When people land on your website, chances are, they will do it through your Homepage. It is one of the most important pages of any website. Still, many struggle to optimize it.
Your website’s homepage must play multiple roles. It should be crafted to cater to diverse audiences with varied backgrounds. To achieve this successfully, it should be designed with purpose and intention.
In other words, you’ll need to plan it strategically to incorporate elements that:
- Attract traffic
- Educate visitors
- Invite conversions
But to have a homepage that performs, there’s no such thing as a “perfect formula”.
If you are working with a designer, they will probably recommend a strategy and a subsequent plan of action, but if you are DIYing your website you will learn that your options are many.
Either way, If you understand your options you’ll be better prepared to piece together a smart homepage with content conceived to achieve your goals.
Strategic Homepage Checklist
Logos are an important part of your branding.
You can usually find the logo on the upper left side of your homepage, as that’s where the user’s attention is initially directed. A less common option is to center your logo within the navigation bar or the initial section of the page.
If you are just starting and you still don’t have a logo, you will need one -together with a basic branding package. To start, you can replace it by writing the name of your business and placing it in the area where the logo will be in the future. But the logo is a tangible representation that encompasses your products or services and is a key piece for clients to recognize and connect with your brand. Don’t leave this tiny but huge element for the last!
- Don’t Get creative with placement. Give your website visitors what they are familiar with. Top-left is the most common place to locate your logo.
- Don’t Crowd your logo with unnecessary visual elements. Instead, surround your logo with empty space so it stands out.
- Don’t Animate your logo. not everyone may be able to see it as well as you do.
2. header menu or main navigation
Your website navigation is the menu that is located on the top of your website. It usually is accesible from every page of your site so your visitors can easily navigate through your site.
Ask yourself: what would people want to do in my website? give it to them on your navigation. For example, if your website is all about informing people about your services, then make sure that they are easy to find and understand through your navigation.
Think of your navigation menu as a map that will help your visitors find what they came to your website for and what interest them.
- Less is more. Don’t overwhelm and confuse your visitors. You don’t need to add every one of your services.
- Stuck to the classic. Don’t make your visitors overthink it, help them to intuitively navigate through your menu. Stick to the classic words!
3. Special entry points
Are you planning to create exclusive member areas or special access to features? If so, your homepage could be the right place for this purpose!
4. Hero Image
The hero image is means the main image of your site. Your hero image is likely to be the largest, most prominent, and most important element on your website’s homepage. You will find it right under the navigation bar.
This image is usually the first thing people will see from your site. Don’t use it only for aesthetic purposes. It is important that is a genuine representation of your business and it should blend nicely with your mission statement.
- Give it a job to do. Through a combination of visual and verbal elements, it is a good filter: it inspires the right visitors to interact further and the wrong visitors to exit.
- Keep it simple. Simple images are the ones who work the best for hero images.
- Keep it real. If possible, don’t use stock photos. Select your image carefully. Present something relevant, trustworthy and authentic.
When someone visits your website, within a matter of seconds, it needs to communicate what you have to offer. We can do this through the headling which is usually placed within the hero Image. It usually consists in 2-3 concise sentences that explain what you do, who you help and how you do it.
- Make it easy your website visitors should not have to make an effor to understand what your website is about
- Make it Cohesive with your social media work your visitors will come from varied places If they came from your Instagram account where you are promoting your coaching services, then make sure that the headline makes them understand that this is still you talking.
- Be Clear and simple. Tell your visitors what exactly you do and how they can get that help from you.
Find more details on how to create your headline in the following Workbook.
6. The so important Call to Action
What is your website goal? getting users to purchase something, booking a Discovery call or a session with you? giving you their email?
Once you have determined what is that you want your visitors to do, don’t forget to ask them to do it!
This is where CTA (Call to Action) come to play a role. They can have different shapes, like for example, can be a button in your contact or subscription forms, or a button directing to other pages within your website that provide more information or can be just plain text.
7. Features and benefits
If your website’s objective is to sell a service, then you can use your homepage to start communicating how they will benefit them personally. Help them imagine how their lives will look after working with you!
8. Social Proof and Portfolio
One effective way to do this is by showing that past customers have given your business positive feedback.
If your business involves products or services that can be shown through pictures, descriptions, or case studies, your portfolio is something your visitors would be interested in.
Demonstrate your expertise. Social proof lets new visitors know you’re skilled, offering valuable insights into what you provide. Sharing success stories is a great way to create a positive first impression.
When adding social proof to your homepage, it’s best to include just a few elements so that it doesn’t seem like you’re trying too hard.
Allocate a space on your homepage to display social proof using at least one of these methods:
- Customer stories and case studies
- Certifications, awards and recognitions
- Numbers (satisfied customers, rankings, subscribers, followers, etc.)
- Press featured
If you think of a blog as an old fashioned thing, then you may be losing many oportunities. A blog offers a big number of opportunitites that you shoudn’t miss. And your homepage is a smart place that you can use for featuring some of your latest post, your most popular posts, or a list of them.
Alternatively, having a fixed section on your homepage encouraging visitors to subscribe to the website’s content remains a widely used option.
If growing an email list is a key goal in your digital marketing strategy, consider placing a subscription form on your homepage
A successful way to attract leads from your homepage is by showcasing an offer or a “lead magnet.” Your possibilities for doing this are practically endless. For example, many homepages, particularly those providing online services, present free trials.
12. Write for your Audience
Make it about them. If you only describe what you do, visitor will hardly identidy with the problem and solution you offer. Help them understand why the problem you solve is relevant to them. Connect with your visitors by talking to them, and gently persuading them about the benefits they’ll gain is crucial for sustaining their interest.
Keywords boost your homepage’s SEO power. Set aside time to pick keywords and include them on your homepage.
To make your homepage search-friendly, use keywords:
- In your title tag (the page title you see on your browser’s tab)
- In your headline
- In your menu items (if suitable)
- Naturally within the page’s text
- “Behind” your images (as alt image tags)
- In the meta description, the brief preview of your homepage
On most websites, especially homepages, images play a vital role in design. Choose images that go beyond placeholders – they should reflect what you offer and embody your brand.
Say no to generic stock images unless absolutely necessary. Whenever possible, capture your own photos and feature them prominently, starting with your hero section.
Whether you’re a solo act or part of a team, let visitors connect with the people behind the scenes. Share a glimpse of yourself and your team on your homepage to ensure it doesn’t go unnoticed.
While visuals enhance your site, don’t forget to optimize images to keep your website running smoothly.
Similar to your header, the footer on your homepage is likely a consistent feature throughout your website. When your visitor reaches the bottom of your homepage, this section should offer three key features: contact information, links, and social media integration.
Contact details prompt visitors to reach out to you. Links can serve as a simplified map or guide users to explore more pages. Including links to social media accounts encourages visitors to connect with your company through different channels, enhancing your social proof and providing additional avenues for interaction.
A lot of homepages share similar designs, and although there’s a logical reason for it, it’s important to include elements that are important support for your own business goals.
Your homepage can feature whatever you want. However, it’s more important to plan and parcel your page based on what your visitors want. Once they have visited your homepage they should already know what you offer and how you do it.
Put some effort into the pre-building process, before making any move towards building your site, plan it.
Do you have any questions about best practices for website homepage design?