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Website Home Page Best Practices

We’ve moved well beyond the “welcome to my website” version of home pages. Users expect more.  By following home page best practices you make clear what people can find on your website. It should focus on your unique selling point. And, it should guide your visitors to your most important pages.

Make Clear Who You Are, What You Do

Be sure to clearly state who you are and what you do. If you have a local service area, make that clear, too. You need to accomplish all that in a few scannable words.

If visitors land on your site and they can’t tell what you do and where you do it, they move on.

Make sure your home page answers these common questions:

  • What is your main product or service?
  • What can be found on your products and on your company itself on the website?
  • What is the main benefit for the visitor?

Highlight Your Value

There is a lot of information online. What makes you the right service for someone. Make this very clear.

It is not easy to be absolutely clear about what your company brings the customer, but it is essential if you want to convert a website hit to a lead or customer. Make sure your introductory content is about the key benefits you offer.

Don’t be vague or use buzzwords or hyperbole. Do be memorable and stand out. Offer easy to understand content that flows the visitor to where they want to be.

Make sure that your site comes across as trustworthy. Visitors want to know that you aren’t just trying to get them to subscribe to something they don’t want or give up personal information. Make your reputation and value clear. Testimonials, reviews, and client lists all help.

Offer Simple and Clear Navigation

Helping visitors get to the information they need is also essential. Make sure your navigation is easy to find and offers clear choices. Use the words your customer uses, not internal jargon for navigation labels.

Less is more when it comes to navigation. A general rule of thumb is no more than 7 options.

Guide the Visitor

Another purpose of your homepage is to guide your visitor to your best content and the items you know are most important to them. Here are some elements to use to help guide visitors.

  • A hero image is a large banner image, prominently placed on a web page, generally in the front and center. It often has a core message or offering and links to more information.
  • Sliders are similar but are a series of messages, and often links. These are harder for users, so they aren’t a great choice for all home pages.
  • Product and service call outs can offer brief explanations with links to more information.
  • Call to action buttons stand out from text with their often colored backgrounds and help users get to information with just a few words and a click.

Help People Connect

Contact information is also very valuable. Many sites offer this in the footer of the page so it is available at every page of the website. Let people call and email, give them the name of the person who they can connect with.

Make sure your home page is focused on the top one or two things visitors need. Help them get to your best information and services quickly and easily.

Gain an Audience for Your Content

You work hard to create compelling content but your analytics show that your site traffic isn’t delivering on your expectations. You aren’t alone.

Few sites attract visitors without a visibility strategy. You need to promote your content to attract an audience. Here’s how.

Share Your Content on Social Media

Distribute site content across your social networks. Share to as many networks as are relevant to your target audience. A tool like Hootsuite can make it easy to post to all of your networks from one interface.

Get Others to Share

Build a community of people who are interested in your content. Share their content and ask for the same. These individuals might be in your professional industry, or appeal to an audience similar to your own.

Look for relevant content aggregators. There are sites that gather content on just about any topic. Determine which content aggregators are most relevant to your niche and familiarize yourself with the types of content they share. Follow the guidelines to get included.

You can also ask journalists and publications to distribute your content. Some publications accept submissions from guest bloggers. Others will consider your content as source material for a story they will write. Always look for the guidelines to determine how your content best fits with each publication site.

Allow People to Subscribe

When someone lands on your content, make sure they can sign up to get more. People are busy and content that gets delivered to them is more likely to be followed.

Know Thy Audience

Set yourself up for success on social media by learning everything you can about your audience. Take time to research what your audience needs and what they do online.

This research comes from social media listening – or monitoring what’s going on. Here’s how to start listening and building your understanding of your audience and their needs.

Define your audience.

Your audience is not everyone. It’s not all women or all men. You need to get to a much more specific definition of your audience in order to be effective.

Knowing who your audience is and what they expect on social is key to creating content that they will like, comment on, and share. You want to define demographics, motivations, common objections or issues, and the emotional needs of your audience.

Gather real-world data.

Social media analytics can also provide a ton of valuable information about who your followers are, where they live, which languages they speak, and how they interact with your brand on social.

Each platform offers metrics. There are also insightful research studies published by Pew and others. Data insights allow you to refine your strategy and better target your content to your audience.