Your homepage wins or loses your audience
Do you want to win and keep the visitors who land on your homepage? You only have a matter of seconds in which new visitors decide to stay & explore or leave your website forever. Do you want to create a homepage which follows the example of the best homepages? When you make a homepage, follow these 4 simple homepage tips.
Your homepage is a landing site for your users. It needs to invite them to delve more deeply.
1 Catch their attention
Know your audience
First know your audience and design your homepage around their needs. Your audience is your key to success.
Give users a glimpse
- Don’t try to fit too much on your home-page, unless you are creating a blog-style website. You only need to give users an idea of what they can find on the rest of your website. Give them a taste, an invitation to delve deeper into the site for more.
- Remove all clutter to make the important things stand out.
- Prioritise – give the most important items prime ‘real estate’ on your homepage.
Create a brand
Your logo, site name, tagline and the general look and feel of the homepage help to give your site an identity or ‘brand’. Good branding helps users to:-
- Identify and remember your site
- Distinguish your site from your competitors
2 Make it obvious what your website offers
State your purpose
You have a matter of seconds to win or lose each new visitor to your homepage. Make it obvious to your homepage visitors:-
- What your website offers them
- What they can find and achieve on your website
Make the wording clear, simple and brief. See homepage welcome message for more detail.
If you offer a complex range of products
Clarity is especially important if you offer a complex range of products or services. You must find a way to make it very clear and obvious what people can actually get from your site. Sometimes a three-step graphic can help simplify the concepts.
Does what you offer match your visitors’ needs?
Make it easy for your visitors to quickly assess whether you are offering something they need or want. See Writing for the Web.
Clear menu structure
Make sure your menu structure reinforces your message and displays what you have to offer in a clearly organized manner.
3 Win their confidence
Make it look Familiar
To help build user confidence:-
- Provide a menu structure that looks familiar.
- Use terminology that people are familiar with, such as “Contact Us”, “Shopping Cart”, “Log In”.
4 Make it work
Content is King
Keep your homepage content up to date and spell-checked. Give your users a reason to return to your site.
Help people find your site
Write for search engines as well as for users. Getting found with search engines is largely a matter of using the right keywords wisely. Do keyword research to find out what words and phrases people are actually using. Sprinkle the content on your homepage with those keyword phrases which will help users find your site, paying particular attention to your titles of articles, headings and the first paragraph of article text. When you submit a new website to the popular search engines, remember it can take up to 6 weeks before your site becomes indexed for searches.
Check for broken links
Check your website periodically for broken links. These can occur if external website pages have changed their URLs, or if you change the title of an article on your website (which results in the change of its URL).
Do User Testing
Some of your great ideas may prove to be ‘pie-in-the-sky’ – you don’t know until you test your website on users. Studies have proven that the sooner you start testing, the greater your savings in time and website development costs. See also very simple test plan and using Personas
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