Did you know that it just takes less than 0.5 seconds for a visitor to accept or reject a website?
Your website’s main landing page is the digital storefront of your business. Here are three check-in questions to help you figure out if it’s time to update your homepage.
- Do you have the right elements on your homepage, your main landing page of your website?
- Are you getting enough traffic and customer inquiries from your website?
- Do you have a captivating headline, engaging content, enticing images, call-to-actions, strategically placed with a right balance of form, function, and features to attract, capture leads, nurture and convert to sales?
People assess the value of your services or products through the homepage in just a few seconds. Just like how we subconsciously make conclusions with people and first impressions. I have put together a ‘9-point Homepage Essentials’ checklist for you to make sure that your homepage has these important elements and capture prospect interest and action.
1. A Company Logo And Captivating Headline
Ensure that your logo and an impressive headline does this job effortlessly. Try to keep both the elements clean, concise and captivating. If you like to learn more about how to create an effective headline, read this article: 5 steps to prepare an effective headline and marketing message Can a visitor tell within the first three seconds what your business is and become aware of your value proposition? A value proposition is your highest expression of what your business mission is about.
An example: Healthpost New Zealand
I am a repeat customer of this New Zealand eCommerce site, Healthpost.co.nz. As an eCommerce website, they have to constantly update their website for products and promotions to encourage online shopping, purchase and referrals. I noticed that their promotions and product highlights are timely according to seasons, health needs as well as potential product demands. I am glad to see that they have recently communicated their value proposition more clearly and included a mission behind that message. “We’re all about empowering positive choices for a better you and a better world. Here’s to marketing better choices, easier.” Their logo, headline and value proposition statement is simple yet captivating. Visitors instantly know they offer health products and free delivery is on promotion for a set period.
2. Personal Focus Design And Copy
Do you know who are your top three customers types and their personas? Personas are common characteristics for your customers that drives their behavior, motivation and purchase decisions. Copy is the written work and visuals used to communicate your point of service or product difference. Ensure that your web design and copy appeal to your target customer and their persons effectively.
An example: The Warehouse New Zealand
I did a search for the top websites in New Zealand, The warehouse homepage ranks #36 , which is top for the category of general merchandising. Other top-ranked sites were auction, media and news and banking websites such as Trademe, Westpac Bank and Stuff .co.nz. By looking at the homepage, can you make out who their persona focus design and copy?
The Warehouse’s website design and copy communicates value for money, consistent with their tagline “Where everybody gets a bargain.” For the website, their key message to online shoppers are guaranteed is ’60day money back guarantee’. Their next focus is to communicate convenience with and free ‘click & collect’ service that encourages visitors to shop online & pick up in their local store. Who do you think their top three customer types are and their personas? Notice that the top three product categories are ‘Clothing and jewelry’, ‘Home and Garden, and Electronics and Gaming’. We think their top main customers and their personas are mothers with school children, Young adults in a new flatting situations and Remote shoppers living rural areas that want convenience and searching for bargain products for household items before they come in person or solely shop online
Another example: Airbnb
A website with a simple search bar for the people who are looking for the accommodation with local experiences – perfect design with no fuss, direct search to book home stays in city areas. There are accommodation list outside of city areas. Their persona focus design and copy is to directed to travelers who want an authentic travel experience by finding accommodation and experiences to experience with local hosts.
3. Impeccable Content and Language That Connects
Producing content in written, graphic design or on a video with an authentic language that connects with your audience is critical. We encourage you to engage a colleague or someone with copy editing experience to help you proof-read or write content. Use concise words and a tone of voice to communicate how your business can solve their problem or help them complete a job. Every word should be relevant and serve some purpose.
4. Use Strong Calls-to-Action
The primary purpose is to attract the users’ attention and compel them to dig deeper into your offerings and eventually push them down the funnel in the buying process. Strong Calls-to-Action seamlessly guides them toward the right direction so that they don’t get lost in the mountain of information. Strategically placed CTAs is important since they also turn your homepage into a lead generation page. Consider effective and strong words like “Free Trial”, “Call Now”, “Schedule a Demo”, “Learn More”, “Consult us Today” and so on.
