Homepages: The basics
Imagine this scenario – a business based out the comfort of someone’s home.
You arrive to the location, the door is opened, and all over the floor are piles and piles of letters, a crooked, dirty doormat. The doorbell didn’t work but you ignored that part.
You’d probably be thinking, “oh my god, what level of service am I going to be receiving if she can’t even manage a good first impression?”
Well its the same with websites. Your homepage is the equivalent of a messy hallway – but the aim is to have the tidiest, most welcoming hallway of all.
A homepage of a website is the first thing your audience tends to land on. If its not informative, interesting or intriguing, more than likely your users will leave your website and carry on their search for a good one.
With the rise of the internet in recent years, it’s only natural that the number of people searching for goods and services online has risen too. The number of online shoppers in 2020 is expected to reach just over 2 billion. Thats equal to around a quarter of the worlds entire population!
This means, its more important than ever to have an effective webpage – and some argue that the homepage really is the most important part of a website.
How people use homepages
Generally speaking, a homepage either delivers the information the user is looking for, or it points them in the right direction. In a lot of cases, information presented on a homepage doesn’t offer enough context, because their search is generally looking for specific information.
As a result, a lot of people skip over the homepage.
When designing a homepage, its important to understand the main reason why people go to your website in the first place. Then use this to build your homepage around. This way, your homepage will provide the relevant tools for your users to stay on your website.
According to Adobe, the homepage’s ability to achieve a website’s primary goal is more important than its visual attractiveness. As long as the homepage functions in the most relevant way for its users, users will turn to your website for information again and again.
This isn’t to say that design isn’t important – the design of a website is vital to maintain a great first impression.
Key homepage goals
That all important first impression
Homepages are the most viewed pages on websites, generally speaking. The homepage is a step in the users journey, so in order for them to continue this journey on your website, the user experience has to be enjoyable.
First impressions are key to keeping visitors on your page, and encouraging them to return to it in the future.
Establish your brands identity
Your brand’s identity is what helps you stand out from everyone else. So establishing a logo and slogan on your homepage is one of the main aims you should have.
Showcasing a brand that has authority makes a memorable impression on consumers, and also gives them an idea of what to expect from your company.
It’s a great way to distinguish yourself from your competitors and highlighting to consumers how what you offer makes you the top choice.
Provide insights into what the rest of your website has to offer
As already mentioned, homepage’s are where users go to find relevant information. But as well as providing this, a homepage should offer an insight into what else your website contains.
This can be through news articles, feature items or special product launches. This gives the user both visual and verbal clues into what other content your website has. It also encourages users to browse more thoroughly.
Provide clear navigation
Your website can have the most amazing content, graphics and marketing possible, but users will be searching for the information they came looking for. And if this isn’t obvious as to where it can be found on the homepage, you may not retain your traffic.
You should start at the top – the top of your homepage should have a menu, or navigation bar. It allows for clear navigation no matter where on your website your users land. It should summarise:
- Homepage; quick summary of your business
- Why users should choose your business
- History/Insight into your business
- Products and services offered
- Contact page
If this is done correctly, users can navigate around your website without feeling overwhelmed and confused.
Subpages can be added to create improved navigation. It means users don’t have to scroll endlessly through products or services to find what they came looking for in the first place.
Chris Kelly’s Driving School is a great example of a clear, engaging homepage which offers all the information a user will be searching for; their prices, the courses they offer, why to choose them over their competitors, feedback reviews, news and even more.
This provides a great user experience as not only is the design and imagery engaging and informative, users know exactly where to find all the relevant information they came searching for.
Content to retain returning consumers
Content which is relevant and interesting keeps users engaged. It allows you to provide both new and repeat customers with information they require.
Social media is a great way to establish personable, interactive communication with your audience. Not only does it offer more content for your users to experience and enjoy, it’s a great tool to stay relevant with them and engage with them in a way that doesn’t feel like sell-sell-sell.
Homepages are the first impressions your audience will take from your company when using online resources to find products and services relevant to them.
It’s your chance to shout to the world why they should choose you and what makes your business so great that they should part with their hard earner money.
Our team here at Sleeky have years of experience of creating great first impressions when it comes to homepages. Get in touch to see how we can create a fantastic homepage for you.