Part 2 - Keep Visitors on Your Page with Better Homepage Content
As we stated in our last post, the presentation and design of your homepage is one of the most important aspects of your company’s website.
The homepage serves as a sort of virtual first impression, one which can influence your visitors’ opinion of your company and whether or not they continue to engage with your brand.
Implementing specific design elements in your homepage, such as utilizing the right fonts, choosing an attractive color scheme and keeping your layout simple, can help skyrocket your site’s usability and ultimately its viewership among potential customers.
For the next part of our three-part segment, we’re focusing on the specific content that should be present on your homepage to provide your site’s visitors with the most impressive, effective and user-friendly experience possible.
There are a lot of components here. And we would love to see all of them on every website's homepage; above the fold even.
However, that would lead to an overwhelming experience for your user.
There are also elements that are vital for a B2B company that a B2C company might not need on their page.
This list is designed to be a basic outline of the necessities for every homepage, with a few areas that might be set aside on their own page; all of which we will outline below.
As for homepage content basics, here are the 12 fundamentals for every website that you could and should include.
1. A Stellar Headline
The headline on your homepage should do a slew of things immediately:
- It should welcome your viewers
- It needs to give them an immediate sense of what your site offers
- It ought to entice them to continue scanning over the rest of your homepage
Think carefully about the font and color scheme of your headline:
- Avoid fonts that are too intricate
- Stay away from colors that are too bright or don’t contrast well together
- Use action language and keywords
You want your headline to be as easy to read and absorb as possible, without being boring.
A company sometimes has a tag-line or a catch phrase that they use to further identify who they are or what they do. The headline is often where the catch phrase is put.
In addition, companies use headlines to promote different campaigns, or seasonal activities.
The non-profit organization Project AK-47 packs a punch with their headline. Not only does it hit you right between the eyes, but it pierces your heart. Their organization, which rescues enslaved children out of southeastern Asia has decided to use tough love to get more sponsors.
2. A Sub-Headline That Connects the Dots
The subheadline is where the logo and the headline meet.
It is where you tie together your brand and your mission.
Some companies use this area to give a brief description about themselves or about what they offer.
It is a stellar chance to be bold and stand out.
If your website visitor has taken the time to read your content this far, you probably no longer have a stranger to your website, but a lead.
The website for Omoda Health has a very simple homepage with nothing more than their logo, a powerful headline and a sub-headline that gives you an idea of what they do. The language they use is intriguing and gives you the feeling that you want to know more.
3. Company/Product Features
You want your visitors to know what your company can offer them, and you don’t want them to have to navigate to your “About Us” page to find it out.
Strategically placing a couple of company and product features on your homepage can help give your visitors a distinct sense of what your company can do for them without bombarding them with too much information.
Keep your features content to a minimum by offering the highlights of your product and then giving them a clear way to navigate to another page on your website for more information.
Listing everything your product or service can do for your potential customers on your homepage can be overwhelming.
In addition, having so many words coming at them at once might ultimately cause them to bounce from your website altogether.
Keep in mind that 97% of visitors will never return to your website again - you essentially have one chance to get their attention.
Arrington Vineyards, just south of Nashville, Tennessee, gets our vote for a great product showcase, in addition to showing their product in appealing and relevant visual images. Not only does the visitor get an idea that the grapes are grown right on the hillsides of Tennessee, but of the atmosphere of the winery via the scrolling photography on their page.
4. Company/Product Benefits
In addition to the features of your product, showcase the benefits your visitor gets when they buy your product. Why will it matter when they purchase your product? How will it be of value to them if they buy and what advantages are there to having your product or service over the competition?
If your product is highly technical, or has a longer sales funnel period than other companies, then additional information on your product is pertinent to obtaining more leads; a benefits section on your homepage is a must.
5. A Call-to-Action
Placing a call-to-action on your homepage is a great way to offer your viewers something tangible upon their visit, as well as drive conversions for your site.
Remember that the vast majority of people who visit your site won’t be ready to buy from you, so a call-to-action that’s too deep in the buying cycle might be unsuccessful. Focus on offering them quality information on more neutral topics that are likely to be relevant to their lives.
