We're talking home page layouts today. Take a look at your home, do you have several ways you can get inside? Me too but I don’t always have keys to access all those ways so I rely on my garage door opener. Even when I go out with someone else, I take my door opener to get back in. Why because that’s the easiest access point for me.
But the hubs, although he has keys, and usually I’m home working in my office, so he just wanders through the front door. Because for him that’s the easiest access point. And this is the same way for visitors to your website.
Normally there are lots of access points to get the information your visitors need but more times than not they come through the front door or the home page. Which is why the purpose of above the fold area on your home page is to turn visitors into leads and customers.
Basically, the one thing your home page should do is answer, “Can I help you find what you are looking for?”. So what do you do to catch the attention of your visitor's eye?
Best Practice Number 1: Express your Value Proposition
By now you know that the best way to start a home page design it to find the primary and secondary goals for your business. But before we can tell people to take that action we need them to know what we stand for and more importantly why.
Your Value Proposition needs to answer their questions:
- What is this business/company?
- Does this website help me solve my problem?
- Why should I choose this business to address that problem?
- What do they want me to do?
Without a clearly stated statement, your visitor can get lost, confused or bored and never move on to convert.
Here's LastPass's example below. Notice how they make it as easy as possible to convey their value proposition to their visitors.
Best Practice Number 2: Simple Navigation
Do you have a junk drawer? Mine is in my kitchen, and the hubs hates opening that drawer. Me, I know everything that is in it and where in the drawer I need to dig. Having a cluttered navigation is like an unruly junk drawer.
Deciding what to have on your navigation can make the difference between someone moving further into your site and leaving entirely. And here’s the best part, you can have more that one navigation. Especially if you’re commerce or membership based.
Here are some good rules to follow:
- Limit the number of choices between five and seven with Home being in the leftmost position and Contact at the rightmost.
- If you must use drop-down keep them to one level.
- Note drop-down menus with a visual cue.
- Make sure your menu is responsive for different devices and sticky if your home page is long.
And another good rule of thumb is your money making items should be in the leftmost position after home. And if you have user accounts you can have menus for those logged in and those not.
It’s all about addressing these concerns in the pre-design, planning process.
Best Practice Number 3: Use Correct Calls To Action
Someone coming to your site usually has a certain reason for visiting. Some will come for information, others for one of your products and still others through referral. Your home page should be designed to move your people through the journey and different calls to action will do that. Here are some of the typical actions:
- Lead Generation/Form Submission is the most critical even if you're not selling to your list. Since you want to turn visitors into leads, you need a way to capture their information and what a better way than a freebie. Lead gen is part of the awareness phase and can include white papers, fact sheets, webinars.
- Read More/Learn More entices your visitors to read a full article or visit another page. This action is also part of the awareness phase by allowing people to get information on a particular topic or problem.
- Social Sharing is the simplest call to action that encourages people to share your stuff and expand your reach. It’s also a low-commitment way for people to engage with your brand. Part of the awareness phase, people who want to connect but don’t want to give up their goods, will share with their audience.
- Testimonials/Case Studies because we all love a happy customer. It makes us feel better about our decision to seek you out. Part of the evaluation stage, it helps the customer decide if this is right for them. You can also use FAQs to address concerns too.
- Coupons, Trials or Demos gives people the extra push to buy from you and is part of the Decision phase. Usually, this is for people who’ve made the decision that you solve their problem but need to narrow down a solution.
- Schedule A Call/Consult is the ultimate call to action for many since it’s a key part of their sales process. Part of the purchase stage consults allow you to vet your potential clients and let them ask key questions to convert to the sale.
Take a look at Smart Passive Income's home page. See, how the call to action is clear and straightforward? Is yours?
Whether you considering creating a new website or revamping an existing one, using these three pieces of information as a guide can help you have a conversion machine instead of a brochure site.
Need help creating an effective home page? Request a free consult or web review.