WHAT SHOULD YOU HAVE ON OUR HOME PAGE, AND WHY?
When it comes to your website, the home page is crucial. It’s the first thing that visitors will see, and it needs to make a good impression. But what exactly should you put on your home page? There is no magic formula, but there are a few key elements that every successful home page should have.
Oh and before we dive in, if you’re in website planning mode, you’ll probably want to grab our Ultimate Website Planner. Our planner is jam-packed with support that will help you budget, prepare and plan for your website. PLUS it includes worksheets and tips to help you sort your navigation and pages, source your images, create the right content and find the right people to help you.
It’s valued at A$49, but we’re giving it to you for free because we want to make the process of planning your site as smooth and stress-free as possible. Download your planner here.
Let’s take a look at the home page first…
What should visitors to your website see first?
There’s some prime real estate on your website, and we use an old newspaper term to describe it. ‘Above the fold’ describes what you can see on a folded newspaper when it’s sitting on the shelves, but it’s also used to describe the area of your home page that visitors will see without scrolling.
- A strong headline that sums up what your website is all about
- A brief description of what you do, and who you do it for – your visitor should know within a few seconds if your product or service solves a problem that they have. You can do this with what marketers call an ‘elevator pitch’. An elevator pitch is a short, sharp explanation of what you do that is designed to grab attention and create interest. For example, ours is “………”
- If you service a particular area (for example, the Gold Coast, Brisbane, or Byron Bay), make sure you pop it in the top section to let people know they’ve come to the right place. A location statement will likely help your SEO too so if you don’t include it in your heading make sure it is included in your first paragraph.
- A photo or video that helps to tell your story. Bonus points if this is a photo of you working your magic. When people see you, they know they are dealing with a real person and it helps inspire trust and confidence.
- You might like to include a call to action (or CTA) – this is what you want your visitors to do next. Do you want them to sign up for a free trial? Buy a product? Contact you for more information? if so, make it easy for them to take the next step.
So what should you put in this sweet spot? Here are some ideas to get you started.
What then? A quick overview so your audience can get to know you at a glance.
You also want to give visitors a quick overview of what they can expect to find on the rest of your site. Think of the rest of your home page as a little tasting platter of what is on offer. You might include a paragraph or two about yourself, and start to tell the story behind your business. You might write a paragraph about each of your services with a button that links to that page, or you might show your best-selling products or a stunning portfolio of your work.
If you have any stats or testimonials that help to show off your credibility, make sure they are included on the home page. These can be in the form of customer reviews, media mentions, awards, or anything else that helps to show that you are an authority in your field. This is what we call social proof. Despite how fabulous you are, generally, people are not inclined to take you at your word alone. Testimonials from happy customers help to show that you are someone worth doing business with.
The icing on the cake would be to offer something that keeps the relationship going. Your website visitor might not be ready to buy or book right away – they might like to dip their toes in the water and have a little swish around first If you can offer your visitors a freebie or ‘opt-in’, preferably one good enough to entice them on to your email list, you’ll be leaving a little calling card for next time they are thinking about your product or service. It’s also just nice to be able to share your knowledge and help another business owner out with a little bit of your expertise – they’ll likely remember you for it, and it may be the start of something bigger.
What about my website headers and footers?
Your home page is not the only important page on your site. Every page needs to have certain elements to make sure it is optimised for search engines and is easy for visitors to use. Optimizing website pages for mobiles and devices means they will look great and work beautifully on any screen and can improve your chances of being found by potential customers. A well-designed, fast-loading, secure website can boost your SEO (search engine optimisation) and help you to rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPS), which in turn can lead to more traffic and inquiries for your business.
Showing off your Brand
You’ve worked hard to build your brand, so make sure it is front and centre on your home page. Use the same colours, fonts, and logos that you use on your other marketing materials, such as business cards and social media. If you have a Brand Guidelines document created by a professional designer, use this to create something beautiful. Consistency will help people to recognise you wherever they see you, and it will make you look professional and trustworthy.
If you’re not sure how to incorporate your brand into your home page design, talk to a professional web designer. They will be able to help you create a home page that is on-brand and on-message.
That’s the words – what about images?
On your home page, and across your whole website, try to use professional, high-quality photos that show your brand’s personality. We absolutely love it when clients invest in getting a Brand Photoshoot done (read this post about how to get the most out of a Branding Photo Session). Your images are really going to set the tone and feel of your entire site, and working with a professional will mean you also have amazing content for your socials and marketing material.
If you do need to use some stock photos here and there, make sure you have the correct licenses and permissions for commercial use (no, you can’t legally use any images you find online). Look for Creative Commons Licensing, or purchase a commercial license from the stock company or photographer. We have a few favourites when it comes to stock photos. See our Resources page for our suggestions.
Ready to get planning?
You only have a few seconds to make a good impression on your website visitors, so it’s important that you use your home page wisely. This is your chance to show off what makes you unique and explain why people should stick around for a while. If you can do that effectively, you’ll be well on your way to converting more visitors into customers.
If you’re ready to dive into planning your full site, check out our free Ultimate Website Project Planner!
And if you need help getting started you can Book a Discovery Call with Wild Honey Creative and we’ll get you headed in the right direction.