As you extend your hand to greet Richard, he wastes no time in launching into a monologue about his latest floor polisher, a new green commercial grade disinfectant, and the lease of a fancy car. Although you make an effort to listen, you eventually seize an opportunity to flee, hoping he won’t spot you for the rest of the night. It’s a common problem that entrepreneurs face when designing their website’s home page – they make it all about themselves, and then wonder why their website’s bounce rate is so high, at around 98%. Simply put, the bounce rate is a metric that shows the percentage of visitors who navigate away from a website after viewing only one page. While it’s crucial to understand, the focus now is to identify the critical elements that make a powerful home page.
I often start my conversation with clients by telling them that their home page, and in fact, most of their websites, should be customer-focused and centred on the problems they solve, rather than themselves. It’s like hosting a great party, except that in this case, your primary guests are visitors to your website. An engaging home page is essential, so make the visitors feel welcome, encouraging them to stay longer and ultimately, improving your website’s metrics. Your website’s home page serves five primary functions – establishing a strong, memorable brand identity, highlighting key products/services and the problems they solve, providing access to relevant information, capturing customer contact details, and building trust and credibility with visitors.
Firstly, your home page should have a visually and content-wise appealing brand identity that captures your company’s style and makes your website memorable. Think of this as creating a website “personality” that represents you online. Keep it simple yet bold, and unique by using colours, fonts and visuals that resonate with your business. Add some attitude to the mix; for example, a fashion label may use a black background, a hip café might incorporate rustic accents, and an e-gaming team may experiment with logo designs. Remember, your page must visually match your brand identity.
Secondly, your home page should also highlight your key products or services, along with the problems they solve for your customers. Present the solutions in a fun and seamless way, with before-and-after stories, images, and easy-to-understand language. Don’t forget to link out to relevant pages. If you sell cleaning supplies, for example, incorporate before-and-after shots of kitchens to showcase the solutions; for an e-commerce website, add customer success stories to emphasise the benefits of using your services; and, for a provider of digital media, include videos illustrating time-saving features.
Thirdly, your home page should provide access to relevant information, such as FAQs, pricing, and contact details. Use banners, icons, and images to guide visitors quickly to the right spot. Incorporate resources like articles or tutorials and include interactive features such as pop-ups with more info. If you sell clothes, provide mini-tours of product collections; for providers of services, integrate multimedia content for customer engagement; or, for digital media sellers, highlight customer stories with visuals or videos.
Fourthly, you must capture customer contact information, as visitors seldom make purchases on their first visit. It usually takes nine to 14 interactions for people to trust you enough to make a purchase. Use surveys, quizzes, or polls to make sign-up easy and fun. If you sell shoes, a quiz about fashion trends could be entertaining; if you provide services, survey customer experiences; and if you sell digital media, offer a trivia game for visitors to play. These elements offer an entertaining way to capture visitor details while also keeping them engaged.
Finally, to build trust and credibility, it’s crucial to showcase how much you care about your visitors’ needs. Use customer testimonials, a list of clients, media mentions, and any awards you may have won to display how much others value your products or services. Get visitors to see that other people value what you do, and it will also increase their confidence. Include images of customers wearing your clothing, list companies that have used your services, and snippets of articles and reviews featuring your digital products.
To sum it up, a great home page needs to have a professional logo, benefit-driven tagline, chat feature, powerful calls to action, links to key areas, catchy headlines, high-quality graphics, and videos, links to social networks, trust icons, contact information, and email capture. You’ll need to think carefully about the layout, and how to structure different elements in an intuitive way. Organising content in sections such as engaging videos, product and service information, FAQs, testimonials, and contact details in a logical sequence keeps the website’s organisation tidy, and simple to navigate. Incorporate calls to action strategically so that visitors know precisely what to do next. Finally, ensure that your website reflects your brand identity and its unique personality.
Remember, the experience visitors have on your website’s homepage is the first impression you make. Don’t be like Richard, and instead, engage visitors in a two-way conversation. Make your home page sizzle with style and substance, leaving visitors with an unforgettable experience. Investing in a punchy brand personality, customer-focused content, interactive features, and trust-building features will drive increased engagement, improved conversion rates and, ultimately, sustained success.