What Makes for the Perfect Homepage?
Picture this: You’re on your way to work. As you were getting into the subway station, you notice a poster of an antique store located just a few blocks from your office. Curious and as a lover of vintage items yourself, you decided to check out the store to discover some antique finds. The poster looked particularly intriguing so you became immensely excited to visit the shop after work.
Excitement quickly turned into disappointment, however, as soon as you arrived at the store. Instead of a clean, classy antique shop, what greeted you was an old and shabby store with a door that seemed like it could use some lick of paint. On the door also hung a worn out sign that says “Affordable Antique Finds”. And from the look of it, you surmised why the sign must have said so…
Everyone knows that one way to get more customers through your door is by maintaining pristine and pleasant premises. Not everyone knows, however, that this doesn’t only refer to physical shops, but is especially critical to businesses that rely on their digital storefronts. And when it comes to your website, what encourages people to come in or put them off for good is your store’s virtual front door—your homepage.
Your homepage is generally responsible for receiving the vast majority of traffic that comes into your website, that’s why it’s crucial to get it right. And while there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to creating the perfect homepage, there are however several essential elements that some of the best homepages around the web today have in common.
Want to know what these are? This guide will show you 7 of the most important elements you’ll need to incorporate into your homepage to attract visitors, educate prospects, and increase conversions.
1. Killer Headline
The headline is the very first thing your visitors see when they land on your homepage. If the headline doesn’t grab the attention of readers, and either confuses or bores them, expect them to be gone in a matter of seconds. Hence, be sure to keep your headline clear, concise, and compelling.
2. Engaging Sub-headline
If the headline is what catches the attention of visitors, the sub-headline is the one responsible for convincing visitors to stay a little longer and explore the website. The sub-headline is usually smaller, positioned below or underneath the main headline, and provides a brief description of your offer.
3. High Quality Images
A picture is worth a thousand words. But apart from that, it could also translate to conversions and be worth thousands of sales to your e-commerce store! Images are processed by the brain 60,000 times much faster than words, which is why having great imagery can have a positive impact on visitors. When using images on your website, there are a few points you need to consider:
- Make sure the image is of high quality
- Avoid using cheesy and common stock photos
- Choose images that match or are relevant to your offer
4. Strong Calls to Action
So your visitor already knows about what you do and what you offer after reading your headline and sub-headline, and looking at the images on your homepage—what next? Encourage them to move down the funnel by letting them know what to do next via a strong call to action.
For your CTA to be effective, it must stand out, which means the bigger and the bolder, the better. It must also be placed above the fold, direct, and too enticing to resist. This means you should steer clear from vague and action-less CTAs such as “Submit”, “Try Now”, and “Click Here”.
5. Compelling Value Proposition
In a nutshell, a value proposition is a statement that answers the question, “why should consumers use your service or buy your product?” Prospects want to know why your offer matters to them because that what will convince them to stick around and take the desired action. Thus, it’s vital that you have a compelling value proposition.
The value proposition or benefits must be straightforward, easy to understand, and focused on the user. For example, “We offer top-notch cleaning services” may explain what you do, but it lacks a user-focused orientation. To better show the value of your offer to consumers, you could reword and angle it towards users: “Enjoy beautifully clean premises—the stress-free and cost-effective way!”
6. Legitimate Testimonials
You might have a product or service unmatched by any other business in the world, and you might probably use all the best words possible to tell the world about it—but if nobody else but you can support your claim then people might just not believe it. That’s exactly why publishing trustworthy testimonials on your homepage is essential.
Testimonials from previous clients help cultivate trust among potential customers. Featuring a few of your best testimonials on your homepage, along with the name and the photo of the person, will give your website more credibility.
In addition to customer stories and testimonials, featuring your awards and accomplishments can also help you give a good first impression.
7. Clear, Well-structured Navigation
One major reason why users leave a website as quickly as they visited is due to poor navigation. Not sure if your navigation design is good enough? Have a look at your homepage and answer the following:
- Are your navigation labels as descriptive as possible?
- Do you have plenty of drop-downs?
- Do you have more than ten menu items?
Remember, homepage navigation can mean the difference between a sale and an increasing bounce rate. Thus, its content and design should be clear, well-organized, and visible but not distracting.
Your homepage is likely the first—or the last—experience a prospective customer could have with your business. It’s where customers will learn about you, your offer, and what they stand to lose or gain if they make a transaction with you. So it’s essential that you get all the above elements right.
Otherwise, you might just end up slamming your virtual front door in your customer’s face.