A website home page has a lot of work to do. It has to be both smart and good-looking. It has to have a cool vibe about it that speaks to your company’s personality. It has to have interesting offers, different ways to reach you, and lists of things for visitors to do – all without being cluttered, messy, or overstuffed. Forget it, right?
Don’t worry, it’s not as impossible as it sounds. If you take it one step at a time and break it down into what’s really important, constructing a website home page can be a manageable project with big long-term rewards.
4 Questions Your Home Page Should Answer
Your home page should come together to create a clear image of who you are and what you have to offer. You only have seconds - literally - to engage someone. Visitors need to immediately know that they’re in the right place. If they can answer the following 4 questions at a glance, you’ll have the right home page copy.
1. What do you do?
I’m always a little shocked when I go to a website and can’t figure out what they do – and it happens more often than you would think! I’ve been known to read entire websites only to be left scratching my head thinking, "I don’t get it."
The first thing your website should do is be crystal clear about what you do. People should not have to guess, click around, or read a lot to understand what your business is.
Consultants are notorious for not being clear. Don’t ask me why! I typed in "consultants" in Google as I was writing this and picked the first link that came up. It was a perfect example. Too funny! I don’t mean to dis this company, but I want to show you what I mean.
What in the heck does that mean? I have no idea. That is the first thing I see when I go to their website.
When trying to figure out the main headline, or tagline, for your website, just think about what you would say if you met someone new and they asked you, "What do you do?"
For example, I say, "I provide sales and marketing strategies to help small businesses build a following, generate leads, and sell more." Or even more simply, "I provide outsourced sales and marketing services."
It doesn’t have to be complicated or fancy. The simpler, the better.
2. How does that benefit me?
Subheadings are a great way to support the tagline and show visitors how your company, products, or services are beneficial to them. I like to use the "So what?" test. Try it out. State what you do, then say, "So what?" Keep saying it until you get down to brass tacks.
For example, I could say:
- I help small business owners develop sales and marketing plans. So what? Who cares?
- You’ll get found and noticed by new potential customers. So what?
- You’ll meet your growth goals by increasing revenue from new business sales. Oh! Cool. Now THAT’s interesting.
If you want to learn more about the words decision makers love to hear, Jill Konrath has an article that talks about that exact thing! I highly recommend it. Read it now. (Well, maybe you can finish this one first - LOL!)
3. Why should I trust you?
Testimonials, logos or awards can let people know that you have experience and have successfully helped other people.
You don’t have to slather these all over the entire page! That will just make it messy. A few neatly placed "trust" elements can go a long way. You can always put more on a "Client Results" page or other pages on your website.
4. What should I do next?
Don’t assume people will click around your website – they won’t! You need to tell them EXACTLY where to go next. Make it very clear.
As you go through this process, you’ll probably think, "But they need to know this, and they need to know that!" People usually want to put so much on the home page the user is left scratching their head wondering what to do. It’s too much to look at, so then they just leave. Less is more!
Take a step back. Think about what is MOST important, and how can your home page guide people to other areas of your site. You don’t need all the info on one page. With clear calls-to-actions, you can get people where you want them.
Some examples of "what people might do next" include:
- Connect on social media
- Subscribe to your newsletter or blog
- Download a content offer
- Learn more about something particular
Here’s a Home Page Example
Ok. I always like examples, so you may want to see how this plays out on a real website. HubSpot has all of these components on the very first part of their home page (as of this date anyway – they change stuff all of the time).
HubSpot Example: https://www.hubspot.com/
- What do you do? Marketing and sales software
- How does that benefit me? Grow your business
- Why should I trust you? More than 11,500 companies in 70 countries use HubSpot
- What should I do next? Start a free trial / Learn more about the platform
See! It doesn’t have to be so hard.
These 4 questions can be used for much more than your home page copy. Think about anything that represents you or your company: social media profiles, trade show booths, physical store – anything!
Once you have the foundation built, you can add some of these supporting home page components to help build reader confidence, establish your trustworthiness, and continue to guide them toward your goals.
People generally respond well to visuals and a supporting image will help drive your message home. Just make sure that it’s a remarkable image and not a cheesy stock photo of a lady with a headset on.
If appropriate, include a short video that introduces you or your company, shows how your products and features work, or even a customer testimonial.
If you go this route, do not set the video (or any other audio content) to automatically play. Nothing announces “I’m not working right now!” like a loud website in the middle of a cube farm. Don’t set your visitors up for trouble.
Well Organized Pages
This may seem like a no-brainer, but I evaluate websites all day long and I see way too many that are a disorganized mess. You can’t find anything!
People should not have to think about where to find the information they’re looking for. It should just happen naturally- like the mouse has a mind of its own. Seriously, it needs to be that easy. Take time to think about what information people want, and the path of least resistance to get it.
Social Connect Icons
Sometimes, these little things are almost impossible to find. They’re hidden way down in the footer, or not there at all! If you want people to connect with you on social media (and you should), make these a prominent feature on your home page (and all your pages!).
Have you ever been to a website, wanted to call the company, but could NOT find a phone number anywhere? I bet you’re shaking your head yes right now. Not clearly displaying your contact information is a sure way to turn someone off. Frustration!
It’s almost more annoying when you go to the Contact page and it’s just a form – no phone number, no address, no nothing. It seems devious, like they’re not a real company and have something to hide. If you want to do business with people, don’t hide who you are or make it difficult for people to contact you.
Websites are a Work in Progress
Your home page shouldn’t be static; it’s not a one-and-done deal. Keep track of the ebb and flow of traffic to your home page and monitor how well your offers perform. Don’t be afraid to change it up if it’s not working or if you want to try something different. Remember, your website home page is a dynamic reflection of you and should be treated as a flexible tool instead of words set in stone.