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What Makes A Good Website Home Page

Your website can be the first and only impression potential customers will ever have of your business. People have short attention spans, studies suggest you have 2-3 seconds to get their attention before they leave your site.

Having a carefully constructed home page greatly increases your chance of converting visitors into customers. Check out this guide for key requirements the home page of your website should have to properly optimize it for conversions.

Page Structure

the basic layout of a webpage

Before we start to look at the actual content of our webpage it is first important to understand the basics of how a page is constructed.

The page is basically built up using blocks, each block forms part of the page. Our page will consist of the following blocks; Menu Bar, Landing Screen, Multiple Page Sections and a Footer.

Throughout the page we will be creating elements that Search Engines will use to understand the overall theme of the page and understand the importance of each element.

We also need to think about the experience of the user when they access the website, if the site is hard to navigate or understand they will quickly leave. The goal of our home page is to spike a users interest and draw them further into our site where we can provide more information and increase our conversion chances.

You will notice in the image there is a dotted blue line called the fold. The content above the fold is your most valuable space on the page, this is what your visitor will see when they first visit your website. The impression a user gets of your above the fold content will determine whether they scroll further or immediately leave so its needs to be good!

The landing screen

Approximately 90% of what your visitor will see when they visit your website, this is where you will keep or lose them. If your landing area looks old and outdated that is the impression people will have of your business, check out our guide on web design trends for inspiration on a modern design.

For our landing area we will want to include; High Quality Image / Video, Our Value Proposition, Keyword Rich Heading Copy, Main Call to Action and a Prompt to Scroll.

example of landing area on a website

High Quality Image / Video

A picture tells a thousand words, choose something that represents your products / services or your ideal customers can relate to.

Value Proposition

This is the first text on the website and should tell the user what you do. The item should be marked up as your main heading so that search engines know what the page is about and should contain your main keyword.

Keyword Rich Heading Copy

This is not a long piece of text but should briefly explain a bit more about what you do and how it benefits users. Again include keywords relevant to your industry so that search engines can better understand your page. But, make sure you write for humans, repeating your keyword over and over again (known as keyword stuffing) will just irritate readers and is now ignored by search engines.

Main Call to Action

This is the same primary action as you include in your menu bar. It is the main thing you want the user to do. The more times they see the instruction you are trying to give them the more likely they are to follow it.

Prompt to Scroll

While everyone is used to scrolling down a webpage they often don't, people often see the landing area and click the back button on their browser and go back to their search results to check out another website. Adding a visual prompt to scroll can help to get people to look further. Try reducing the height of the landing area so part of the next section is showing as people's curiosity will naturally prompt them to scroll to complete the picture. Or, add a bouncing icon like a down arrow, the movement will grab their attention and they are more likely to follow the instruction.

Page Sections

Each section should be a distinct topic and be marked up with its own header, use hierarchical heading tags so search engines understand the relevance to the main topic.

Try to add a visual element to each section to grab user's attention as they scroll. Page load times are part of search engines ranking algorithms so overuse of video should be avoided, it will slow down load time negatively effecting your rankings.

Each section should have Keyword rich copy that explains the section, this adds relevance for search engines. The text should also give users an overview of the benefits using your product or service will bring them. The section should lead users further into your site so a link to another part of the site is required.

For example, a website for an accounting firm could have a section for each of its services. The Tax Preparation service would have a brief section advising that by using their services you will save time doing your own taxes and get a larger tax return. The section would include a button with a compelling Call To Action, such as 'Get a Bigger Tax Return', which would take the user to the tax preparation service page where full details can be provided about the services they perform.

Sections to include

Not all sections will work for every business but these (in no particular order) are the things you should if possible include in your home page.

About US

Details about the Company / Person. This section is about building your brand and establishing yourself as an authority within your industry to build trust. If possible try to add logos of professional associations you are a member of, if you have won awards highlight them here.

Best Sellers

If you have an Ecommerce website quickly show your most popular products on the home page so people can find them easily. Also make sure your product pages have links to similar products or a 'people who bought X also bought' section to draw users further into your site to increase the chances of selling multiple products.

Services

Just as you would with a product highlight your most popular services to draw people further into your site.

Recommendations

Building social proof greatly increases your conversion odds, include a video review on your home page or scroll a few text reviews. People know these reviews could be made up by the business so where possible link the review to external review platforms. By showing good customer experiences you are building trust in your company.

Press / Clients

Has you business been highlighted in publications? highlight them and link to the articles to again build your industry authority. No press, if you have well known clients, either large organizations or local businesses show them as clients, if people see you work with a company they know they will be more likely to trust your business by association.

Lead Magent

You will never get every visitor to your site to become a client. Create an offer they can claim for free in return for the email address add them to your email marketing list and you have another chance of converting them later. A lot of sites use pop-up's for the lead magnet, truth be told most people immediately close these without reading them so add the lead magnet as its own section towards the bottom of your home page to increase the likelihood of people providing their details.

the footer

Often neglected by people the footer is often somewhat of an after thought but as it is repeated on every page it is a valuable resource. An optimized footer should provide useful information to users, include; Navigation, Address & Map, Hours, Contact Form, Social Links, Policy Links & Copyright.

example of footer on a website

Navigation

Depending on the size of your website this is a good place to create additional links to non top level pages to give users another chance to discover them. Smaller website could include the whole site navigation again, this creates additional internal links to the pages which can boost your search rankings.

Address & Map

Not only does it make it easy for users to quickly see where you are located without having to navigate to a contact page. But, additional location resources on your page will increase your ranking in Local Searches, essential if you are trying to drive foot traffic to a brick and mortar location or if you operate within a service area.

Hours

Let users know when you are open! having customer arrive at a location that is closed is bad for business. Showing opening hours will also shape user expectations to contact requests made through your site.

Contact Form

Adding a quick contact or quote form to your footer provides an additional resource to allow customers to reach you without having to navigate to your contact form. The less clicks a person has to make to complete a task increases the likelihood of the action being taken.

Social Links

A lot of people put social media links at the top or fixed to the side of the page for easy access. The problem with this is you are highlighting a way for users to leave your website, as soon as they hit a social media profile they can be distracted by notifications and content and never return to your site. Ensure that these links are set to open up new browser tabs so that your website stays open as that will increase the chance of them returning.

Policy Links

Make sure you include links to any relevant policy documents, such as your Terms and Conditions or Privacy Policy. Don't forget you are legally required to have a Privacy policy. Why you need a Privacy Policy explains why you must have this policy on your website.

Copyright

The very last thing on your webpage is your copyright, make sure you keep it up to date. If you copyright is out of date people will assume your content is to!

Need help with your home page?

If your website is missing out on some of these optimization techniques, or you think it could do with a general update, check out our Web Design services to see how we can improve the look and functionality of your site. Or fill out the form and we will get right back to you.

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