four ideas for creating your excellent web site homepage
There has been a debate in recent years about the importance of your website's home page.
Given the multitude of ways people navigate the web, some argue that website home pages are rarely the first thing people see. From social media ads pointing directly to your landing page or links pointing directly to blog content, it is easy for users to bypass your homepage entirely when visiting your website.
With all that said, we'd argue that your homepage is still extremely important.
Your homepage may not be the most profitable part of your website. But when it's done right, your homepage is definitely the best powerful Part of your website.
This is true.
It's now a lot easier to get people straight to your sales or landing pages. However, once we've learned something from the Customer Value Journey, jumping straight to the sale is never the best way to actually win (and keep) a customer.
Think about it. How often do you right away buy something as soon as you land on a sales or product page? Chances are you will do a little research and shop around the website before breaking out your credit card. And this research starts on the company's homepage.
This is why your homepage is so important – it forms the basis for the trust factor in your company.
Your homepage should be a multitool in your marketing efforts. It's not a sales page or a contact page that has just one purpose. For your homepage to be really effective, it needs to do at least three things well:
- Clarify the usefulness of your product (and what it is)
- build up trust
- Show the way
Your homepage is unlikely to make a sale, but it can absolutely lose a sale. If someone finds their way to your homepage and can't understand what you're doing or what they don't like, the chances are that you will get that customer.
Your homepage needs to be clear, concise and professional. And luckily there are a couple of things that do everyone can do to optimize their homepage.
Use these 4 tips to transform your homepage from a simple website into a powerful business tool.
1. Great design doesn't save a bad copy
When you first create your website homepage, it is very tempting to focus entirely on what it looks like. It's understandable – having a great looking homepage with a great design not only helps you navigate your website, but it also makes your business look extremely professional.
And while both are true, your homepage copy is definitely what you should really invest your time in.
To understand this, you need to remember what the most important point on your homepage is: to Clarify the benefits of your product.
No matter how hard you try, design can't nearly copy that.
Your homepage can be the driving force of your website so naturally you want it to look great. However, you need to remember that appearance doesn't matter if the customer can't figure out why they should buy your product in the first place.
To do this, you need to find out how to sum up your product in an enticing way. What copy do you need on your website for people to read and say, "Me to have to buy that! "
A little tip from Donald Miller, the founder of StoryBrand, is not just to simply state what your company or product is doing, but also to outline the problem it solves.
A good example of a clear, precise copy of the homepage is TurboTax.
In three short sentences, the copy of TurboTax shows you exactly who they are and what problem they solve: "real tax experts" willing to help you as much or as little as you want.
This copy illustrates the benefits of using their service and does not even include the customer testimonials and satisfaction guarantees further down the page that help build trust.
This website has a great call to action too, but we'll talk more about that later …
If you can make your home page copy informative, clear, and engaging, it goes a long way in helping you make sales that may slip through your home page cracks.
The only catch is you need to be able to do this quickly …
2. Use the 7 second test
With your design and copy in hand, you should be able to come up with a good draft of your new homepage. Once you've done this, it's time to do the 7-second test.
The process is simple. Grab a neutral observer, someone unfamiliar with your company, and let them look at your homepage. In order for your homepage to pass the test, it should be able to tell you three things in 7 seconds or less:
- What is your product and what problem does it solve?
- Why should they care
- What should you do next?
These are the three things that your customer should know and understand immediately when they view your homepage.
You have a very limited amount of time to grab your customers' attention and let them know about your business. The internet is a big place, and if you don't make a good impression on your visitors right away, they will go elsewhere.
Studies not until 2020 show that people spend an average of just under 15 seconds on a website. To be really effective, it's best to get the attention (and your point of view) in half that time.
Because if you can do this in 7 seconds, you can spend the remaining 7 assessing whether your website appears trustworthy. If you can make them stay longer than 15 seconds, there is a good chance you will get a new customer.
3. Clarify your target audience
As you design your homepage and write your copy, it is important to keep your ideal client in mind.
Anyone can visit your website, which is why most businesses try to target the broadest possible audience. If you can make a good impression on a wide variety of people, the more likely you will get a wide range of sales. Law?
