What Makes a Good Website Homepage Design?

Making a good first impression is everything. The homepage represents a virtual front door to your website so it’s arguably the most important page. A well thought out homepage creates a visual trail of breadcrumbs that will precisely guide visitors to find your services effortlessly. It will also direct them to take a specific action and go to the next step.

Page layout planning will help you to figure out which content to use and where to place it, but also which content should go first. You can’t expect to randomly place elements on the page because you simply won’t get it right if you don’t follow a good layout recommendation. Flow is very important to implement because it will guide the visitors to discover pages and sections of your website the way you want them to. When you follow best practices when designing a page (in this case homepage), you will craft a well-designed and targeted experience that will work best for your target customer.

Good website homepage design will help visitors to easily identify what your website is exactly about, what you do and how you can help them. But is not enough to just stop there. You must help them to engage with your website and figure out which step they should take next. If you don’t do this, then they are very likely to simply leave without taking any action. Some of the steps that you might want them to take include downloading a guide, visiting a special offer page, submitting contact details, etc.

Call To Action – Get Them To Do Something

When someone lands on your homepage, you’d want them to dig deeper into your content and pages and move them along the funnel. Call to action basically tells them to do something.

Call to action should be placed above the fold (two to three times ideally) and it’ll direct them to take a specific action based on where they are in the buying cycle.

You should never expect your visitors to know what to do next because they simply won’t. You want them to visually see that you gave them a next step to take. If you fail to do this, then you will miss on so many opportunities because people are not patient and won’t try super hard to find what they came for.

Colour is very important and it should be visually striking and it should contrast the colours of the rest of the website, but of course, still fit within the overall design. Since many people are browsing with mobile these days, you should keep this in mind when optimizing your CTA’s for those users. Don’t make the button too small so they can’t tap it with their finger, and this goes the same for buttons and text.

Call to action text should be brief and to the point and no more than five words. Some good classic examples are “Sign up”, “Try it for free”, etc.

Usually, the more choices you give to somebody, the less likely they are to actually choose something because of the choice paralyses. People will not sit there and think and try to figure out what and where to click. Always avoid making your customer having to think. Always indicate the next action you want them to take, and in the case of the homepage, getting them to read more about your services or maybe checking out a demo might be a good idea. People are not ready to commit after spending a few seconds on your website, so don’t force them.

Try to get in your customer’s mind and think of the questions that might be going through their heads while they are on your homepage and whether they can find what they want quickly.

Make Your Website Mobile Friendly

If your website is not mobile friendly yet, then you are far behind everybody else. It is commonplace now to access websites from multiple devices, so it’s critical that you make your website mobile friendly. Not only are websites that are mobile friendly better for SEO (like announced in the update back in 2015), but they provide a much better user experience for everybody, regardless on which device they use. The desktop version of the website is usually difficult to view on mobile devices. Is not an unusual case when someone lands on a website and gets frustrated by this and then immediately hits the back button. Google has stated that volume of search queries on all mobile devices has surpassed desktop.

When you start making your website mobile friendly, you should optimize everything: images, headlines, text copy, etc. If your website is not yet mobile friendly, then you have two options. The first option is to rebuild it in a responsive layout (where your website will automatically adjust to different screen widths) and the second option is to build a dedicated separate mobile website that will specifically be optimized for mobile users.

The main guideline for mobile design is to simplify everything. Your website should be streamlined with very limited information and fewer functions when compared to a desktop version of the website. This is because space is limited on a mobile screen and you need to make the most of it. You can test if your page is mobile friendly with free Google Mobile Friendly Test.

Make It Very Clear What You Do

It is critical to let the visitors know who you are and what you do as soon as they land there. If you are a well-known brand then that might not be the case, but for most websites out there, you’ll have to let know the visitor that they are in the right place.

The headline is probably the most important part here and it should in a single sentence explain what does your company do. Keep it short, clear, and descriptive.

