Let's have a reality check … The number of people who wake up each day with the intent of browsing-through your website is zero. Exactly Zero. Unless they are already your (loyal) customers, they go on Google.com and type-in what they need.
So what does this mean for your homepage? How do you wrap your head around your first page and build a high-clarity, high-conversion homepage?
Combine header, hero image, headline and content structure
If you are good at SEO and/or paid ads, your website will show up on Google's prime real estate (read: first page); readers may determine if your page can solve their problem, and decide to click (or not).
Let's assume they click and land on your homepage, and if they land elsewhere, chances are they'll visit your homepage as they decide about your offer. Congratulations. You now have a website visitor.
Your website will only succeed if it makes a powerful first impression, and no, we aren't talking about using superlative-laden marketing lingo wrapped around 2018 web design trends. We are talking about clarity and message-match across your header, hero image, headline and content structure. You want visitors to understand what your company can do for them. Your website needs to establish that fairly quickly and with utmost clarity.
You may say, "Oh, but our customers are smart! They'll read through the website and find what they need" and you couldn't be more wrong.
Most visitors bounce from your website and those who remain read only about 20% of the content on your page. More so, visitors miss your calls-to-action. Users are drowning in all forms of messages, from emails, text messages, phone calls, other tabs, so they learn to avoid them. Ambiguity on your homepage results in confusion. Once a squirrel crosses their field of vision, they're gone.
Companies often suffer from cluttered websites because everyone wants their bit of real estate. Priceline's website (above) shows a lot of overwhelming options to the visitor.
Compare that to Airbnb's homepage:
Want to build a homepage that works? Just answer one question:
What do we want people to do when they visit your homepage for the first time?
This will help you define what you want it to accomplish. Be it lead generation, new trial starts, demo requests, content subscribers, or funneling traffic to one or more of your product/service pages.
Until you answer this question, it's a sin to even think about how the page should look, whether or not you should add social widgets or pop-ups. None of that matters until you define what action you want the users to take on your homepage.
This is a simple yet efficient approach to cast aside all the BS and personal bias from all concerned departments. It focuses your efforts not just for the homepage, but across your website and marketing.
Have a look at Airbnb's homepage above. Or see below how Clearbit's homepage has a clear value proposition, and accurately defines what a user will be able to do with its service.
Below the fold, it connects the primary use-cases and funnels the visitor towards the information most useful and relevant to them:
In a nutshell
To build a high-clarity, high-conversion homepage, you should:
- Focus on visitors first, before presenting your company.
- Focus on visitors' needs while addressing different use-cases throughout their customer journey.
- Communicate core information about your product's benefits and how they relate to different use-cases.
There are a lot of little things that make a page effective. Content and keywords, structure and psychology. Every little gap may be a problem, but it's also an opportunity to improve.
With a clear, well defined purpose of your homepage, you will be pointed in the right direction as you work on all the individual elements.
Understand how content can work to your advantage on your website? If you are asking that question, you're probably no using content efficiently. Download our ebook on Content Strategy for Successful Inbound Marketing: