If you run a business or organization of any type, I sure hope you have a website. One of the most important part of your site is the homepage. The homepage tells your story, it connects with you audience and it motivates people to take action.
This seems obvious, but it is because this the page most people will see first when they make it to your site. In most cases people are either coming to it directly or they are coming from a search from one of the search engines. Google and Bing usually present the homepage as the first link to your site for most searches related to you.
So why is the homepage important?
- It’s the first thing a new visitor sees and as you know, first impressions are critical for most things in life
- It tells people who you are
- It heavily influences search engine ranking
- If people resonate with it, they will dig deeper into your site
Creating a single page that can do this within a few seconds is a major challenge, even for the best designers and communicators. Ok, so if it is so important what are some of the top keys you should consider for your homepage?
Five Tips to A Better Homepage
- Know your goals and stick to them. You need a clear goal in mind for your website. What do you want it to do? Should it simply inform, or do you want people to fill out forms or maybe sign-up for a service? Everything should be designed toward that goal.
- Crystal clear message and good looks. A visitor that has never heard of your organization should be able to tell what you do within 5 seconds of hitting your homepage. A good way to test this is to show the website to your Mom, or better yet, your Grandmother. They don’t have to understand it, but it should be clear to them what your purpose is.
- Obvious next steps. If someone can’t figure out what to do after visiting your homepage, then you need to rethink the design or elements of your design. A great (and inexpensive) tool for testing what people do on your site is Clicktale. You can also look at your bounce rate. If you have a high bounce rate, you have a problem with something on the homepage.
- Know your SEO. A little more technical here, but your homepage needs to be well put together technically so that search engines understand your message as well. There are lots of factors that go into this.
There are many more things that you can think about, but if you focus on these items you’ll attract and retain a much larger number of visitors to your site, no matter what industry you are in.