Dos and Don'ts of Designing a Winning Homepage + free worksheet!
In today’s post, I’m talking about the VIP – Very Important Page – of your website. It’s your homepage!
The biggest mistake I see many small business owners make with their website is neglecting the page that can have a huge impact on how quickly visitors become acquainted with a brand and how long visitors will stick around.
The homepage is like the front door to your website. You have the opportunity to create a space that is welcoming, friendly, and informative—it’s like someone knocks on your door and you answer with a warm smile and “mi casa es su casa” vibe. Having a great homepage makes your visitors feel comfortable, gives a winning first impression, and encourages them to go on a tour of your home and learn more about you.
So, with that visual in mind, put yourself in your visitors’ shoes. What do you want to know when you land on a business’s site for the first time? What makes the user experience a positive and memorable one? What are things that pique your curiosity and make you want to explore and learn more?
With those ideas firmly in your mind, let’s dive into tips for designing a winning homepage! And don’t miss the opt-in at the end of the post.
TIPS for DESIGNING A WINNING HOMEPAGE
Before we talk about what makes a great homepage, let’s quickly run over the common mistakes I see, and the things you don’t want to do when designing your homepage.
1 | The MIA Homepage
The most obvious no-no in the case of creating a homepage is dismissing it entirely. You’re missing the opportunity to help guide visitors and give them a place to return to after exploring different parts of your site. If you don’t have a dedicated homepage for first-time visitors, then first step for you is to go create one.
2 | Ambiguous information
The second biggest no-no besides is having a homepage but only giving your visitors obscure clues as to what your business is. You don’t want people clicking around your site just because they’re trying to figure out who the heck you are and what the heck you do. The mystery element isn’t going to give a good first impression or convert first-time visitors into faithful fans and clients.
3 | Unclear Directions
When you land on many homepages, it’ll often just have photos or a brief description of the business. This isn’t leveraging the potential a homepage offers to give directions and options for different clearcut paths visitors can take. Don’t make the mistake of forcing your visitor to figure it out on their own or making it difficult to find what they’re looking for. A dead-end on a page is a missed opportunity to share cool content, get someone signed up for your email list, and more.
Ultimately, you want to make the experience as easy and memorable (in a good way!) for your visitors. You don’t want to make them work too hard to figure out who you are and if you’re the right person for the job. If you make things too difficult or frustrating to find, people will leave your site and you’ll lose the opportunity to show someone how awesome your business is.
Now that you know what to avoid when crafting your homepage, let’s talk about what you should include to keep the attention of visitors and cause them to take action.
1 | Say it loud, say it proud
Your homepage is often the first contact someone has with your site, so be sure to clearly state what your business is about, who you serve, and how you serve them. By including concise and to-the-point copy (that of course is written in a way that injects the personality of your brand) you’re letting someone know they’re in the right place.
2 | Call to Action
Since the homepage is the place you can provide a total overview of your business, it’s the perfect place for call to actions (also referred to as CTAs). So, what do you want your visitor to do when they land on your site? Perhaps you want them to read your latest blog post, or you want them to learn more about your services, or you want them to receive a really awesome opt-in by signing up for your newsletter. Whatever response or action you want them to take be sure to make it clear with easy-to-understand copy and make it visible with buttons that encourage clicking.
3 | Brand Consistency
As with any page on your website you need to keep your homepage on-brand. Your branding is much more than design elements (but those are important too!)—it’s your style and tone of writing, it’s the style of photographs you use. By keeping your branding consistent in the design (logo, colors, fonts, icons/illustrations), that gives a great first impression and will resonate with your target audience/ideal client. Letting that trickle down into the copy creates a cohesive and seamless experience that someone won’t forget anytime soon.
Taking into consideration the points from above, also keep in mind that the information you’re including on your homepage should be displayed in a logical order. For example, don’t tell people to “Click to Learn More” about your services if they don’t even know what your business is about and who your services were created for.
Also remember that the homepage is an overview. Include the high points of your site that are important for visitors to learn about and take action on. Since the information you’re providing is meant to be an overview and encourage exploration, keep it short and to the point. If they’re interested in learning more, they’ll go to the page with more info. Pique their interest and then tell them where to go next (Bonus Tip: do this on every page of your site, not just your homepage).
Well, there you have it: my tips for designing a winning homepage for your website. I hope you’ll head over to your site to do a quick audit of your homepage and make some adjustments to encourage your visitors to stick around and hang out in your online home. If you need some more help with building your homepage, then download the worksheet below!