Imagine landing on a homepage, and after taking a gander, you have no clue as to what the website is about, or what your next step(s) should be. Chances are, that isn’t too far fetched of an idea, as it has probably happened to you. As it is in so many cases around the web, many homepages lack a good foundation, confuse visitors, and ultimately fail to draw people in.
With your homepage being one of the first (and possibly only) chances to make a first impression to your targeted audience, it’s vital to make a good first impression. While the age-old adage of “don’t judge a book by it’s cover” comes to mind, in this instance, you should shove that saying back into the corner of your mind. Truth be told, your homepage for your website can determine whether a user leaves frustrated, or chooses to explore further. This is why you should, no need, to effectively communicate what your website is about as clearly and quickly as you can on your home page.
With leaving that first impression in your user’s mouth’s, your homepage needs to establish credibility, and trust. Showing visitors how to get to where they want to be, as well as exposing them to the wonderful things your site has to offer, is just part of what a homepage should do.
To further break it down, we formulated the top five items your homepage should have:
- Branding Elements
While this may seem like a no-brainer, many websites lack branding elements that help users know who they are. By having branding elements, i.e. your logo, and a tagline, you’re helping visitors get to know who you are and what you are doing. A simple logo or ID can help people to visually understand your company or brand, while a tagline helps to inform users of your purpose. Say for instance your company is “JoJo’s Flying Monkeys” and you do just that - sell Flying Monkeys, the first thing you would want a visitor to see is your awesomely designed flying monkey logo, and your tagline of “the best Flying Monkey Reseller this side of Oz!”. Both are key elements in making sure your presence and purpose is clear and to the point.
- Information Architecture
When users visit your site, some of the first questions that pop into their minds are “What do they have/show/sell/etc”? and “What can I do here?” In order for them to answer these questions effectively, you need to have some sort of information architecture in place. This is a way to have your site organized so users can have the best user experience when searching for their answers. Possibly one of the easiest ways to do this, is to have a clear navigation menu in place. So when they go to your site looking for flying monkeys, they know exactly where they can buy them, the care instructions for said flying monkeys, and how they can return them (we hear they aren’t too good at being house broken).
- Clear & Consistent Labels
While each website varies in it’s purpose, they all have just that - a purpose. A website won’t serve it’s purpose if users cannot find what they are looking for. This is where clear and consistent labels come into play. Having things lain out in a way that all users can perform their desired action. This could be as simple as a login feature, a search bar, browsing by category or a view my shopping cart, but ensuring they are marked clearly, and in the same location on every page. If users have to search for where to login to see the status of their flying monkey purchase, then chances are they will get frustrated and you could potentially lose a customer.
- Updated Content
Making sure your site has fresh, continually up to date content is one of the most important things a homepage can have. This is not only a sure way to keep users coming back for more, but it shows new users and search engines that your site is not neglected. A simple way to do that, is to have a blog. A blog is a good way to put fresh content on your site, while also gaining a better web presence overall. That way all of those flying monkey owners are drawn back to your site to learn new training techniques and new products they can buy for their gangs of flying monkeys, amongst other valuable, unique insights your company has to offer.
Now, we aren’t talking about the “Can’t catch me - na na na na boo boo” kind of teasing, but the teases where people are intrigued by what you have to say and are willing to dive deeper to see what you have to offer. By hinting at all the great new flying monkey breeds your company has to offer (yes, there are more than one breed of flying monkeys), people are enticed to continue on to the rest of your site.
One of the easiest ways to see if your website homepage falls short, is to ask someone outside of your business to take a look, and see if they can navigate. Since people within your organization may not see what your page is missing, sometimes it’s good to have an objective point of view. Overall, people are going to be drawn to your site if it conveys the big picture, and is easy to navigate. Chances are, if you have these key elements on your homepage, visitors will leave with a satisfied user experience.
If you’re interested in revamping your website’s homepage, or have any other questions, feel free to contact the nest! We’re always eager to help get you started on your latest and greatest projects!