An example: Pepper Construction, New Plymouth
Pepper Construction was undergoing a website and digital marketing revamp. Glenn Scott, the Marketing Manager took our Get Digital Marketing program and used the 9 point checklist that you are reading to workshop this process. They added two distinctive call-to-actions on their homepage to encourage visitors who are looking for constructor company for their building project to 1) view their recent work and 2) request for a quote.
5. Use Trust Indicators To Build Trust And Assurance
Customer testimonials, case studies, press mentions; guarantee seals and 3rd party certifications like ISO certifications helps to build trust and confidence to your services and professionalism. Display them on the homepage to create a trust factor with visitors. Try to be strategic about the type of customer testimonials to highlights as well.
An example from Pepper Construction:
Awards on the footer
6. Site Menu navigate easily to critical and popular content
Site navigation is your website’s “table of contents,” which is also known as your sitemap or menu. If your website is an information-centric one and you are consistently producing a ton of content as resources to your clients, then it is important to plan the site links, user-experience to how people would find information. Is there a search bar on the top? Decide if the navigation bar (like horizontal or sticky) works for your homepage. Be sure to check to ensure that all the links work.
7. Use Image and Videos Related to the Copy
To stimulate online growth and engagement, it’s important to produce interesting and relevant content. Text-based content is definitely an integral part of the campaign however attention-grabbing images and videos are the ones that become the cherries on the cake. But always be cautious before adding tons of images or videos that are irrelevant and could mislead or create dullness for the users. If you add a video talking about your product or services or relevant images that show how your services could help the readers then chances of getting qualified leads would increase profusely. It is advisable to use content types that could resonant with people.
8. Keep It Above-The-Fold
Above the Fold is the portion of a web page that is visible without scrolling. With the overwhelming availability of information across the internet, users are spoiled for choice. They have become impatient, and they leave a website that doesn’t offer them information right away. For this reason, users spend majority of their time looking at information above the fold — judging the website. Consequently, website designers and digital marketers with web development and SEO experience give a lot of thought on what goes ‘above-the-fold’. Make your layout support your content; not the other way around. You want the eye to flow from your main message and supporting attributes (testimonials, blog posts, videos, really neat things your business has achieved) right to your conversion points. Remember, your homepage is to achieve your business goal: sales or leads.
Quick Trivia: The term “Above the fold” has originated from the newspaper industry.
Newspapers are usually folded in half before they are put on sale. Since readers can only see the top half of a newspaper, it is imperative for the content above the newspaper’s fold to be compelling — influencing readers to buy a piece. It has, therefore, become a common practice to display a newspaper’s most intriguing stories and graphics above the fold.
During the web’s early days, the above the fold concept was carried over from newspapers to websites.
9. Keep Testing and Optimising
Your website development and update process is iterative. Set a monthly, quarterly diary to run an A/B test, update copy, images, call-to-actions to see what resonates most with users. You can even create two home pages or different product landing pages to test two entirely different site designs and content to see which one is most beneficial in the long run. Your homepage doesn’t just need “traffic”; it needs “right” traffic. One of the biggest challenges most small businesses face today is attracting the right audience on the website. A well-thought and well-designed homepage with all the right components tailored to the needs of target audience could solve this problem. I hope this checklist would help get into action and make relevant updates you need to Convert your homepage into a leads generation tool.
Get online web marketing support with potential 50% co-funding from Regional Business Partners Program for NZ based businesses.
Revive Me Marketing has a free online mini-course to help you Turn your Homepage into a lead generation engine.
It is an introduction to a complete ‘ Get Digital Marketing‘ program to help business transform their business with digital marketing strategy with website refresh, content marketing plan, social media campaign and set-up video marketing actions. To find out more about this approved for 50% co-funded program through NZTE’s Regional Business Partners program, contact Rosalina Pang at email@example.com
To get started, take our FREE Homepage Essentials Makeover online course here.