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8 easy steps to an effective website homepage

Homepage 308x348As a small business, your homepage is your virtual front door, so it’s critical that people are drawn in, and find what they need once they get there.

The chances are that people will look at your company’s website before doing business with you, so it’s important that your homepage makes a clear and compelling statement about your business. According to research from PewResearchCenter, for 84% of websites, the homepage is still the most viewed page.

Creating a homepage that’s both functional and effective in terms of generating business isn’t difficult – just follow our 8 easy tips below:

1. Let people know who you are and what you do
Potential customers need to know that they’ve come to the right place when they arrive on your homepage, and research shows you have less than 3 seconds to make an impression. Making sure customers know who are and what you offer is vital in keeping them there.

The best way to do this is to feature your company logo prominently at the top and adding a short tagline to your homepage that summarises what your company does and what makes you special.

Make sure your tagline is clear and concise, and captures the essence of what your business is all about. If you have a well-established local business, you could highlight how long you’ve been around, to build trust with your audience. For example, if you’re an electrician, you could use a tagline like, ‘Keeping your home switched on since 1995’.

2. Include a prominent Call to Action
The main objective of your homepage should be to get potential customers to take action. Therefore, a prominent Call to Action (CTA) plays an important role in moving your customer closer to your ultimate goal; getting them to do business with you.

Think about what you want your potential customer to do next, whether it’s calling you to book a free quote or encouraging a visit your store. With your CTA it’s a good idea to put this at the top of the homepage. If you want people to call you, include ‘Phone us today’ and your contact number near the top of your homepage, and if you want people to visit your business then include ‘Visit us’ and your address.

3. Make it easy for people to navigate
Although your homepage is usually where visitors come to first, the chances are they’ll want to visit other sections of your website. Therefore, you need to make it easy to navigate so people don’t get frustrated and leave.

Display your navigation menu clearly near the top of your page. As a small business owner think carefully about how many pages your website has. The more pages it has, the more time you will need to spend maintaining and ensuring they are up to date. Think carefully about what your potential customers will want and then display simple links to these pages in your navigation menu.

Make sure that the navigation is clear and intuitive. The aim is to make it as easy as possible for the visitor to get to where they want to go. Consider carefully if any steps you add in are really necessary and make sure it doesn’t become confusing and long-winded e.g. for a DIY store user ‘Garden > Spades’ is easier than ‘Garden > Tools > Large Tools > Spades’.

4. Use professional images
While it’s essential that your homepage is easy to navigate, you also want to stand out from the crowd, and images are a great way to do this.

A picture is worth a thousand words, and the right image can help build an emotional connection with your business. So keep your images real, human and impactful – and as bold and unique as possible. You could even incorporate a slideshow of images that best portray your business.

Try to avoid stock photos on your homepage, and think instead about including images that are more personal, and reflect your business style and personality. It’s worth investing in a professional photographer to take your website shots – while a smartphone picture is appropriate for social media, only a nice, glossy image will do for your website.

5. List the benefits of choosing your business
Potential visitors want to know what the benefit of you or your service is and why they should choose you. Although you’ve included your tagline near the top, it’s a good idea to still offer some short information on the benefits you offer. For example, you could mention any awards you’ve won, any other reputable businesses you’ve partnered with, include the number of customers you’re proud to serve or simply the fact that you pride yourself in delivering good customer service.

Visitors will be put off by masses of text so keep it brief and put all the main ‘about us’ information into a separate section of your website. This saves cluttering up your homepage, but still gives your visitors all the relevant information if they want it.

6. Build trust with testimonials
As a small business you know the power of word-of-mouth and how important recommendations are to attract new customers. You’ve told the visitor about how great you are and what you can do, but still need to convince them to trust you. Short quotes from happy customers on your homepage are a great way to do this.

If you can add a name and photo to these quotes it’s even better, as it will convince website visitors these are real testimonials. If you’re accredited by an industry body then include these logos to give your business even more credibility. For more ways to increase trust in your business read here.

7. Capture visitor contact information
As most visitors will enter your website via the homepage, this presents a great opportunity to capture valuable information, like names and email addresses, for future marketing campaigns. You could offer free quotes or call backs, or get people to sign up to a newsletter. Whichever you choose, make it easy to gather these details from your visitors so that you can start communicating with them. When collecting details you should make it clear that people are opting into marketing emails. You don’t want to annoy people and risk your emails being marked as spam or worse.

8. Make it mobile-friendly
According to MarginMedia nearly half of users say that if they arrive on a business site that doesn’t work well on mobile, they take it as an indication of the business simply not caring. Ensuring your homepage works on mobile is therefore vital, so consider the following:

  • If you want visitors to phone your business, ensure your CTA does this directly so users don’t have to copy and paste the number.
  • If you want people to visit your business, link the address to Google Maps so they can get directions directly to you.
  • Make sure buttons and links are easy to click on with fingers and thumbs.
  • Ensure text is text large enough to be read on a smaller screen.

For more information on designing your website and pages with a mobile user in mind, read our article here.

 

Your homepage is often your customers’ first experience with your business, so it’s vital to get it right. By following our top tips, you’ll be well on your way to creating an awesome homepage that will generate the best possible first impression.

 

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