Your homepage is the most important web page on your site. It’s the one that the vast majority of your online visitors will see first. It acts as your virtual front door, your online business card. Remember, you won’t get a second chance to make a great impression. If a new visitor doesn’t like what they see on your home page, their first reaction will be to hit the “back” button and move to the next site in their search engine results.
OK, so you got their attention. But it takes more than looks alone — it also has to work well. That’s why the best sites aren’t just great looking, but they also include the following design “Must Haves”:
- Clearly answer who you are and what you do
Visitors need to know that they have landed on the right site. One that will service their needs or solve their problems. You have less than 10 seconds to get this point across.
- Use appropriate calls-to-action (CTA) in the right spots
A call to action is an instruction to the visitor intended to provoke an immediate response, usually using a phrase such as “call now”, “find out more”, “sign up here”, or “visit our store now”. This is usually delivered using an eye-catching graphic or font.
- Include a compelling value-proposition
Tell your visitors why they should notice you and take the action you’re asking for. Let them know you have what they need and that you can help resolve the reason they are here.
- Optimize for mobile devices
With mobile traffic continually increasing, mobile friendly design provides a greater user experience. One can visit a particular site using any device and still have a great viewing experience.
- Update frequently
Search engines like updated websites – Search engines record how often you update your website. The more you update your website, the more they will rank its web pages, and the more people will find you on search engines.
As indicated in #1, you have 10 seconds (or less) to hold the attention of your visitor. A well-designed home page builds trust, communicates value, and compels visitors to take the next step. Who are your best customers? What kind of presentation would seem “right” to these particular people and attract them to you? These questions can open the door to designing more effective websites that appeal more specifically to your target audience.
Great home pages effectively use layout, clear navigation, CTA placement, whitespace, images, videos, colors, fonts, and other supporting elements to attract and keep online visitors.
Designing your website is a critically important task. One that many businesses sadly don’t put enough emphasis on. Make sure you invest the appropriate time, money and effort into making your website the best marketing tool that you possibly can. After all, your business may depend on it.