Your website homepage is one of the most important pages on your website. While your incoming traffic will often arrive on your website on other pages, website visitors will no doubt look at your homepage at some point during their visit. What is this site? Who made it? What are they about? Should I stay or should I go? Your answers to these questions are commonly raised by a first-time visitor, so they should definitely inform your homepage design approach. How it should look, how much information it should contain should all be answered in your homepage re-design decisions.
The purpose of the homepage is to provide a brief overview of who you are, what you do, and what you offer. It is used to give website visitors a clear direction on where they should go and what they should do during their visit on your site. It should convey to them what is important about your business, your message, service or product offering.
Best practice in homepage design is all about responding to your website visitors, understanding and delivering their needs and their wants. It isn’t about an idea that you think is cool or something that you may have seen on other websites that you think would look good on your website. It is about responding to your target audience, giving them what they need, and telling them how you can help.
How should my homepage look?
Homepage design and functionality isn’t entirely about headers, content, images and footers. It is about asking the right questions and making sure you resolve any awkward areas and not create unwanted attention for your website visitors. If you look at your homepage and decide that something doesn’t quite feel right, but you’re not quite sure what it is – then try answering the following questions:
- What is it that about my homepage that just doesn’t reflect my brand anymore?
- How do I make website visitors delve into my content and explore my products or services that I am selling?
- How do I make sure people stick around when they hit my homepage?
- Do the images appropriately reflect my business?
- How do I ensure website visitors take the time to contact us by email, phone, or by filling in the contact form?
- How do I make my website memorable for the right reasons?
If you have read through those questions and thought “yes those are precisely the questions that I would like the answers to” then just know you’re not alone. Many people wonder the same thing and think about the design and function of their homepage but don’t necessarily know how to improve their homepage, what the problem is or even where they should begin.
It’s about finding solutions to potential problems and bringing it all together and resolving it by producing a cohesive design. If you take a step back and re-read through the list of questions, notice all the questions included the words ‘I’ or ‘me’.
Your homepage design shouldn’t be me or I centric
Many business owners and organizations tend to gravitate towards and ask for a website design based on their own style brand-based preferences and base their decisions on websites which they’ve visited and liked. Or they think of their website as yet another marketing device which they want to implement.
All of this is fine, but often what they fail to realise is to compare this idea with the need for a refresh based on what their website customers actually need and want. I’ve found this is especially true if the website is brand-new and the new design is thought as ‘cool’. It is important (if not crucial to your website’s success) to listen to your customers feedback and deliver to them what they say they want.
Instead ask yourself these questions of your homepage
If you already have an existing website – these are the sorts of questions you should be asking. I’ve taken the previous set of questions and refocussed them so they are more focused on your website visitor instead. This task is easy, but the answers are often overlooked.
- Who comes to my website?
- Are these visitors all the same or can you categorise them into various groupings (aka website personas) – for example, students, young professionals, stay-at-home parents, small business owners, retirees etc?
- Does my product or service solve any of their problems?
- What problems do these people have and what issues are they trying to solve?
- What next step will the website visitor take so I can help solve their problem?
- What content have I written best outlines my proposed solution and provides them with the assistance they are looking for?
- Can the visitor easily contact me?
- How will the visitor and I keep in touch with each other?
- Do the images I’ve chosen best represent me to my customer?
- Does my homepage resonate with my customer and make them feel comfortable and at-ease?
Now take those above questions and apply them to your existing website. How does your homepage measure up to those questions? If it doesn’t, then it is time for a refresh.
Refocus your homepage design
Your homepage creates the first impression. It immediately begins to tell your story and allows you to connect with your customers by giving them what they are searching for, by answering their questions and solving their problems. Make sure your homepage is welcoming, professional looking, immediately begin to build trust and establish a rapport, answers questions and provides a clear direction.
If you’d like some help with resolving your homepage dilemmas as it doesn’t focus and meet the needs of your customer, then just get in touch and let me know how I can help.