Your website is your home base on the internet, and the only place that is all about you and your business with no distractions.
It is also the only place you have complete control of where things go and how things are styled - you choose the fonts and colors and you’re not competing with anyone else for your audience’s attention.
So how do you make the most of the attention you have from your audience at that moment?
There are many important building blocks to a great home page, but the first should be excellent navigation. Someone visiting your website needs to be able to move around easily and find the information they want. The best way to do this is to make your navigation as clean and simple as possible.You have just seconds to catch a visitor’s attention, so don’t waste it with confusing or misleading navigation.
Try to look at your website through the eyes of someone seeing your website for the first time. Or someone looking for a specific piece of information on your site. Can they find it? How many clicks does it take to get them to the page they want to see?
Although drop down menus can be helpful, they can also be overwhelming for the user. If you find yourself with a lot of drop down menus here are some questions to ask yourself:
Make it easy for someone to work with you by placing your contact information in the footer or header of every page.
Although you may have concerns with receiving spam if you place your email on your website, you also don’t want to miss the opportunity to work with someone because they couldn’t find a clear way to contact you.
A Contact page can also be useful if you prefer to use a contact form instead of putting your email on your website.
If you use a contact form, be sure to make sure it is still active and working properly every couple of months. Sometimes they start sending completed inquiries to spam and sometimes they stop sending them anywhere at all.
The saying “A picture is worth a thousand words” is especially true when you are trying to be concise, but still get your message across.
Think about the colors and emotions represented in your type of business. If you’re an accountant, then you probably see a lot of calculators and other tools. If you’re a lawyer, then you see desks and strong colors. If you’re a therapist, you probably see softer colors and possibly some art work.
Do you need a picture of yourself on your home page? It really depends on the kind of business you have! If you do put a photo of yourself on your site, use a professional head shot rather than a selfie. Your business deserves good photos!
What You Do
What do you do that makes you unique?
How is your approach or team different than what else is available?
How do you stand out above the noise?
You need to be able to communicate what you do and why your audience should care.
But don’t fall into the trap of confusing “features” with “benefits” - a feature is what your service/product does, a benefit is how your service/product impacts someone who uses it.
A feature of a laptop is that it connects to the internet. A benefit of a laptop is that it keeps you connected to friends and family, no matter where they are. See the difference?
A tagline can be a part of this, but it isn’t required. However, you do want someone leaving your site to be able to tell the next person they meet exactly what you do. If they can’t verbalize it, your message may be confusing or not clearly stated.
The right amount of copy
It can be tempting to put everything about your business on your home page, but it can also be overwhelming. A better plan is to use your home page to direct visitors to the pages you want them to see.
How much copy does your home page need? Your home page needs enough copy to convey the best information for your clients about what you do.
If you haven’t looked at the text on your home page lately, this is a good opportunity to update and streamline.
Call to action
Once someone has visited your home page, what do you want them to do?
Sometimes this is called a CTA or Call to Action, but it just means clearly directing your reader to the next step you want them to take.
Try to limit the calls to action on your home page - too many can be confusing.
Some calls to action:
Think Above the Fold
If you aren’t familiar with the term “above the fold” it goes back to newspaper printing - the most important front page headlines went “above the fold” - meaning above the place where the newspaper is folded in half.
On a website, above the fold generally means on the upper part of your website (before someone needs to scroll down to see more). With smaller screens that require scrolling anyway it isn’t as vital as it once was, but it is helpful guide and reminder not to bury your most important information.
Navigation, obviously, goes above the fold.
It is a good idea to put your call to action above the fold.
Your tagline (if you have one) should go above the fold.
Now that you've polished your home page, here are more resources to make your website pop!
Anatomy of Blog Post
Where to Find Diverse Stock Photos for Your Website
Understanding How Visitors Look at Your Website
Gwen Montoya is the CMO of the MOB Nation as well as a marketing strategist and coach. She loves making marketing accessible and empowering mom business owners.
Learn more about Gwen at www.gwenmontoya.com or on her podcast Adventures in Marketing.