Your home page is your website’s front door. And though the analogy does not quite hold (people can easily come in through your ‘bedroom’ and your ‘living room’ as well), having a great homepage is vital. For that reason, it’s probably there that you should start your (re)design of your page.
The thing is, many companies struggle to optimize this page. And with good reason. It Is far more than just a dedicated landing page – serving also as a thoroughfare for traffic from one area to your site to another.
And it is this multi-faceted nature that makes it so hard – and at the same time so vital – to get right. For that reason today we’re going to look at some of the most vital elements that you should make sure you page always includes.
#1 A Value Statement
It seems like a no-brainer and yet many companies still miss out on this. Your homepage has to capture the heart of what it is you do. If it does not do that then chances are good that your visitors are not going to stick around to find out. And so, make sure you include a value proposition.
It doesn’t have to be long, but it does have to capture the essence of your service.
Here’s an example of a great value statement from Podio:
#2 Social Media Buttons
Sure, not everybody will click them, but those people who do and decide to follow you are far more likely to be converted into customers. And those are exactly the kind of people you want to be able to reach out too frequently through social media.
Not including these buttons makes that a far harder thing to accomplish. For that reason, put social media buttons in an obvious place, which is either along the top or along the left-hand side. You want them to be above the fold so that they are immediately visible to somebody visiting your homepage. This is because most people do not set out to follow you on social media but might just do so if they have the opportunity.
#3 Intuitive Yet Minimalistic Navigation
Yeah, but what does ‘intuitive’ mean? Generally, it means that you follow what other pages do, as often what we know is what we feel is intuitive. Of course, if you’ve got some great innovation that significantly reduces the number of clicks people have to use, then go for it – but don’t be surprised if it doesn’t catch on. We’re surprisingly conservative as a species.
Also, remember that nowadays less is more. Cluttered layouts that have a huge number of elements competing for attention are a sure-fire way to have people click away from your website if they even wait around for it to load!
#4 Contact Info
As online people often buy things by giving you their private information (e.g. credit card details) it is vital that you give off an aura of trustworthiness. One of the easiest yet frequently overlooked methods to do so is to include your contact information.
Include a phone number and possibly even a street address. This doesn’t necessarily have to be above the fold, but it should certainly be on there.
If you’ve subscribed to the content marketing strategy (and who nowadays hasn’t?) then include blog highlights, to draw people deeper into your site and to build up your aura as an authority.
Where they’ll go on your home page depends on how important your content marketing strategy is. If it’s your main strategy for getting customers, then it should be somewhere near the top. The less important it is, the lower down it can be.
Good example is provided by Writing Daddy:
Okay, you don’t actually have to have a video on your website. At the same time, it’s certainly something to consider. We are, after all, visual and oral creatures far more than we’re readers. Therefore, a well put together video will be able to reach a far wider audience than words ever will.
Naturally, the video has to be of very high quality for it to work. As Dollar Shave Club has on their homepage:
Whatever copy you do have to have on your homepage has to be outstanding. In large part, this is because there is so little of it. That means that any ill-chosen words, grammar mistake, or poorly built sentence will stick out like a sore thumb.
Don’t do it by yourself. Often when we’re writing content, it’s very hard to see what is wrong with it. Get an editing or writing service involved. They’ll be able to objectively tell you what will and won’t work.
And finally, you’ve got to have space. Space, as said before, is vital nowadays. It creates a restful and calm atmosphere. It also makes certain that people, rather than getting lost in the jam of things, focus on the element you want them to look at.
Here is an example of such element from Dropbox:
Yes, that sounds like a difficult thing to accomplish when there are so many other elements that need to be included. But remember, you can always stretch your page downwards. Scrolling is accomplished with little more than the flick of a finger nowadays. And that gives you far more surface area to work with.