You should be thinking about your website as being a green M&M in a bowl full of red M&M’s. In order for you to stand out, you need to do something that makes you distinguishably different from all of the other candies (or businesses in your case) located on the seven continents of the earth.
What makes you unique? Do you stand out from all of the red M&M’s? Your story, brand and mission are different from everyone else. In order to succeed, you need to make your business exclusive. It’s imperative that you stand out from the rest of every other company that is in your field.
Your homepage is a certain interaction that the world will have with your organization, and it makes a big first impression on first time visitors.
Here are 11 home page website design tips and ideas:
1. Make It Immediately Clear Who You Are and What You Do
Your home page is the face of your virtual presence. It should convey who you are and what you do clearly and concisely. A potential client or customer should be able to take in the information that you have displayed and use it to take further action. If your home page doesn’t properly portray your organization, you may lose prospects.
Specify your business field and specific services. Be sure to make more information available on either one of those topics by adding buttons and links. It’s not a visitors job to figure out your website as they go. Your responsibility is to create a well-designed website that clearly displays information and guides a visitor to take action.
2. Leave the Slider/Carousel Behind
We’ve mentioned in previous posts that sliders/carousels are a thing of the past. Their main goal was to deliver more information at a faster rate, but what often happens is an adverse effect. They create a scientifically proven phenomenon known as “banner blindness.” Instead of providing the visitor with an influx of more information, it causes sensory overload and leads to less retention of data.
Build digestible content areas that guide the visitor. The goal isn’t to overwhelm them, but to enhance their experience.
3. Use Visual Cues to Direct the Flow of Information
As stated previously, it’s not the visitors job to stumble their way through your website. It’s your responsibility to guide them with visual cues that direct the flow of information.
You can’t just expect a user to understand that there’s more content below a full-screen section. Signal them using arrows—
or other design elements like navigation bubbles—
or a sub-menu for the page. Be sure to make your arrows or bubble icons clickable and functional.
4. Only Use High-Quality, Authentic Images
Stock images are becoming a thing of the past. The same images have been recycled over and over again. Large and small business alike are beginning to blur together with their salvage of the same pictures.
Companies that invest in authentic brand photography not only stand out from the rest of the world, but give visitors the impression that your organization is the taking the initiative to do things correctly.
Brand photography will make your homepage and every other page on your website standout from the competition.
5. Treat Your Home Page Like a Portal into the Rest of Your Website
Your home page is the lobby of your website. Sure, not everyone will enter that way first, but quite a few will.
What you want to do is offer them a variety of routes to take. The home page should be a portal into the rest of your website, so be sure to include plenty of links sending the user further into information. Link your services. Add buttons to learn more about any of your main points.
Remember, you’re the docent of your website. The visitor is not on a self guided tour.
6. Have Call-to-Actions and Next Steps
There is a common phenomenon out there about Target. Everyone who walks through the door hoping to purchase one item, usually leaves with a cart full of goodies. The reason for this is partly due to the way Target advertisements within their stores and the placements of goods. Now, we’re not advocating for you to sell something to a client that doesn’t need it, but we are saying that you should present certain opportunities for clients if they feel compelled to take action.
Not everyone shows up looking to buy, but you want to make certain you have opportunities for the next steps to be taken. This easily manifests as a “contact us” button on your navigation bar or an end-of-page call to action with a button leading to the contact page.
7. Show Product Photos
Are you a product-based business? If so, it’s mission critical to show off your products with high-quality images. Your homepage is a great space for creatively showcasing the benefits and usages of your products with developmental functions and design elements.
Enhance the users experience by giving them an idea of what it is your product does and what it can do for them.
8. Consider Passing the Baton to a Video
Feature videos are making a splash in the website design world. Consider adding a button or embed somewhere on the home page. Just be certain that this video is high quality and that the main information is conveyed elsewhere on the home page. You don’t want to assume that every user is just going to come in and view the video.
Many users view portions of videos or ignore them all together. The rest of the page should be ready for that by compensating for visitors who are not interested in the media being offered. Try to appeal to those who are looking for light reading over viewing a video.
9. Make it Load Lightning Fast
A user shouldn’t have the ability to travel across the country to visit their grandmother and return after two weeks to find your homepage still loading when they sit down in front of the computer.
The home page, like any and every page on your website, should load at a lightning fast speed. We’re talking within 2 seconds maximum. Otherwise, the user isn’t going to stick around for long.
You wouldn’t want to wait around forever and your website visitors feel the same way.
10. Add Tasteful Social Proof If Appropriate
You’re doing exciting things and you should be sharing them with your visitors. Social proof can be a game changer if it’s appropriate to your business type. It acts as proof that you are trustworthy and credible. You can showcase this with testimonials, media clippings, blurbs, reviews and so on.
Don’t be a mysterious. You want to be as personal as possible. A potential client isn’t going to feel compelled to interact with an organization that appears to be run by robots. Relatable content is what will drive a user to take action.
11. Test, Test, Test, Test and Test Again
If NASA can do hundreds of tests on a daily basis, then you can test your website and check for bugs before going live. Be sure to test it on everything. Every device and browser should be taken into consideration. Make sure that it works well and doesn’t suffer from formatting imperfections on a particular platform.
Your website is the product of time spent and money invested. It would be a shame to waste all of the effort you put into making your website a functional and well-designed marketing tool.
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