The idea of creating a website can be completely overwhelming. You might have advice from left, right and centre telling you about all the content your website must have to convert, as well as all the fancy things it’ll have to do.
But starting simple is so important and creating something you can build on later is well worth considering, especially if you are creating your website yourself and doing it for the first time. A basic website is better than no website at all to kickstart your presence online. A website will always be, and always should be a work in progress.
A homepage though, is such an important page for your website. People often get stuck with what to feature on their homepage and can end up either over-cramming it with far too much information making it overwhelming for visitors, or doing the opposite and leaving is sparse and looking like you have nothing to say. A happy medium here is really key. That’s why I have put together these 5 homepage must-haves…
Think of your homepage as the shop front for the rest of your site. It should summarize all the information that’s on the rest of your site and make it easy to access other parts of your site that your visitors are specifically interested in. Think about the journey your ideal customers will take through your site. Is it easy for them to find the information they need? Can they get in touch with you, find out about your services and learn about your prices? Whatever your website objectives are, make sure these are clear on your homepage.
So let’s get the lowdown on what you really should feature on your homepage:
5 homepage must-haves
- An engaging heading
- A clear idea of what you offer and who you offer it to
- A clear call to action
- A Hero Section
- Clear navigation to other pages on your site
An engaging headline
Think about how you behave when you visit a website. If you go directly to the homepage first, it’s important that you know exactly what’s on offer pretty quickly and it can be frustrating and off putting if you’re having to search around for information. An engaging headline will help grab the attention of your ideal clients quickly and get them engaged in the other content on your homepage. Make sure this headline speaks directly to your ideal clients and clarifies their question of whether your page is for them.
A clear idea of your offering, who you are and who you help
If visitors are coming to your site and it’s not completely clear what you do because you don’t tell people right away, this can automatically turn people off. If your visitors are having to search around on your website for answers about what you do and who you do it for, they’ll get frustrated and be more likely to leave.
It’s a common mistake to not want to feature too much copy on a homepage as so many people have no idea what to say here. A summary of what you offer, what problem you solve and who you serve is the key here. Don’t be afraid to be really specific here or worry about putting people off. This is where you really need to consider who those all important dream clients are. Make sure the copy on your homepage and on your entire site is written to speak directly to your dream clients to engage with them, solve their problems and let them know they are in the right place for help.
The most important thing to consider about your homepage copy is to make sure it’s skimmable. It can be completely daunting and off-putting to land on a web page with a whole load of text to read. Make sure the text you feature on your website summarises what you do and has sympathy and understanding of the pain points your dream clients have. Targeted copy that uses keywords will help visitors find your site through search engines too.
A clear call to action
This is such an important step that so often gets overlooked. Again, think about how you navigate a website. How much patience do you have? With the above engaging headline, followed by clear details of your offering that speaks directly to your dream client, follow on with a call to action. A button or instruction for what a website visitor should do next. Do you want them to find out more about your services, see latest offers, get in touch, book a call or download a guide. Think about what your homepage goals here and remember to consider this in your customer’s journey around your website. This call to action can help get visitors directly to where you want them to be in a short amount of time without them having to go through your entire website first.
A hero section
A hero section is actually a combination of a few of the above. The idea of a hero section is that it’s all the information you feature on your homepage above the fold. That means everything a visitor will first see before they have to do any scrolling. An ideal hero section will have a clear and engaging heading, a clear idea of what you offer and who you help, and a call to action.
If you take a look at the hero section from the Studio Lago Design website below, you’ll see what I mean…
Clear navigation to other pages on your site
Make sure your website navigation is clear and takes your visitors to the other pages on your site. What’s the journey you’d like visitors to take through your homepage and your site? As I mentioned above, your home page is like the storefront to the rest of your site. Featuring summarised information on your homepage that then leads your visitors on to other pages will make sure you give them all the information they need to go on a journey to get to where you want them. Remember to map out your ideal customer journey for your website. What is the aim for them being on your website? Do you want them to get in touch with you, book a call or buy something. Make sure your navigation clearly takes them there.
You can take them to your about page for them to learn more about you, your services page, summarise recently added items to your shop or latest blog posts on your website.
One thing to consider with navigation is to make sure your website visitor always has a next step and they don’t come to a dead-end on your site. Make sure to always have a button or feature that will lead visitors to another step and keep them on your site for longer.
You can add a summary about yourself to take your visitors to an about page or add details of your recent projects in a section on your homepage.
As with the rest of your site, it’s so important to remember who your ideal client is whilst planning and creating your homepage. Their journey through your site is what it should be built on and who it speaks to.
If you have questions let me know in the comments. And if you’re looking to revamp your own website take a look at how you can work with me or get in touch to find out more.