Your homepage will most likely be the first point of contact a consumer has with your business. You want to make a good impression right? The difference between a good and great homepage can certainly have a significant impact on important business and website metrics like your sales and the amount of time a consumer spends on your website.
Because your homepage is usually the first point of contact, it makes this page the most important of your website. When designing (or redesigning) your website, you should probably focus a significant chunk of your time on your homepage and ensuring it includes all the important components.
Your homepage acts as a spring board for all the other pages on your website. If you have a poorly designed homepage, it may mean that users decide your website is not worth exploring any further. However, a highly professional homepage will invite users to look around and take their time exploring.
It is important that your homepage is well designed, packed with useful content and is easy to navigate. Your homepage is meant to look pretty and give the basic overview of your business and what your unique offering is. When you have a well put together homepage it leads to users exploring the deeper pages on your site.
Your homepage is also important because it can help to improve your SEO.
Search engine spiders will crawl through your homepage first. They gather the data from this page and see how relevant it is compared to certain keywords.
But the issue is bigger than this. You need to create a great homepage and include certain vital components because you will usually have only a very tiny window to make a good impression. If your homepage isn’t up to scratch users will be let down and quite possibly never return to your website again. All because you didn’t have a good design and include a couple of the must-haves!
How long do you have to make a good impression? Well, research from Tribute Media suggests that you have only about 7 seconds to woo the user before they become uninterested and leave. This means that the content and graphics you have on your homepage must be engaging and grab user’s attention quickly. If not, you will see a high bounce rate and probably not many conversions.
For every website, no matter the type of business you run or the industry you are in, there are a few staples that you must include on your homepage in order to ensure you make a good impression. Have a read below at some of the most important components to include.
If you find you haven’t included any of the below components on your homepage, you should make sure to include it quick, smart! By taking these steps you are certainly increasing the value of your website as a whole and putting the right foot forward to increasing conversions and sales.
Have a read below at the top 8 homepage must-haves:
1. Value Proposition
This is probably the most important thing you need to include on your homepage. What reason are you giving users to stay on your website and explore? You will need you give your value proposition pretty quick. As we saw above, you only have about 7 seconds.
This means that your value proposition needs to be short and sweet.
When you have a proper value proposition it quickly shows the consumer the problem you are able to solve. The proposition is meant to make the user feel more comfortable and help them realise that they can trust you. As well as this, consumers will understand that you have the ability and capability to fix their issue.
Don’t fluff around when it comes to your value proposition. Get straight to the point and explain your actual services and products. Basically you need to be as specific as possible in the shortest amount of words. I know this seems difficult. But when you master this, you are able to make an awesome impression.
2. Call to Action
Think about what the purpose of your website is – to transform a visitor into a lead. Your homepage is a very important part of this process. You cannot have the proper conversion of a visitor if you don’t include call to actions.
A call to action encourages users to get in contact with your business. Examples of a call to action button include:
- Call Now
- Get a Quote Today
- Sign Up for Exclusive Access
- Get Your Free Report Today
- Try It For Free
When designing your homepage it is important to think about the best place to put your call to action button as well as the number of call to actions you want to have on your page. Placement is crucial because if you place it too early you might scare off your visitor; and too late users may not even get that far down your homepage.
As a general rule of thumb, you should try to include one call to action above the fold.
Above the fold is the part of your homepage that visitors see before they have to start scrolling down. As well as this, it is important to remember that users may be looking at your website on either their desktop or a mobile phone. So the placement of your call to action may have to be adapted to ensure it is above the fold for both desktops and phones.
3. Contact Information
On top of your call to actions that encourage users to get in contact with you, you also need to provide your contact information. You should include basic information like your phone number, email address, business location and social media platforms. This should usually be displayed at the bottom of the homepage.
You need to make it as easy as possible for users to contact you for more information or if they have a problem. As well as your contact information featuring on the homepage, you should also include contact information in your “About Us” section.
By including all of the relevant information it puts consumers at ease. They know that if anything goes wrong, they are able to speak to someone from the business that will help them. Contact information also boosts credibility as it confirms that your business is legitimate.
This is probably a no brainer for you, so I won’t spend too much time talking about it. You should place your logo on the top left of your homepage (and probably every other webpage as well). Why the top left? Well, heat map testing tools will almost always conclude that the top left is a common place that most people look.
