5 Key Elements Your Website Home Page Must Have
What does your website homepage say about you? Is it inviting, professional, and well-designed? Or is it cluttered with too much extraneous information or a lack of organization? Your homepage is the first impression potential customers get when they visit your site. It’s important that this first glance is as impressive and engaging as possible. If you’re looking for ways to improve your conversion rates, here are 5 elements every website should include:
Calls to Action
Create Obvious Calls to Action
Using CTAs helps a visitor to your website know exactly how to work with your company or purchase your product. Make sure your calls to action stand out from the rest of the page. Create buttons or full CTA sections that are clearly visible and attention-grabbing. You want to make it easy for potential customers to spend money with you!
Create MULTIPLE Calls to Action
If your home page is long, consider creating several CTAs. We recommend having two above the fold (a term digital marketing stole from print marketing and newspaper days that basically means in plain sight before one scrolls down the page). We like seeing a CTA in the main hero section of the homepage and one as a button on the menu, generally the last item to the right. Sometimes this placement gets lost in mobile displays, which is why the main call in the hero sections is vital.
The folks over at McDonald’s have nailed this requirement. They have at least three main ones, four if you count “Download App.”
Consider Active and Passive CTAs
An active CTA asks visitors to click on something or take a positive action toward working with you. Think of calls like “Work With Us,” “Book a Call,” “Request a Quote,” etc. For McDonald’s, the two bright yellow buttons that say “Order Now” and “Get the BTS Meal in the App” are specific and active.
A passive CTA is more subtle, such as an opt-in box where someone can subscribe to your newsletter or get information when a product is restocked. McDonald’s has a “Sign Up for Email” option just above the main navigation menu and includes a second place to “Download App” that we didn’t highlight in the main nav.
We recommend using both active and passive calls for the best chance of success.
Responsive Website Design
Some people prefer using their computer, while others would rather browse from a tablet or mobile device. Make sure you keep this in mind when designing your site so that the layout adjusts accordingly! There’s no need for an old school, fixed-width layout, which can negatively affect user experience. Being attentive to responsive design means considering key element placement and size, effective use of white space, proper content alignment no matter the viewing size, and making sure forms, images, links, and menus are all accessible when the screen size changes.
Remember, if somebody comes to your homepage and can’t find what they want because of a design flaw, they’ll leave.
Benefits of Working with You
Your homepage should be a reflection of the value you bring to your customers and clients. Why do people want to work with me? What’s in it for them? You need a section telling visitors why they want to spend their hard-earned money with you.
Highlight some benefits of using your products or services before your visitor scrolls down the rest of the content on your homepage. Make sure that there are at least five benefits listed here! Include anything from customer service to design to pricing. Tell your potential customers how your product or service will save them time or make their lives better. If you’re business-to-business, use this section to inform your user how you can help them reach their own growth goals or be more attentive to their own customers by using your offer.
Denise Duffield-Thomas, one of our absolute favorite entrepreneurial and money mindset coaches, tells her visitors in very clear language that working with her offers “a fresh and funny road-map to create an outrageously successful life and business,” and that working with her “helps women create wealth through her mindset courses and practical wisdom on releasing money blocks.” There’s no guesswork about the benefits of working with Denise. And how about THAT? She has a cute little call to action right there alongside her benefits!
On our own home page, we let you know we have “digital marketing services that help businesses achieve their growth goals,” and that working with us helps your company “painlessly attract new, qualified customers and scale your business to the next level.” (We’re going to include a shameless little call to action ourselves, right here.)
Not Sure How to Implement Our Tips on Your Own Home Page?
Social Proof and Testimonials
Put these next to your call to action button if possible – this way potential customers are more likely to buy from you because they trust your business.
You can use coding or plugins to pull testimonials and social proof directly from sources like your Google My Business page or Facebook, or you can solicit testimonials from past clients and add them directly to your site.
Additionally, using a slider or scrolling feature allows you to include more testimonials without taking up too much room on the page.
Branding is about marketing your business, and one of the best ways to do this on a homepage is by including an image or logo. If you work with a company (like Merrill Creative Solutions) to have a logo designed for you, they will generally also include full branding guidelines, including your color scheme, fonts, and usage examples. This document helps you or your website developer know how to make your homepage look cohesive and professional, which helps build trust with potential customers because they can see that you are serious about what you are doing. It also lets them know who they will be working with in case they need to contact the company for any reason.
Branding becomes even more important when you are creating social media posts, ads, or any other external elements that drive traffic to your website. You want all of your images and information to build a single brand message.
While this image doesn’t show our entire branding guide, it give you an idea of what you might find on your own or one for a company you admire.
Some other tips:
Keep it simple.
Donald Miller of StoryBrand tells us:
“Just because a tagline sounds great or a picture on a website grabs the eye, that doesn’t mean it helps us enter into our customers’ story. In every line of copy we write, we’re either serving the customer’s story or descending into confusion; we’re either making music or making noise. Nobody remembers a company that makes noise.”
You have an entire website to utilize. Do not feel pressured to include all of your content on the first page! That’s noise. For example, consider adding just a line or two about your company, services, or team and including a “Read More” feature that takes visitors to other pages if they want to additional information. This counts as a passive CTA and keeps users engaged with your website and content without causing visual overwhelm.
Include your contact information
Somewhere on your homepage, preferably in the footer menu so that it’s available throughout the entire website, list your phone number, company mailing address or physical location, social accounts, and maybe even a small contact or subscription enrollment form.
Use headings for search engine optimization
Use only a single H1 tag, generally for your page title. Then go to H2 tags for the second most important information on your homepage, and so on. The same rules apply when deciding which words should be in your H tags as anywhere else in your content: think about what’s most important, and use those words! If you have too many H tags, it’ll look like you’re just trying to make your content seem more keyword-rich, and it will be less readable for people. It will also appear spammy and over optimized to search engines like Google, which actually hurts your business rankings on those pages.
Have a search option
If your business site is massive or has tons of blog posts or content, help a potential customer out by including a search bar somewhere on the homepage. You can put one in the primary and footer menus, in the side bar, or even in a popup window, for example.
Include links to other websites
Links to other websites and interesting content related to your industry can be really helpful for building your own authority in your industry. Just make sure the links open in new windows, so people don’t lose your site in the process of clicking around and that the resources you include are leading back to quality sites that will provide value for potential customers (don’t just link out because it seems like a good idea). Linking to quality sites also improves your technical SEO and can lead to gaining backlinks in the future, but that’s a different blog post all together!
We're finally going to wrap this up!
We said we were going to provide you with five items for your homepage but gave you so much more. And the thing is, we could keep going!
We know you want a visitor to remember you and convert into a loyal customer the first time they visit, and we want that for you, too. If you’re a DIY-er designing your own homepage, we hope this information offered you some value. If all it did was overwhelm you, reach out to us and let us take care of the design and conversions for you.
It’s what we do, and we love helping our customers level up.
Ready to Level Up?
and leave the marketing and technical stuff to us.