You shouldn't be trying to sell to everyone. You want to sell to your target group, your customer avatar. Everyone else who buys is just the cherry on top.
So how do you do that And how does that fit on your homepage?
For starters, you should know I agree Who is your ideal customer? You should know their hopes, dreams, fears, pain points, and interests. Once you have this full understanding, you will know exactly how to achieve it.
The broader purpose of clarifying your audience is so that you can use that knowledge in creating your messages.
Let's look at some examples:
Wicked Reports, a service that helps companies optimize their ad spend and maximize ROI, has a really good homepage. Because they know exactly who they are selling to: ecommerce marketers.
If you're an ecommerce marketer looking for help with lead generation and acquisition, you immediately know you've found the right place. The copy instantly shows you the problem they are solving and the solutions they offer. All above the fold of their homepage.
Last but not least, they have a subtle but effective hero shot: a short video of someone working on their keyboard. There is no question who Wicked Reports is targeting and they do an excellent job reaching them with effective messaging.
Another example is the popular fitness company Peloton.
Peloton's copy doesn't show exactly what they do, but it does promise that by purchasing their bike you can "get a head start on your goals". And if you have any questions about what it does, the hero shots sliding deck answers all of those questions by showing in shape people using their products to exercise.
Peloton is aimed at people who want to stay in shape. Their pictures go a long way in painting the picture of the post-state that their potential customers find themselves in when they use their products.
Peloton mainly uses its copy to focus on what its clients want to do: get a head start on their fitness goals.
Understanding your customer avatar is key in designing your homepage. Knowing who you are addressing can help you create an effective page that will speak to them.
4th Choose a primary call to action
Lastly, make sure that your website has a really good CTA.
Your CTA is the most important part of your homepage as it accomplishes the main goal: show the way.
And yes. We just mean a good CTA. Only one.
The reason for this lies in the fear of conflicting news. The last thing you want to get them confused about what to do next is when you have a good looking homepage that says exactly why people should buy your product or engage with your business.
Here are some great CTAs to use on your website:
- Opt-in for lead magnets
- Register / join
- Take a quiz or rating
- Start a demo / trial version
You will notice "buy now" is not included in this list. This is because your homepage is not an ideal CTA for most businesses.
Again, your homepage is not about making a sale. It's about educating your audience and building trust. So ideally you want to offer or tell them to do something that is free.
Let's look at our examples above.
For TurboTax, the CTA is "start for free". The keyword people use to click is "free".
Wicked Reports, on the other hand, has an option. If you give them your name and email address, they will receive a 3 minute demo video about what you can actually achieve with their product. This is an easier version of starting a demo or trial, and it's completely free for the customer.
Wicked Reports can then use your contact information to redirect you later if you don't buy right away.
Finally, we have peloton.
You will find that Peloton is the exception to this rule. Not only do you have two CTAs, but one of them is buying bikes. The other, their secondary CTA, simply asks people to browse their product catalog and compare prices.
Why is Peloton doing this?
Peloton's social credibility has already built enough confidence in their business that when they land on their homepage, people are likely considering prices. They also have different CTAs that appear with different hero shots.
Most prospects know what Peloton is – the company doesn't have to teach people that much about their product. The biggest barrier to their business is the cost of their product. Because of this, people immediately dive into their CTAs and learn about their prices.
This strategy works for them, but definitely not for everyone.
The best practice is to use your CTAs to get information from people and offer them something for free. If you do, you have a great chance (at least eventually) of turning her into a paying customer.
These 4 tips will help anyone create an amazing homepage for their website, but there is one more thing you should know.
Your homepage shouldn't stay the same.
Depending on where your business is in its life cycle, you may need something completely different on your homepage than you did three months ago. Whether you want basic information about your product like Wicked Reports or (one day) encouraging people to buy like Peloton, your homepage can do it all. You just need to know when it is time to make these changes.
This is why home pages are so powerful – they can do whatever your business needs at that point in time. As your business needs change, so should your homepage.
Whether you're creating a homepage for the first time or updating your homepage for the 100th time, these tips will always help you tweak it to attract and retain more customers. Then all you have to do is sit back and watch your website generate more sales and generate more leads.