In the words of the great Oscar Wilde, “There is no second chance for a first impression.” Too right! Your website’s homepage has mere seconds to make its mark – or your visitor will be off elsewhere.
Your homepage is your shop window. It is the page most presented by search engines and a good, well written, homepage will help your site move up the SEO rankings. On the web, as on the high street, your shop window must attract browsers, casual visitors, as well as your regular customers, and entice them inside.
Here is your six-point plan to convince people to stay on your page for longer than a just a few seconds.
1. Have immediate impact
Your landing page must look great and be interesting to attract attention and captivate your audience. It should present a strong visual brand, which represents your organisation and is consistent with the tone and style of your business, products and services. This should be carried throughout the site.
Note that this doesn’t mean just stick a whopping great logo on the homepage but, instead requires careful selection of the logo, design, strapline, colours, typefaces and imagery that combine to make up your unique brand identity.
2. Be clear about what you do
Your visitor should be able to see what the website is all about within the first few seconds.
Use your design, text and imagery to make it obvious what you do straight away.
3. Hook your customers with content
Your visitor will scan the page to find answers – if they cannot find them quickly they will simply look elsewhere. Have catchy but clear headlines and avoid waffle. There is such a thing as too much information – if you need to expand, use links to other pages.
At a glance, visitors should be able to establish:
- What you sell
- Why they should buy from you – highlight the benefits unique to your products or service
- Your business is trustworthy with a good reputation.
Use photographs and film. Images convey messages in milliseconds. Use them wisely – they need to convey the right message for your site and your brand.
4. Include content for SEO
Your content should be created with SEO in mind so you should use keywords that are the best search terms for your business, products and/or services.
- Start with a clear and concise title – keep it short and to the point. More information can come below in a subtitle and in the content.
- Ensure key keywords appear on your homepage in the natural flow of your headlines, text and captioning for images.
5. Have a clear call to action & signpost the way
Most visitors to your website, even established customers, will land on your homepage as the portal to the rest of your website, so make it easy with clear navigation and signposting.
Ensure your menus and navigation are clear and simple to follow. Your menu should be easy to find, in a logical position, and which provides a clear path to your visitor’s destination.
Remember, you have only seconds to draw your visitor in. Make it clear what visitors should do next – whether to buy, fill out a form, get more information – whatever action you want to achieve.
It is critical that you are clear about your aims when you start planning your website.
6. Encourage sharing
Satisfied customers and engaged visitors can be you best advocates. Make it easy for your visitors to connect and share using buttons on your homepage.
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