Sub-headline will go under the main headline and here you can define your company or service in more details and the brief description here should answer what problems do you solve for the visitor. Again, keep in mind that you should optimize both headline and sub-headline for mobile, so use larger fonts to give those people a better user experience. Nobody wants to pinch and zoom all the time.

The headline should never be about your stuff. People don’t care about you or your business. The only thing they care about is the solution for their problem. Thus, homepage headline should be about the problem that you solve and not about your company or your products. You can see from the image above how LeadPages does this very well and addresses the issue of people not capturing as many leads as they would like.

Clearly Communicate Your Value Proposition

A very common mistake that most websites are guilty of is that they mainly focus on listing features and don’t describe the actual benefits to the visitor. Benefits will sell to someone, while features will only describe something. The first thing that pops into someone’s head when they visit any website is “What’s in it for me?”. Write the copy on how the visitor will benefit from you and keep in mind that benefits tap into the emotional side and this is something that works.  When someone sees your value proposition, they should see why what you do matters to them. Benefits will compel people to buy and stick around.

One of the things that you can use to solidify your value proposition is to use some trust indicators. These include things like:

  • Customer testimonials
  • Success stories
  • Case studies
  • Professional accreditations
  • Media quotes

These things work because people always tend to buy from businesses that they trust, so by showing your visitors that other people also like and trust your business, you can boost your credibility in their eyes. Look for ways to positively associate your business with external parties as this will move people closer to become your customer.

As we mentioned earlier, the entire purpose of the homepage is to get the visitor to take action and move him to another page. Is surprising how many businesses don’t understand this concept and they end up filling up their homepage with useless information that no one cares about. Things like this include huge text about their company, history of the company, people working there, etc. This information has is a place but is not on the homepage.

Less is definitely more when it comes to homepage design and content. Consumers define a good experience by being able to very quickly find exactly what they are looking for. While having this in mind, slamming a bunch of videos, text, and buttons is very confusing for visitors and will put them off. Another example of this that you should avoid is putting company news on the homepage. There is zero reason for you to post that kind of information on the homepage because no one cares besides the people who are working in your company.

Write Copy With Your Target Audience In Mind

In your copy and headlines, you should clearly state who your product is for. If you’re trying to sell to everybody, then your customer is nobody. Most people on your website will know what they are looking for and if they find something that looks similar to that, they will follow it to read more about it or buy. Thus, having relevant information with the wording your customers would use is critical. If you don’t know the language that your customers use, then simply talk to them and use exact phrases they are using when they talk about your products or a service and then use it on your website.

Buyer personas are a very specific group of customers that you want to market to. You should write your copy having their needs and wants in your mind. People care about themselves and how you can help them, and that’s why buyer personas are very important. This is about knowing who you are selling to, what they are thinking, what are their needs, and what is their situation. Knowing all of these things will put you in a much better position.

A good way to create buyer persona is to do some research, perform surveys, and interview your current and past customers. Another thing that you can do is to use your form fields to capture a specific persona information, i.e. size of the company, niche, etc. You should also talk to your sales team and get their feedback on the leads that they’re interacting with and ask them about some generalizations they can make about the type of customers they think they are talking to.

Your existing customers might be the best place to start with your interviews since they already decided to buy from you before. People usually like being heard and if you ask them for a quick interview or to fill up a survey, they will probably be more than happy to do it. You should be very clear that it will not be a sales call and you need to especially note this if you are reaching out to non-customers. Tell them that you are doing some research and that you want to learn from them. For some you might need to use incentives (usually just non-customers), so a simple coupon or a gift card is an easy option.

CONCLUSION

When designing your homepage, the goal is not just to make it pretty. It’s about how easy it is for the visitors to see what you do, how you can solve their problem, and how they can benefit from your product. You should never leave it up to people to figure out what to do next, so having a very clear call to action that will lead them to the next step is a must.

Your homepage should constantly change, update, and evolve. You won’t get it perfect on your first attempt, so keep testing different hypotheses and see what layout makes the biggest difference.