Guest Post by Intrist’s Joe Garbarczyk :: The majority of your website traffic will see your homepage at some point. It’s important that your homepage is working hard for you. This is usually the first step in the conversion funnel (and one of the most important!) If this is the first time a potential customer or client is hearing about your company, you’ll want to make a great first impression.
Here are five elements that should be on your homepage to make it effective:
Simplicity should be used to minimize distraction. Think of your homepage and the user experience similar to making a cold call. It should be short (“We do X”), sweet and clutter-free. Take it easy on the images and animations. One trick that we like is going to Starbucks and asking people who could be in your target audience what they think.
Ask questions like, “Is this clear enough?” or “What do you think about that?” or “What didn’t you notice?” What should be crystal clear is your…(see next point)…
Why should someone give you their money rather than giving it to one of your competitors? The value proposition should solve a problem or give a benefit. It should not give details on a process or a technical specification. People want to know what that process is going to do for them. Describing your value proposition in one sentence keeps it clear and makes it easy to understand. (“We do X for Y”).
A great recent example comes from Jack Dorsey and his company Square. A new value proposition (i.e. benefit) they announced was that the money from a sale someone made would be in that person’s account the next day. The don’t go into detail about how that happens, they only focus on the simple value proposition. Money the next day.
One of the benefits of a well-thought out, strategic site is that you can (and should) efficiently guide the user to what you want them to do. Goals and objectives are set beforehand so everything that you do should lead them to your goals.
If you know from your website’s analytics that people, on average, read 3 articles before clicking “submit” on the contact form, you might want to think about putting a CTA on the homepage to read your articles.
The homepage should be a user’s tour guide to your site. It should direct them to what you know they want, and to what will lead them to a conversion. Provide them a CTA they can’t miss.
Let the prospect know other people like your product! If you sell the world’s best facial lotion and it’s been featured in a top beauty magazine and on authoritative blogs, let them know.
If you sell services and want to show people that you know what you’re talking about without saying “Trust me I know what I’m doing,” link to awesome content that you wrote. It shows you’re smart, it keeps them engaged on your site, and it helps you out in search.
People take their friends’ word over a brand’s word. Every time. That’s why it’s important to show the approval of others. Social buzz and social credibility are more important than ever in today’s marketing, so having it is a must. Try including a Twitter testimonial or link to your Facebook brand page where a user can read posts on your wall.
These elements are also great when creating landing pages and should be taken in consideration when creating any webpage.
Joe Garbarczyk is the founder of Intrist. Intrist specializes in helping startups and small to mid-sized businesses with their web marketing. They leverage the internet, social media and mobile to accelerate business growth online. They are really good and can help you with marketing plan creation, social media management, pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns, website design and development, SEO, mobile websites, apps and analytics. Follow them on Twitter | Read their blog | Find a special offer for Founding Mom members at Intrist.com/TheFoundingMoms.