Your Homepage: Why First Impressions Matter
June 11, 2021
Essential Elements Your Homepage Needs
The homepage is the face of your website. It’s the first impression so you need to make it count—and you don’t have a lot of time.
Research tells us that you have 15 seconds to make that good first impression. That’s the average amount of time people spend on a website. If you want to bust that average and have people return, here are some essential elements your homepage should include.
This is obvious, right? Every homepage has a logo. Or does it?
If you’re questioning the need for a distinct, easily identifiable logo, consider the implications for your homepage. Every visitor will expect to see a logo at the top left or center of your header.
They will also expect that logo to serve as a link to your homepage from anywhere on your site.
A Great Headline
Make sure your visitors know what you do right away. A headline should contain enough information to encourage them to explore further. It should be an H1 headline or custom size and font so that it stands out from the rest of the text.
Keep your headline concise and specific. It should tell your visitors what you do and what makes you different using between five and 20 words. Be sure it appears above the fold.
If that sounds like a tough task, it is. Write lots of headlines and let them evolve as you go. There’s nothing wrong with taking time to come up with something great, or in changing it if you discover something you like better.
The simpler your website navigation is the better. Nowhere is that more important than on your homepage. You want a basic menu that gives your visitors easy access to the important pages of your site.
Think about how potential customers interact with your homepage navigation as well. How much scrolling is required to get to the meat of the page, the placement of elements for easiest access, and how design supports function are all important considerations.
The visual elements on your homepage, from a hero image to video or graph, should feel authentic to your brand. Avoid stock images and focus on pictures that support your brand identity.
If you choose to use graphic displays to illustrate your core business, make sure they are legible on mobile screens.
Hero images are bold and tempting. If you use one of these large images at the top of your homepage, make sure it isn’t forcing valuable elements like headlines and calls to action below the fold.
You need a short description of your business. Tell your website visitors what you do and how you do it. Keep this section concise and support it with visual elements if necessary.
A few sentences with a well-chosen picture are far more effective on a homepage than a dense block of text.
You can include this in the summary or break it into its own small section. But somewhere on your homepage should be a short description of what makes you special.
A differentiator can be a location, an exclusive process, or something else that makes you stand out from the crowd.
If you hide your contact information away on an interior page only, you force your potential customer to search for it. Making it easy to find gives a new visitor an easy way to reach out directly from your homepage.
Homepage contact information can be a condensed version of what visitors find on your Contact page. Try using a basic contact form and consider including a phone number and physical address.
This information makes you reachable and provides information about your business and your accessibility to your customers.
Call to Action
What do you want your visitors to do? Do you want them to visit a certain page or product? Do you want them to contact you for services? A call to action (CTA) is one of the very important, essential elements your homepage needs.
Use clear language and buttons or other obvious links to direct your customers into the sales funnel. The call to action is one of several elements that should be above the fold so visitors don’t need to scroll to see it.
A web design services professional can help you determine ideal placement and presentation.
A few words of praise from past or current clients or customers are surprisingly powerful. Like customer reviews, testimonials are a form of social proof. Social proof provides outside validation of your trustworthiness.
Reviews can be difficult to incorporate into a well-designed homepage. Testimonials can be pared down to a single sentence or two and combined with a picture to give them even more weight.
Social Media Icons
Hopefully, you’ve chosen a social media platform (or several) on which to build a presence for your business. These curated feeds give potential leads or customers another look into what you have to offer.
Social media also provides insight into your style and personality. Making those platforms easily accessible on your homepage allows visitors to learn about you on their platform of choice.
Awards or Certifications
If you are in a business that requires licensure or offers certification, display your credentials on your homepage. They reinforce your trustworthiness as well as your expertise.
If you have received industry or community awards, include those as well. Potential customers are interested in your level of expertise as perceived by others. Community service awards speak to your values without the need for a lot of exposition (which you can save for inner site pages).
Depending on your business, including examples of your work may be one of the essential elements your homepage needs. If you offer any sort of creative product, images of exceptional finished projects are a great way to give your homepage a visually interesting design element.
These images also give your potential customer a snapshot of your body of work. Choose projects you’re proud of that are generally representative of your portfolio.
Your homepage makes your website’s first impression. Make sure it invites visitors to not only come in, but to stay longer than those elusive 15 seconds.
If you need help with implementing essential elements for your homepage, we offer web design services at an affordable cost! Contact us today or visit our Web Design service page to learn more.