Originally published on theodysseyonline.com
Ask any professional web developer and he or she will agree: The homepage is the single most important part of your website. Because it's the first page most visitors see, it will affect your website's overall performance. A well-designed homepage encourages visitors to browse content and interact with your online brand. A poorly designed homepage, on the other hand, will likely drive visitors away from your website. Whether you operate an e-commerce store or any other website, the seven following tips will help you build the perfect homepage.
1. Use Clear and Simple Navigation
An effective homepage requires clear and simple navigation. If visitors can't easily find or use the navigation links on your homepage, they'll probably leave and never return. To keep visitors on your website, you must build your homepage with clear and simple navigation. You can use a vertical sidebar menu, a horizontal below-the-header menu or both types of menus, but each navigation link should be clearly displayed so that visitors can easily find and use them.
2. Explain the Purpose of Your Website
When building your homepage, use this opportunity to explain the purpose of your website. You can't expect every visitor to know what your website does or offers. It's not uncommon for up to half of a website's traffic to consist of returning visitors. And unless a user has previously visited your website, he or she won't know what it's about. By explaining the purpose of your website on the homepage, first-time visitors are more likely to stay.
3. Include Brand Imagery
Don't forget to include brand imagery in your homepage's design. All websites have a brand. It's the collection of elements that make a website, or a business that operates a website, unique from its competitors. Brand imagery, as the name suggests, are visual elements such as logos, fonts, colors, and text. They help visitors distinguish your website from the millions of other websites on the internet.
Follow these tips to include brand imagery in your homepage's design:
• Use a color scheme that's consistent with the rest of your website's pages.
• Include your website's official logo at the top and bottom of your homepage.
• Choose fonts that reflect your website's identity.
• Create a custom header featuring your website's name and brand colors.
• Create and upload a favicon featuring a scaled-down version of your website's logo.
• Avoid using generic stock photos and, instead, create your own photos using a camera and graphic design software.
• If your website has a slogan, display it either in the header or below the header.
4. Take Advantage of Whitespace
In addition to brand imagery, you should take advantage of whitespace in your homepage's design. Defined as blank or otherwise unused space around an object, whitespace promotes a cleaner and more concise design. It keeps visitors focuses on meaningful parts of your homepage, such as the body text and brand imagery while improving your homepage's aesthetics in the process. Statistics even show the use of whitespace increases reading comprehension by 20 percent.
"Keep in mind, whitespace doesn't have to be white. It can be any single color or combination of colors," stated the CEO of WNY Holdings LLC. By definition, whitespace is any unused space around an object in a web page's design. It doesn't serve any functional purpose. Rather, it encourages visitors to focus on more meaningful areas of the web page.
5. Create a CTA
A call to action (CTA) is an important component of a homepage. Typically consisting of a linked and clickable button, it guides visitors to the next step of your website's conversion process. Without a CTA, visitors won't know how to complete your website's conversion process, resulting in poor performance for your website.
It's a common myth that CTAs, whether on a homepage or elsewhere, should always be placed above the fold. While you may attract more clicks with an above-the-fold CTA, you could attract even more clicks with a below-the-fold CTA. The only way you'll know is by split testing different placements. After running two different versions of your homepage, one with an above-the-fold CTA and another with a below-the-fold CTA, you'll know which placement works best for your website.
6. Display Contact Information
Transparency is essential for a high-performing and effective homepage. If your homepage doesn't show your business's contact information, visitors will assume you have something to hide. With data breaches at an all-time high, consumers have become increasingly cautious when choosing websites with which to interact.
You can still create a separate "Contact Us" page, but your homepage should show your business's name, phone number, and address. If your business doesn't have a physical address, consider opening a post office box. The nominal cost of a post office box, about $20 to $100 per six months, is a small price to pay for the transparency it offers to your homepage.
7. Highlight Customer Reviews or Testimonials
Adding positive customers or testimonials to your homepage can have a positive impact on your website's performance. Research shows nearly four in five consumers are influenced by customer reviews and testimonials. Before purchasing a product or service from a business, many consumers will search for reviews from the business's past customers. Assuming the business has a high ratio of positive to negative reviews, consumers will feel more comfortable making a purchase.
You shouldn't create fake customer reviews to use on your homepage. Internet-savvy visitors can easily distinguish between legitimate and fake customer reviews. So, where can you acquire customer reviews to use on your homepage? Go through your website's email account while searching for emails in which customers praise your website or business.
The adage "You only get one chance to make a first impression" rings true for your website. Visitors will often decide whether to leave or continue browsing your website based strictly on its homepage. If your homepage fails to capture visitors' attention, you can expect less traffic and fewer conversions with your website.
About WNY Holdings LLC:
WNY Holdings was started in 2018 to provide industry-leading marketing services for small businesses. The founders are a husband and wife team, Ben and Melissa, who left their corporate jobs to specialize in helping restaurants, coffee shops, and retailers utilize tailored digital marketing strategies to attract visitors and turn them into loyal customers.