Does your website home page have a higher bounce rate than you would like? Do you wonder what you can do to keep visitors engaged and browsing your company’s products or services?
In this digital age with the overabundance of information just a few keystrokes away, our attention spans are shorter than ever. You only have about five seconds from when someone lands on your website’s home page for that person to figure out what you do and how that will help them solve a problem. Some people call this the “granny test.” Can a grandmother quickly figure out what you do by looking at your website’s home page?
To pass the “granny test,” you need to organize the information on your website’s home page in a simple way for the people you are trying to attract. It should be easy to navigate to the information they care about so that they do not have to work to find it themselves. If you confuse them, you’ll lose them!
Many of us, especially in technical fields, have the ‘Curse of Knowledge.’ We talk over our customer’s heads because we know our product so well and want to show that knowledge. You need to simplify your message and communicate it very clearly. Move the in-depth content to your website’s subpages.
Four tips to keep in mind for creating a great home page for your website:
1. Have a great tagline!
A tagline is a very efficient way to get your message across, because it is the one place – under the logo or beside the logo – on your website home page and marketing materials where users most expect to find a concise statement of the site’s purpose. It must characterize the whole enterprise, summing up what you do, and what makes you great!
Great taglines should:
- Be memorable
- Engage the reader
- Communicate a key benefit
- Capture the personality of the organization
- Distinguish your organization from others
- Reinforce your broader goals
- Convey a value proposition
Don’t confuse a tagline with a motto. Mottoes are lofty and reassuring, but if I don’t know what the company does, a motto doesn’t tell me. (“we bring good things to life,” “your in good hands,” or “to protect and serve,”)
Examples of Great Taglines:
- Zipcar: Wheels when you want them
- OpenTable Restaurant Reservations – Free | Instant | Confirmed
- Wilderness Travel: Extraordinary cultural, wildlife and hiking adventures since 1978
- Onvia: Intelligence for winning more government business.
2. Offer simple website navigation
Break down your products and/or services into broad categories; don’t hit your visitors with too much information too soon. In most cases, having seven or fewer menu titles is recommended. Give your website visitors a way to easily navigate to the information they care about. On the home page, less is more.
Here are the most common home page menu titles.
- About Us
- Media & Downloads (brochures, videos, photos)
- Contact Us
- Special cases: if you are in a technical industry, additional categories might make sense
- Industry Expertise – for example, it would be important to let customers in heavily-regulated industries know that you have experience working within their constraints
- Case Studies
- Industries Served
3. Have great images and a consistent color palette
These days, great images are easier than ever to make yourself with the excellent free online tools that are currently available. If you don’t have time to make the images yourself, here are a few options for purchasing reasonably-priced images.
- Canva – a great all-purpose service. Create infographics, social media images, flyers, business cards and more using templates, icons and photos that are free or low cost.
- Sessions College Color Calculator – need to know what colors complement your current scheme? Use this handy tool!
- Fiverr – on a budget? Hire a designer starting at $5 (plus $1 service fee). Services include graphics & design, video & animation, music & audio and more.
- Shutterstock – Royalty-free (meaning you only pay once) professional images at very reasonable prices.
- iStock – another royalty-free photo source.
- Creative Commons – Want free images? Look for content with a CC0 license (public domain), and you don’t even have to attribute the work to the creator. Some sites that have CC0 images are:
4. It’s not about you, it’s about them!
Don’t talk about yourself too much. The story needs to be about your customers, not you. Show that you understand their challenges and can offer solutions to help them make their lives better. They are the hero in the story, you are the trusted partner helping them achieve their goals.
It may seem counterintuitive not to talk about yourself too much on your website’s home page, but there is a more engaging way to present your company than simply telling what you do and how great you do it. Customers are very savvy and can easily be turned-off by blatant self-promotion- this type of content should be on a website subpage rather than using up valuable home page real estate.
A better approach is to illustrate how your company’s unique products or services can solve a problem the customer is experiencing. Discuss the obvious benefits, but also spend time pointing out the more obscure or hidden benefits. For example, a new washing machine will fix the obvious problem of having no washing machine or a broken one. The hidden benefits may also be attractive to your customers: more features and settings, cleaner clothes, less water usage, less energy consumed, more up-to-date look… you get the idea!
For more tips on creating great digital content to help your company be found on Google, read this article.