As your website’s most prominent page, it’s not surprising that homepages generally receive the highest amount of web traffic. However, they also often have a higher bounce rate than other site pages.
Why? Because a typical visitor will only browse your homepage for a matter of seconds before deciding whether to explore the site further or hit the back button and look for someone else.
Your homepage needs to provide an obvious, tangible and engaging reason for people to stay – otherwise, your visitors will very quickly decide to leave.
“Google and Microsoft Research both report that most people spend 10 seconds or less on your home page before making the decision to hit the back button or to look around more. This means your visitors need to do a lot in a little amount of time. They need to understand what you do and how you could help them. They need to see that you understand their challenges and have solutions. They should see how you’re different from all your competitors and that you’ve helped other people like them. Take note of the language: Your home page needs to be about your prospects, NOT about you.” Mike Lieberman, Square 2 Marketing
Your homepage is the first place your visitors see, and the first opportunity you have to make an impression on them— it’s the “virtual front door” of your website. In order to keep people on your site and encourage potential leads, you need to quickly relate who you are, what you do, and how you can help them. So, what makes a great homepage that visitors will want to stay on? Most successful home pages include all or most of these eight essential elements.
Your visitors should know exactly who you are and what you do, just from spending a few seconds on your homepage. You don’t want to make them wonder about who you might be and what you can offer them—your homepage needs to clearly show who you are, what you do, and what your clients can expect from you. These facts need to be prominent and obvious.
2. Value Proposition
Your homepage should include a value proposition that shows or tells why your target audience should choose you over your competition. This proposition needs to clearly and concisely explain what solutions or benefits you offer your clients, what distinguishes you from your competition, and why your clients should choose your services. This can be done through a headline, a brief paragraph, or even a video clip or a series of images.
3. Call To Action
You want your homepage to prompt people to explore your site further. This is what a call to action is for—guiding visitors to the next step of your process, showing them where to go, and encouraging them to take a specific action. Your homepage should have at least one, if not multiple, calls to action. These could be labeled with prompts such as “contact me”, “join today”, “try it free”, “learn more” or “see our work”. Basically, you want to let people know what they should do next.
Make sure your visitors can find what they are looking for. Use navigation bars, hamburger menus, or search bars to make sure people can quickly and intuitively find the pages or information they are looking for.
5. Loading Speed and Mobilization
Waiting isn’t fun—your prospects simply won’t stick around if your website takes forever to load. Use small file sizes to ensure a quick loading speed and increase user experience and satisfaction with your site. Your homepage also needs to be mobile-friendly and ready-to-go on smaller devices without any scrolling or zooming.
Check out these tools to help optimize your websites loading speed:
6. Great Looks and Layout
Remember, your home page is your opportunity to make a first impression. Don’t waste it! Know your target audience and make sure your homepage is aesthetically designed to appeal to them. Use high quality images and don’t be afraid of white space. Also, make sure your most valuable information is located above the fold (scrolling point), and your major typefaces are legible without zooming.
7. Not Static
Change your images, copy, or even layout up a bit! Some of the best homepage designs are extremely active and constantly changing to reflect recent projects or current client needs or interests. You can add a lot of variety and intrigue to your site simply by occasionally changing up your homepage.
8. Compelling Copy
While many websites are leaning away from using large amounts of copy on their home pages and websites in general, compelling copy can be extremely helpful. Not only does it provide reading material and in depth information for visitors who may want it, but it will also help your site rank higher for SEO.
Alongside these critical elements, there are hundreds of design features you can choose from to craft a unique, outstanding homepage. You may want to consider incorporating a short video, blog excerpts, gallery or portfolio highlights, social proof or client testimonies, awards, certificates, or associations, contact info or business hours, extra resources, etc.
Do first impressions count? And is your homepage sending the messages and making the impact you want it to?