We craft messaging and copy for websites almost daily at April May June, and with few exceptions, homepages are the most scrutinized, belabored, and frustrating of pages to execute. You need to tell a big story fast, immediately engage visitors, and incite them to take action all while your visitors are faced with distractions galore (think: navigation bar, social call-to-action, email sign-up, twitter feeds, banners, sliders…). When considering developing or redesigning a website, be sure you don’t neglect this, the most critical of pages.
Elements of a successful homepage:
Think of your homepage as your website’s welcome mat. And while not all visitors will land on your site through your homepage, it should immediately give them a sense of what you offer and why you’re totally amazing. Whether you’re a consumer product, educational institute, medical practice, or creative agency, the goal is to educate visitors then have them take the desired action (purchase, download, call). Your homepage is a first impression that can either jumpstart a long-lasting relationship or quickly turn into Bounce City.
Before you get started creating your homepage, consider what you want your visitor to do first. Where you want to lead them on your site. What action you want them to take. Great design, navigation, and copy balance what your user wants to do with what you want them to do.
Keep copy light and directional.
Nothing is worse than exhausting blocks of text to get through on any site. This introductory copy should be a handshake not a rib-crushing bear hug. Give your visitors just enough info to get them hooked by keeping it high level then with potent calls-to-action get them to sign up for your newsletter, draw them deeper into the site, or send them to your contact form.
Design with them in mind.
When it comes to the look of your homepage, make it easy on the eye. Don’t crowd it with competing imagery, calls-to-action, banners. Less is definitely more. In terms of copy layout, spread it around, let it breath. People will scroll. Parallax scrolling is a personal fave because it turns a mundane activity into an interactive experience.
For the love of fonts.
The visual aspect of your website makes a big impression. Fonts go a long way in keeping your site in line with current trends. So does imagery. A picture says a thousand words, but a bad stock photo says just one: CHEAP. Make the homepage hero image killer!
Ultimately, your homepage will set the tone for the rest of your website. Perfecting it will make it more likely you’ll successfully carry your messaging and voice consistently across the rest of your web pages and conquer the world.