The first page on your website– the home page– can be tricky. Generally, we want each page on a website to have one, simple goal– to make sure that your users don’t have any confusion about what the next step is. But the home page has to do more.
To understand why, think about the clear goals that other pages might have. If you are a dog trainer, your “About” page probably helps your customers get to know you, decide that you are the right trainer for their dog, and the call to action– the prominently featured statement and ‘next-step’ link– is to visit your contact page to email you and get started.
Your Services page, for customers who perhaps already know you elsewhere or just read the About page, probably also has the contact page as its primary goal.
But the home page has a few goals:
- Some who land on your home page might have seen an advertisement for your service, and they might be looking for the service or deal you mentioned.
- They might have searched for a specific service and they’re wondering if you offer that.
- They might be comparing you and your competitors and want to get to know you and you company a little bit.
- They might not be certain that you have the right solution for their challenge and need to see a testimonial.
As a result, your home page may look different structurally from your other pages. We like to see only one call to action on the other main pages on your website– a dog can’t chase two rabbits.
But your home page is serving customers that may be at different stages in the process of buying. They might be looking to learn more– in which you direct them to more info– or they might be closer to buying, so that you can encourage them to contact you as the next step.
How to design a home page that gets results
Imagine you are designing a custom chef’s kitchen. You plan a spot for the fridge, a sink, a dishwasher, an oven– and there are good patterns for where these tools should go. When you work in a kitchen that go against these patterns, the difference is not refreshing. It’s frustrating!
But have you ever been in a well-designed kitchen? It minimizes steps between commonly-used tools. Everything is at your fingertips when you need it. It’s a delightful experience. You don’t have to think; you just cook.
In a way, your website is like that kitchen. Instead of being a way to express artistic creativity, it’s a system of tools for accomplishing a goal. For your site, that goal may be:
- selling a product
- booking an appointment
- generating a new lead
Make that action as easy as possible! The fewer steps between “point A” and “point B”, the more delighted and refreshed your customers will be. Just like cooking in a well-designed kitchen, you’ll have good results in no time.
So if your website follows the same pattern as “everyone else’s”… that’s not a bad thing! Customers will thank you for having the information they want, right where they expect it.
Elements of a successful home page
Your logo should be in the upper left corner. Navigation should be in the top right, or right underneath on its own line in the header area. Pages for a service business should include:
- Services (If you sell products, use “Shop,” “Store,” or “Catalog”)
If you have more than that, consider how you can pare it down. If customers have too many options, they may experience “choice paralysis” and back out.
You may have pages that are important that don’t fit in the menu at the top of the page. That’s ok! But consider whether these pages are so important and so self-explanatory that they should be the very first thing your customer sees. Or are they more important to your customer later in the purchase decision process? If so, consider folding them into one of the main pages, or tucking them into a sub menu. Or, include them in a “mega-menu” or “quick links” at the bottom of the page.
If you’re thinking, “OK, but where do my reviews and testimonials go?”, good question! I like to spread them out over all the pages, not corral them all in one page.
If a customer is browsing your page deeply, with intent to become a customer, they’re going to have questions as they go along.
On your home page, they might be wondering: is this person legit, or are they fly-by-night and likely to ghost me? You could place a review that responds to these concerns right on your home page– perhaps a review from a longtime customer, if that’s possible and if it fits your business, or maybe a review that mentions how responsive and communicative you are.
On your services page, they might wonder what you’re like to work with. Place a testimonial or review that highlights that in a prominent place, and you are much more likely to convert that interested person into a genuine lead.
If you’ve been in business for a while and don’t have testimonials like these, consider changing your process to include getting this kind of feedback.
If you’ve followed the above advice, you’ve got a blueprint for a great website home page, and some ideas for other pages, too. To implement these ideas into an amazing site that will be your new lead-generating hero, get in touch with me today!