And you want users looking at your logo right? This helps to build branding!
It is also important to not crowd your logo. There should always be space around your logo. Users shouldn’t be confused with what is part of your logo and what is the actual design of the website. Surrounding your logo with negative space will ensure it stands out.
In saying this, your logo doesn’t have to be huge. Make sure it is the appropriate size. Having a billboard sized logo will not improve its impression. Obviously don’t have your logo so small that people can’t see it properly.
Yes you should have a blog, I have talked about this many times before. Your blog is so important that you should feature it on your homepage! It is hoped that by including links to your blog articles on your homepage, it will increase levels of engagement.
Your blog is there to showcase just how knowledgeable you are about the industry and business. When writing your blog it will improve your credibility and hopefully improve the relationship with potential customers and current customers.
So how can you showcase your blog on the homepage? There are 2 main ways to do this:
- Grid of posts – on your homepage you can link to the most popular (or most recent posts) in a grid or list form.
- Launch into your story – showcase your recent or popular posts, including the headline, opening sentences and featured photograph, then include a “Read More” link.
Your homepage visuals are probably going to be the most important pictures on your website. Quality, size, placement and amount of images are vital to creating a quality homepage that is going to leave a lasting impression on visitors.
There also needs to be a solid balance between images and content. Don’t just include pictures and nothing else. But in saying that, no one likes to read paragraphs and paragraphs of text. A good rule to follow is to never have so much text that you can’t see an image.
This means that at whatever point a visitor is at on your homepage, they should always be able to see a picture. You should look to break up your content at the right places and include relevant and engaging images. Try to steer clear of the typical stock photographs. Visitors these days can usually see right through this and they don’t find these types of pictures particularly engaging.
When including images on your homepage it is also important to think about the file size. If the file size for each image is large, it will certainly slow down the speed of your website. If your website speed is too slow visitors could leave your homepage before it even properly loads!
7. Social Proof and Customer Reviews
You should include links to your social media accounts on your homepage. This encourages visitors to add another channel of communication with your business. On your homepage you should also try to include your rating off Facebook or other social media platform.
As well as this, you should include other customer reviews and showcase case studies. By including this, you are showing potential customers that you actually have the ability to do what you say you can do. Users also tend to base their decision to choose a business or not on customer reviews. So why wouldn’t you display your best reviews on your homepage?
At the top of your homepage you should include a navigation system that is clear and easy to understand. This will do wonders to help users find what they are looking for fast. If users know what they want, the navigation needs to be clear so they can easily make their way through your website.
Your navigation links could also include drop down bars if a particular section has important sub-sections. For example if you are a tea and coffee business, your navigational links may include:
- Tea (sub-sections: black tea, green tea, white tea, iced tea, etc.)
- Coffee (sub-sections: espresso, long black, latte, cappuccino, etc.)
- About Us
- Contact Us
The design of your homepage is important because it is usually the first thing users will see on your website. You have a very limited amount of time to make an impression. This means your homepage must include a certain type of components to ensure you are able to leave a lasting impression.
Usually, there are 8 key components that are a must-have to ensure your homepage is up to scratch. Firstly, you need to have a solid value proposition. Why should a visitor choose your business? You also need call to actions. Put these in the right place to increase the chances of a visitor communicating with you.
It is important to include contact information. This means a user is able to easily get in contact with you if they have any issues or questions. Your logo should have a prominent place on your homepage. Look to include the logo on the top left corner.
Information about your blog should also be included on your homepage. It will help to increase engagement and credibility. Pictures are also important to include on your homepage. However, make sure you keep the file size to a minimum so you don’t jeopardise the speed of your website.
Social proof and customer reviews are needed to showcase that your business can provide a quality service/ product. Lastly, you need to ensure your navigation links are set up in a way that is easy to understand. You may also need to include sub-sections if relevant.
Charlotte is a digital marketing and communications practitioner at SEO Shark. She takes on a range of roles relating to SEO and has a keen interest in studying the SEO industry and its future direction, particularly in relation to content marketing. Charlotte takes her writing very seriously and always seeks ensure the content she produces is of a high standard of quality.