Here are some ideas to help you make sure that the homepage of your website is awesome and effective:
1. Clarity + Get Their Attention
When someone first comes to your website, they want to know right away what you do and how you could help them. Don’t make it a mystery for them.
If you are a health coach, make sure that’s clear. If you sell funky handmade widgets, let people know that right away.
Tell people who you are, what you do and who you serve – in a clear and straightforward way. Speak directly to your dream clients, let them know they’ve come to the right place.
This should be the first thing people read or see. When you first drive into Colorado you see the “Welcome to Colorful Colorado” sign. It welcomes visitors and let’s you know you’ve arrived. That’s comforting to people.
Acorn Publishing is a web project I recently finished up. They have a short welcome message letting people know what they do and then 3 clear actions that people can take, which further lets people know what they offer – editing and publishing services.
2. Be simple
Your homepage is not the place to explain the long history of how you became an expert in your field. It’s not where you go through your whole background, or where you layout every single thing that someone might want to know about your business.
No one wants to read paragraphs of info about you or your company. Not yet, anyway – they’re still deciding if they want to know more. So you have to peak their interest a bit. Don’t spill the beans right away. Invite them to come in, to explore, to get to know you better. Make them curious.
This is best done simply. You don’t want to inundate people right away with a ton of information. Your homepage is an overview, and an invitation to keep reading.
I’ve been seeing this more and more on websites – use a great big photo and then just offer 2 options – get started or learn more/visit the blog. BOOM. Super simple! Jenna has done this brilliantly with her You Can Brand website. Plus she has the hottest brand photos ever!
3. Know what you want people to do next
Do you want them to join your email list? Or check out your products? Or start reading your blog? Do you want them to book a discovery session or jump right into your services?
Knowing what action you want people to take when they first arrive will guide you as to what content you’ll put on your homepage.
Don’t over do it! Keep people pointed to where you want them to go. If your main goal is to have people sign up for your newsletter, have that front and center – towards the top of your page.
If you are primarily a blogger and writing tons of content is your thing, you could have your blog be the front page, since that’s what you most want people to engage with – your content.
If you aren’t going to blog regularly, or inconsistently, for sure it shouldn’t be on your home page!
If you’re a photographer and your goal is to book more clients – have your very best images be the focal point of the homepage. And be sure to include a button or some kind of a link taking visitors where you want them to go next – your services page or your contact form to chat about their event?
Nathalie Lussier’s website does this brilliantly – you see a great, professional photo of her and 3 clear actions you could take. Her graphics grab you and those little arrows make you want to click to keep reading more.
4. A photo of you
This isn’t essential for your homepage – but for sure needs to be on your about page. BUT! If you are branding YOU, then include an image of yourself on your homepage so people can get connected to you right away.
It could be a photo that’s part of your header, lower down the page in a short “about” section, or in the footer. You could even have a welcome video, especially if video is going to be a big part of your communication/marketing plan.
Introduce yourself to people – and not the fictional version of yourself – the real you: smiling, connecting, shining, being fabulously YOU.
byRegina.com is one of my favorite business bloggers and her blog is front and center as her home page. But, her photo is right at the very top of her sidebar. This is a great example of being right there, showing the face behind the blog, but not being too big and bold – which isn’t a bad thing – have you seen my site?! 😉 You don’t have to be “in your face” to show your face (but you totally can if that’s part of your brand’s vibe). Creating an instant connection is an important aspect of building up your audience.
5. Smart Navigation
Your navigation will be on all the pages of your website, but is first encountered on your homepage. It’s important to give some thought to your navigation bar and how people will find the information they’re looking for.
Don’t make it hard for people! Sure, there are a ton of cute, clever ways you can call the different sections of your website, but if people feel confused or lost, they are just going to leave and never learn what makes you and your business amazing.
Mystery has it’s charm, but takes away from people being able to decide if they’d like to work with you.
Simplicity is important here!
You also don’t want to overwhelm people by giving them too many options. Again, know where you want people to go, what will help them get to know your business better and guide them there in the most direct, simplest way possible.
Kimra Luna is someone who is a masterful marketer and she consistently kills it online. Her website is so ridiculously simple (though rumor has it that she’s going to launch a new site soon.) But, this right here is the epitome of simple. Her navigation has 2 tabs – home and about me. Her home page has just 3 things you can do. Doesn’t get simpler than that!
Now, clearly, her website is not the main place where she builds her business. But it’s a great landing space that directs people to where she DOES work hard to build up her connections – on Facebook and her awesome webinars.
8. Have great visuals
No one wants to sit and read a big huge block of text – not when they first arrive on your homepage. Engage their eyeballs!
Use high quality images – make them big! Get their attention! Big photos are very on trend right now. Why is that? Because people love to look at pretty pictures – it engages them and if your images are on brand, they will help to connect to your right clients. People will feel at home and want to keep looking around.
You don’t have to have big pictures on your site, at all. But for sure make sure that you are using images that communicate your brand, tell a story, and engage your audience. A picture is worth a thousand words, after all. 🙂
Jeremy Cowart is one of my favorite photographers and his website is full of gorgeous visual storytelling that is so inspiring and perfectly showcases what he does best.
7. Do some homework
I think one of the smartest things you can do is to research a bit what others are doing.
Pick some of your favorite competitors in your industry – people that you know are thriving and have structured their business in a way that’s similar to how you do things.
For example, they put a big focus on getting people to sign up for their email list and then market and promote their business directly to people that have joined.
Or, they are selling information products and blog ALOT and that is the primary way that they are building credibility and getting the word out.
Or, they are a coach and book people into discovery sessions to get to know potential clients and sell them on the value of hiring them.
You get the idea? Don’t pick examples of blogs/websites that aren’t working in the same way that you want to be working. (even if what they are doing is freakin’ awesome! – it just doesn’t apply to YOUR business)
Look at their homepage and ask yourself:
- What information are they including?
- How is the page structured?
- What action do they want people to take?
- How is their message loud and clear?
Actually write out your answers to these questions and do this for 3-5 different websites. What themes do you see? How can you “borrow” from what you learn and apply the same ideas to your own website?
I hope this helps you get some ideas about what to include on your homepage. For sure, there isn’t a “one shoe fits all” solution.
You have to really look at your brand, the intention of your website, what potential clients or customers need to know before they choose to buy from you, and how you can most clearly communicate your message with the world.
Think about your potential clients and what would give them the best first impression and deliver that on your homepage.
If you have a question, ask away in the comments below!