If you’re getting good traffic and your product/service is quality then I know what your main problem is: you have a sucky homepage.
Want to learn how to plan, write and design an effective homepage? Not sure how? Fear not! Here’s a 31 point plan for you… and it can’t get any easier than that!
Your website needs to communicate your brand and your offer quickly and simply on every page. And this process should start with your homepage.
A successful homepage is the biggest success factor to having a sales-converting website.
But before you start implementing anything, have you got your website strategy in place? This is key to achieving the ROI on your website that you deserve. Please take a moment to read my original blog how to create a DIY website strategy before going any further or you’ll be building blind and you won’t get results!
WAIT! Before you touch your homepage…
If you know who your target audience is, their pains, what they want, and how your product is going to help them, you’re already halfway there. If you don’t, then here’s the biggest questions you need to find answers to.
Who are your target audiences?
- Customer type #1 (your ideal client):
- Customer type #2:
- Customer type #3:
What do you want your customer to do?
- Primary Goal #1 (e.g. buy online):
- Primary Goal #2 (e.g. contact you by phone/enquiry form):
- Primary Goal #3 (e.g. sign-up for your newsletter):
What are you offering in exchange for capturing their details?
- Free Resource #1:
- Free Resource #2:
Do you have a sign-up/lead capture form ready to go?
- Email marketing providers like Mailchimp help you create signup forms that you can easily insert on your website which automatically feeds your subscriber list (if in doubt, ask your friendly web geek).
What are the keywords/phrases you want to target for SEO reasons:
- Keyword/phrase #1 (the big kahuna you really want to rank for):
- Keyword/phrase #2:
- Keyword/phrase #3:
- Keyword/phrase #4:
- Keyword/phrase #5:
Now you know about who and what you’re targeting, you can create a smart online strategy.
All you need now is to create a visually pleasing design and then implement smart conversion tactics on your website. Do this and you’ll get a return on your investment… and then some!
So are your marketing ducks all in a row? Awesome! Let’s start on that home page.
OK, now for designing a successful homepage for maximum ROI
This is the very first page a visitor is going to see, and since most people only give you about 7 seconds to impress you need to remember one thing: a clean and clear layout matters.
Your homepage needs to communicate, at a glance, exactly what you do.
The banner is a good place to start, both with the visual and with the words. Then you need a friendly hello spiel, some trust signals that show you’re totally legit, and then you need a way to capture their details as well as clear calls to actions (CTAs) that pulls your visitor deeper into the website.
Now, depending on the nature of your business you might not be able to explain everything you do and how you do it on your homepage, but that’s ok. Less is more… as long as that ‘less’ is effective!
The big idea you must always remember is that your homepage is the beginning of the buyer’s journey. That’s why it needs to quickly engage visitors so they can easily surf through your website pages finding everything they need to know until they ultimately get to the desired action: a conversion!
Alrighty then, let’s look at all the main touch-points of a successful homepage. Go through the list and see what you have.. .and what you don’t. And then systematically make sure you turn every ‘no’ into a ‘yes’ and when you have, you’ll have a sales conversion machine of a website!
- A big phone number top right hand side of your page: yes/no
- Social media icons: yes/no
Branding & Trust Signals
- A professional logo top left hand side: yes/no
- A banner image that with a clickable call to action button: yes/no
- Testimonals: yes/no
- Real photos of you and your business, not just stock images: yes/no
- Logos of any industry memberships: yes/no
Once you’ve got a visually pleasing layout your homepage success comes down to one big idea: content is king. But you shouldn’t just look at the meaning of the words you’re writing. You need to look at HOW the text is being placed too. Everyone hates massive blocks of text; it’s a sure-fire way of turning off a potential customer. So, once you have the words and the message you want, make sure your text is laid out in a visually pleasing way.
Obviously I can’t tell you WHAT to say, but these are the elements to setting out great website content:
- Your welcome mat, an H1 header a ‘welcome, this is what we are’ statement: yes/no
- Your h1 header leads with keyword #1: yes/no
- Your friendly handshake, a nice intro paragraph ‘this is what we do for you’: yes/no
- Your body text is broken up by at least two h2 headers: yes/no
- Your h2 headers read naturally and help your reader skim to the ‘good bits’: yes/no
- Your text includes keywords #1 & 2 at least once: yes/no
- Your text includes synonyms of keywords #1 & #2 at least once: yes/no
- You use bullet points where possible (good for readers and Google): yes/no
- Your sentences are short and to the point. Like this. : yes/no
- Your text is industry-jargon free: yes/no
- You’re talking about them, not you: yes/no
- You’ve spellchecked everything: yes/no
- Body text word count: 250-500 words: yes/no
- Your title tag is unique and leads with keyword #1: yes/no
- Your meta description is less than 160 characters: yes/no
- Your meta description answers ‘what’s in it for me’ and includes keyword #1 and #2: yes/no
- Oh and no yellow highlighted text, like ever: yes/no
Extra engagement tools
- A company welcome video: yes/no
- Latest news/latest products box: yes/no
- A lead capture form above the fold: yes/no
Call to action (CTA):
- Call to action (text or graphic button) asking for primary goal #1 at the top of the page: yes/no
- Call to action (text or graphic button) asking for to primary goal #2 in the middle of the page: yes/no
- At the bottom of the page a big, graphical call to action button (or big text) taking them to your about us page: yes/no
- If you’re an eCommerce, your most popular/most profitable products with a ‘buy now!’ above the fold: yes/no
What do you think? Easy enough right? Sure it is! Like we always say here at Web123, websites aren’t rocket science. Seriously, you’ll improve your conversion rates if you can cover all this. Google is going to like you better too.
Admittedly there’s a lot more you could do to take it further. A/B split testing is something that really makes conversions sky-rocket for example. But for the average small business website this homepage content guide is more than enough to get things rocking along!
You’ll soon see the proof that a website shouldn’t be a cost. It’s an investment.
If in doubt here’s the one rule for designing your homepage: Always, above all else, think about your customer. Make it easy for them to find the info they’re going to want. Make it easy to contact you. Make the path they take inside your site logical. Don’t confuse them, don’t force them to think more than they need to. Tell them where they should go next. Make it eeeeeasy.
Now, good luck and get converting!
This blog was first written for Australian Businesswoman’s Network.
P.S. Later on, I’ll deconstruct the antatomy of an About Us page since that’s the #2 most viewed page after your homepage. Make sure you’ve subscribed to our newsletter so you keep up to date on all the website tricks and tips we’re sharing with our growing community of small business online entrepreneurs!
Agree, disagree or just plain ‘meh’? Would love you to give me some feedback below. I promise I’ll reply to every comment.