Hook ’em With Your Homepage
I’ve always been one of those people who can’t stand cleaning the house but who really enjoys a freshly cleaned home. I’m also someone who, for much of my life, wasn’t able to afford to pay someone else to do the dirty work. I would finally capitulate to the clutter, attacking the mess with a vengeance. When the job was done, I’d go out for a while and come back, just so I could get that feeling of walking into a freshly clean-and-tidy space.
When asked to offer a critical assessment of many a client’s website, I’m often reminded of that routine household chore. With their homepages, a lot of companies unwittingly rob first-time visitors of that comfortable feeling of entering an open, spacious room. Far too often, that all-important first impression is muddied with too much information. While the urge to toot your horn and tell your story is understandable, much of it should be kept off your homepage and relegated to an “About” page. Walking into your company’s online “house,” potential clients should find essential info as quickly as possible. Every element should be in its place and performing its essential function. So, what are some of those essential homepage elements?
• Value Proposition – Clearly state your value proposition – what you do and why you do it better than the competition. Keep it short, compelling, and right up front. Here in the instant-gratification age, most people don’t take the time to read. Too many words, and they’re gone.
• Video – They may not read, but people will hang out to watch a video. A short “explainer” video can go a long way in telling your story and actually getting it heard.
• Call To Action – Make it as easy as possible for visitors to learn more about you and your company. Prominent call-to-action buttons are essential. This is your opportunity to hook them with, for example, a free copy of your new e-book, one of many ways to tout your expertise and grow your mailing list.
• Clear-and-Easy Points Of Entry – Make it easy for visitors to learn more with multiple points of entry. In addition to the usual menu items, entice them to dig deeper with nicely designed, easily accessible links that don’t clutter up your page.
Finally, it’s impossible to overstate the importance of showcasing and maximizing all of the above with the kind of clean-and-spacious design that shows off your company in the very best light. That’s a very nice thing to come home to.