Have you ever visited a brand’s homepage on their website to learn more about their products or services, but couldn’t quite understand what the message was?
The graphics may be pretty, but what exactly do they do?
People pay anywhere from, well, nothing, for their business website (the DIYers) to tens of thousands of dollars in web design. Imagine paying all that money only to leave browsers (and potential customers) scratching their heads wondering what your company does? It’s a forehead slapper, but it happens more than you know.
There are tons of poorly designed homepages out there that look aesthetically pleasing, but don’t actually convey the brand’s message or any direction whatsoever. These are the businesses that don’t end up getting much business because all they do is confuse their visitors.
Want to learn the essential elements that your homepage needs to avoid deterring your visitors?
We can help.
Your Homepage Vs. A Landing Page
First thing’s first—it’s important to understand the difference between your homepage a landing page (or pages), as these are not interchangeable and serve very different purposes.
The fundamental differences between the two types of web pages are their goal and the users’ intent.
Your homepage is where you set the stage for your brand. It’s the place that satisfies your visitors’ informational needs and inspires them to continue scrolling through your other pages at their own leisure.
A landing page is where you direct your customers so they can satisfy their more immediate informational needs and accomplish a more specific goal. That goal would often be to enlist your services or buy your products. An example of a landing page would be a page you build or have built to run a specific Facebook or Google ad to. It’s basically a “go here and do this” page.
The 5 Essential Elements of a Successful Homepage
Many business owners tend to direct more of their efforts into their landing pages to increase their sales conversions, neglecting the layout and aesthetics of their homepage.
That’s their first mistake.
Their second mistake is having the web designer create a homepage geared towards them rather than their target audience. What the boss thinks isn’t nearly as important as what your potential customers think.
So, what exactly makes a homepage a success?
For starters, you need to ensure that you’re incorporating the following essential elements:
A Unique Selling Proposition
Your unique selling proposition (USP) is the reason why a consumer should choose you over your competitors. It’s in the title- “unique”!
Your USP is meant to set clear expectations for your customers while highlighting what makes you worth their while. It’s your one-of-a-kind brand promise that nobody else can offer them.
The trick to creating an eye-catching USP is to get specific about the best benefit your products or services have to offer in just three lines—a headline, a supporting headline, and a closing argument.
Your headline is the bold statement of what you’re offering, your supporting headline encompasses the details of that offering, and your closing line is the assurance as to why customers should choose you.
Use Domino’s, for example. Their USP is “You get fresh, hot pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes or less—or it’s free.” Well, that’s old, but you get the point.
An Engaging Hero Image
The hero image is the visual representation of what you’re offering—and we’re not just talking about products or services.
Think of it this way: When you go out to a new restaurant, you’re not just paying for dinner and drinks—you’re paying for the experience.
It’s that experience that you need to communicate with your audience.
So, choose an image that represents your brand that also resonates with your audience in a way that evokes their emotions and can really make them imagine themselves using your products or services.
One of the most overlooked components of any homepage is its navigation. Having intuitive navigation is critical, especially for first-time visitors.
If your audience arrives on your homepage but can’t find what they need without getting confused, they’ll likely abandon their informational journey altogether and see what your competitors have to offer.
Motivational Social Proof
In one of our recent posts, we talked about the importance of using social proof to persuade purchase decisions.
Social proof is a way to illustrate your customers’ experiences with your products or services. By proudly displaying your social proof on your homepage, whether it be review snippets or testimonials, you’ll be able to quickly gain your visitors’ trust.
A Strong Call-to-Action
Your call-to-action (CTA) is the entire reason for including all of the above elements on your homepage. It’s essential to take your browser by the hand and lead them into taking the action you want them to take.
You’d be amazed at how many websites we see with no call to action. Businesses that want phone calls but don’t put their number on the homepage. Companies that want forms filled out but don’t have a simple contact form. We could go on and on.
In fact, it’s a smart idea to include a CTA on every page of your website!
Your CTA is the stand-alone button that provokes your visitors to take action. A strong CTA will echo your USP while cleverly articulating what your visitors will get once they become a customer.
If you don’t have one, you run a huge risk of losing out on the majority of potential conversions. It’s like going through a sales pitch and not asking for the business.
Consider this: a goldfish supposedly has an attention span of 6-8 seconds. Browsers to your website are there 2-5 seconds before deciding what to do next. This means that unless your target market includes goldfish, you need to make what you want visitors to do super simple and clear.
If you want your homepage to resonate with your visitors and lead them on the right path to taking action, then you can’t skip over the above essential elements. You need to ensure that your homepage jives with your visitors and makes them want to learn more.
If you find yourself struggling with your homepage redesign, we have the web designer just for you. It’s us. Reach out to us today to learn more about how we can breathe new life into your website as well as help you drive more traffic to your site with SEO, Facebook Ads, and more.