An example of a call-to-action could be to sign up for your email list, or to download a whitepaper with industry related information about your product.
Some companies go right for the punch.
Video giant Netflix isn't afraid to ask for the deal up front. But they have also been around a while, have a well-established brand identity and their reputation for great service is hard to beat.
6. Relevant, Appealing Photos
Your choice of photos on your homepage can be a huge influence on the movement of your site’s visitors.
It is important establish a visual camaraderie with them by selecting pictures that are relevant and cohesive with the rest of your homepage’s design, and work to establish a connection to your company philosophy and the overall temperament of your brand.
Remember that your viewers are likely to react more strongly to pictures, and will be much quicker to engage with a photograph than a wall of text.
Be conscientious of where you place photographs on your homepage, and work to achieve the most attractive layout possible.
When your layout and photographs jive well together, your viewers will be in a comfortable state of mind and more likely to continue browsing through your site, getting to know both your company and your particular brand.
Again, the website for Arrington Vineyards is a notable example of using visuals together with text to achieve a homepage message that is very clear.
7. Access to Resources
According to HubSpot, 96% of your website visitors are not yet ready to buy. Company resources such as a blog with industry related information and basic product information are an excellent way to move visitors throughout your website.
Without bombarding your viewers with walls of text on the homepage, you can offer them access to relevant content should they browse long enough to develop a curiosity.
Selecting which content you display on your homepage is a bit tricky, however, when you consider that the majority of your viewers are not prepared to make purchases from your company upon first visiting your site.
Stick to content that is relevant within your industry or company circle, and make certain that it is well-written and high quality. If you want to simplify your viewers’ access to your content, place a link to your blog in your navigation bar or a link to a particularly strong piece of content somewhere on your home page.
8. Awards and Industry Recognition
One thing that will speak to your company’s penchant for success is a showcase of your awards and accolades.
If your company has worked hard and honestly enough to be the recipient of awards, why not make those awards work for you by advertising them on your homepage?
When a viewer sees that you’ve been recognized within your industry, especially multiple times, they’re likely to feel much more confident perusing your brand for a possible purchase or engagement.
As you can see, the way you choose and organize the content on your homepage can have a great effect on your viewers’ experiences of your website.
Carefully planning and selecting the content you allow to appear on your homepage can influence your users to continue browsing, engage further with your brand and possibly become a customer.
If you have many awards, recognitions and achievements from over the years that you want to showcase, perhaps an entire page dedicated to your success would be a better option.
Yes, we highlighted the HubSpot homepage in our first Homepage Fundamentals Blog for their design work on establishing their identity.
In this blog, we highlight them again, because their identity is marked by so many hallmarks of the industry and top honors in a business that fights tooth and nail for customers. HubSpot is proud of where they are and they aren't afraid to wave an orange flag to show it.
9. Customer Testimonials
Customer proof is one of the best ways to show your website visitors that what you have to offer is valid.
Add one or two of the most powerful quotes from your best customers along with a photograph or their name and your company and product credibility instantly take a step upward.
You might also consider dedicating an entire page to customer endorsements for an added splash of trustworthiness and integrity to your website and product as a whole.
No, it's not above the fold, but the customer testimonials for OfficeSpace Software are one of the biggest hits on their homepage. Additionally, they have an entire page dedicated just to their happy customers.
10. Social Icons
This point is kind of a no-brainer.
If you have a website and are doing any type of inbound marketing via social media, then putting your icons out for every visitor to see and hopefully connect with is necessary.
Increase your following, your chances of getting more leads and attracting more visitors to your website.
11. Business Information
Although it is not vital for all websites, some companies need their basic business information front and center on their homepage.
Things like address, phone number and sometimes even the names of company owners or other high ranking employees are necessary to do business on a local level.
And let's face it, how many times have you gone to a website hoping to find the phone number of a company and not been able to find it?
As you can see, in addition to remarkable design, the way you choose and organize the content on your homepage can have a great effect on your viewers’ experience of your website.
Carefully planning and selecting the content you allow to appear on your homepage can influence your users on whether or not they continue to browse, engage further with your brand and possibly become a customer.
Join us next for Part 3 of our series on Essential Homepage Elements - The Technical Stuff. This is going to get chewy.