What Makes a Great Homepage?
House-hunters call it “curb appeal.” It’s the first impression a potential buyer has of a property. A good one will make buyers want to go inside to see more. A bad one prompts them to move on to another home. That’s how potential customers view your business’ homepage. If they like what they see, they’ll spend time looking around to see what you offer. So how can you step-up your page’s appeal? Pay attention to these elements and draw potential customers inside to learn more about your business.
The Big Three
One web usability study reports that the top three items consumers want to see on a company’s homepage are product descriptions, contact information and the “about us” section. The homepage will likely contain only a link to each section but it’s important to anticipate what content they expect to find there.
- Product descriptions – This is more than a description of the products and services you offer. It’s important to also demonstrate the value they provide in helping customers solve a problem. That can be achieved in the words you use, or more dynamically in a demonstration video, for example. Some homepages use an interactive needs assessment to steer visitors to the product that best meets their needs. Another method is to organize your content based on need categories.
- Contact information – This is important for new and existing customers. The key is to provide a variety of options—electronic, voice, mail. In the study, phone number was identified as one of the most looked-for pieces of information in this section. Some sites offer an interactive form that automatically routes the question to the appropriate area.
- About Us – Why should I do business with you? That’s the central question you want to answer in this section. Think about what carries weight with your target market. Is it your years of experience, training, client list, awards, or customer success stories? Validate your qualifications by sharing what customers say about your business.
When realtors show a house, they lead prospective buyers through the property so it’s easy to see what’s there. Your navigation prompts should do the same thing. It’s a way to organize the content so visitors can find what they need in as few clicks as possible.
Many sites use bars or tabs at the top of the page for maximum visibility. You can supplement navigation with a search bar. Another consideration is responsive design which repositions navigation depending on the device used. Here are ten examples of how some companies approach navigation on their homepage.
What action do you want visitors to take when they visit your homepage? Don’t leave the answer to chance—tell them with a call-to-action. It can be as simple as “learn more” or as direct as a “buy now.” The idea is to lead them through the buying cycle with a series of actions. Take a look at these CTA examples from other websites.
Here are some calls-to-action you might use at various points in the buying cycle:
- Early stage – This is where it’s important to provide information. Consider CTAs like learn how to grow your customer base, download this white paper, free trial, or sign up for our e-newsletter.
- Near purchase – Here’s where you ask for a commitment (remember, there are varying degrees). Appropriate CTAs might include: schedule a consultation, buy now, request a demonstration, or sign-up (it’s free).
- Post purchase – Your website has value even after the sale with CTAs like: tell a friend about us, like us on Facebook, tell us how we did. Each extends the relationship you’ve built and sets the stage for repeat business.
Step-up the view of your homepage as visitors drive by on their online search. Start by focusing on these elements and maximize the return on your homepage.