In many cases, your home page is the first contact a visitor has with your business. Have you ever stopped to think what your home page is saying? “Thank you for coming here, I’ve got just what you need.” Or, “I don’t know who you are. I don’t know what you want and I don’t care.” You want to make sure your first impression is a good one.
Most small businesses I encounter have the wrong idea about what their home page should be. The home page’s main purpose is to capture the attention and interest of the person that lands on it and direct them to the exact place in your website where they can perform an action that you want them to take. Anything that hinders that process is clutter and doesn’t belong on the home page.
But before you can design or redesign your home page, you have to know who you’re designing it for. If you answered, “the boss,” you’re incorrect. You’re designing it for your prospects and customers. So the first question you need to ask is who are they? How many different types of customers do you have? What are their demographics? What problem are they trying to solve? You can’t decide what images, content, navigation, and calls-to-action need to be on your home page until you know who is going to be landing on it and what they want to accomplish when they get there.
The biggest mistake I see small businesses make with a home page is cluttering it up with blog posts, news feeds, boring content, and rotating banners. None of these things belong on the home page.
Here are the top 6 “Don’ts” for home page design:
- Don’t use rotating banners. Visitors won’t see them all and they’re confusing.
- Don’t use just images. You need content too. 350-450 words.
- Don’t use featured products. Use featured categories instead.
- Don’t put your latest news on the home page. No one cares but the CEO.
- Don’t put a video testimonial on the home page.
- Don’t put your social media feeds on the home page.
What you do want are clear calls-to-action that will get your visitors to exactly what they are looking for. Segment your different markets and present a path for each to follow (i.e. wholesale vs. retail, small business vs medium business vs large business, or different niche markets you do business in). When your home page is designed in this manner, you’ll see an increase in conversion rates (sales or lead generation) and a decrease in bounce rates (they leave after looking at just the page they landed on).
In the next installment of “Website Design Basics for Small Busines,” I’m going to cover do’s and don’ts in basic website design for E-commerce sites. Be sure and read the first blog post in this series, “5 Top Web Design Basics for Small Business.”
For more ideas on how your small business can improve your website, download my free ebook, “99 Web Design Remedies for Small Business Success.”
What have been the biggest problems with the home page of your website?