab the visitor’s attention so that they want to click and learn more. This is called micro-copy (small bits of text that help tie a site together). Don’t be vague and use only the word “Services” be more specific and use “Web Design Services”.
- You want to engage the visitor with content, not bore them. Make sure you are using text, images, and videos to capture their attention to keep them reading. Use action words like “Buy”, “Register”, and “Subscribe” alongside text that creates urgency, like “Limited Time”, “Before December 31st” and so forth.
Make sure you know what you want out of your website and what you want visitors to get out of it when they visit. If people have to guess who and what you are and what they are supposed to do when they get to your site, they won’t….they’ll just leave. Make your objective obvious. Are you selling a product or service? Once you know what you want from your website it’s much easier to configure the layout to flow the way you want.
You also need to think about what your target market wants. When they get to your website what do they expect? What do they want? The best way to find this out is to take a poll and ask them! Once you know the content they seek and how they function you’ll know how to make your website function. It’s also a good idea to search and visit sites of like businesses and see how what you like and what you don’t. Don’t dig deep make it quick and spend five minutes on at least 3 like sites. Decide what you’d like and then make changes to your site.
Last, always experiment! If something is not working for you change the wording a bit. For instance, change buy now to order now. Change colors, font sizing, forms, placement, etc. Keep your target market in mind and how they think, what gets them to take action. That will be different for different target markets so make sure you are asking your clients to evaluate your site for you and ask for their suggestions.