A website homepage is usually the first page a site viewer will see when they visit your website so you want to make a good impression. Having a direct message to grab and hold the viewers attention is crucial. Here are 3 important questions to ask when designing or redesigning your homepage.
Is your business branding clear?
Your logo, site colors, images and overall style all add up to your business brand, so make sure it is consistent and matches what your demographic will be attracted to.
Is your navigation easy to find and navigate?
Make sure the placement of your navigation is easy to locate and not overly customized or broken out into multiple menus in different places. Make sure you do not have too many pages listed to overwhelm the viewer. Also, keep the names of your pages general enough but include keywords so viewers understand what content topic will be on that page.
Do you have a call to action in the top section of your homepage?
A call to action that shows up on your website homepage and is visible without having to scroll down is crucial. Determine what your goal is for the site (i.e. obtain inquiry lead, collect email address or sell a product) and then use a form or button to have a clear call to action that requests the site viewer to click or complete the form. Don’t be shy, it’s ok, everyone is doing it, don’t miss out on using your website as the best marketing tool it can be.
Is your website content speaking directly to your demographic?
Tailor your website content to appeal to the needs of the target audience, painting a picture of the outcome they can expect from your company or product. Connect emotionally with the needs of your audience rather then just selling or pitching to them.
– Keep your look consistent
– Make the site easy to navigation
– Include a clear call to action
– Relate to your audience don’t just sell to them
Your site design and content should guide each visitor through your website. Your content and call to action are important so the visitor connects with the site to achieve the site goals (i.e. make a sale, call for a quote or possibly fill out a contact form with lead details).
Less Can Be More
Yes, you want to showcase all that your business does or has on your website. You want to have content that is rich with keywords so that your site ranks properly in the search engines, but less can be more when it comes to content.
Keeping your site visitor’s experience in mind and including content that is most applicable and appealing to visitors will keep them on your site longer which can better allow for a sale or lead. Group content and categories together and include information that your site visitors need to know or will be looking for, but do not inundate them with details that are unnecessary.
Appeal To Your Audience
If you are redesigning your site or taking a major overhaul on the content then go back to the drawing board and plan out and rethink your pages and content. Streamline your navigation and drop-down menus so that the site is easy to navigate. Pay extra attention to planning out the homepage text, photos, call to action and sections to ensure that you are addressing the different types of site visitors:
The Spontaneous Visitor: They get to your website from a referral or by search and want to call, email or inquire about your services or products.
Suggestion: Have a phone number, contact form and/or email address easily accessible on the page(s) so this type of visitor doesn’t have to hunt for this information. You only have a small window of time to hold a visitors attention and if they do not find what they want from a site they will click out.
The Researching Visitor: They are looking for a product or service and want to easily navigate the site to learn more, get pricing or find out which company is the best for their needs. These visitors usually want to learn more about the company, years of experience and/or reason for why the company was started and return or warranty policies.
Suggestion: Have not only a shop now, buy now or contact now button on the homepage, but also have a learn more button. The visitor that is doing their research may be drawn to learn more about the product or service since they may not be ready to purchase or provide their lead details. Make sure to have an option on the learn more page to buy, shop or contact now just in case the visitor decides they are ready to proceed after learning more.
The Review/Testimonial Seeking Visitor: They are looking to research other peoples experience with the company, products or services.
Suggestion: Linking to or adding a feed for a trade industry or reputable online community site for reviews can be helpful. Video testimonials are very popular and can be uploaded to YouTube and then embedded into the website for easy viewing. Add a link in your website navigation for testimonials so that a site visitor can easily access the page. You can also add an excerpt of a testimonial on the homepage or interior website page sidebar.
It does not matter who your customer is or what type of design you are creating, quality images are a must. If you have not outsourced your photography needs to a professional photographer there are a couple of options that can work for you.
Below are some tips that will make you look good…
All Google Images Are Not Free Images
The images that show up in Google Images are pulled from all different websites, referencing your search phrase, and these images are owned by the websites that posted them. You would need to make sure that the images are public domain images since these images can be used by anyone. You can do an advanced search on Google and filter the search by usage rights. Even still, Google advises that the image license can not be guaranteed. I would suggest steering away from using Google images for business photos. Even if an image is free to use, who knows how many other businesses are using the same image. Stand out from the rest!
Purchase Quality Stock Images
Keep your business brand and customer in mind when selecting stock photos so that the images you purchase have the most impact on your target audience. When purchasing stock images you will have size options to choose from. The larger the photo the higher the cost. If you are purchasing images for print (flyers, brochures, business cards, etc.) you will want to go with at least 300 dpi. There may be multiple options that are 300 dpi so check with your designer before purchasing the image to make sure it is large enough. If you are purchasing an image that will be used on the web, you will want to purchase a small image, 72 dpi. Again the size will need to be selected to fit the design, which your designer will be able to help you with. Keep in mind if you are purchasing images that will be used for both web and print, you can purchase just the higher resolution images since they can be reduced in size for the web. Below are some stock photo websites…
If you are feeling brave or on a budget, you can try taking photos on your own. There are some things you should keep in mind:
- If you are photographing a professional headshot make sure the subject is wearing the appropriate clothes and accessories. Make sure to use soft lighting and angle one of the subject’s shoulder away from the camera slightly.
- Shoot photos with ample light. Make sure the light is directly over or on the sides of the subject(s), never behind.
- Do not use the flash on the camera if the subject is a person or if the object may reflect the light.
- Do shoot in a clutter-free space with a solid colored background (white or black, contrasting with the content of your subject).
- If you are shooting a product you can purchase a photo lightbox kit or if you are crafty you could make one yourself. This option will show off your products with an optimal background and professional lighting.
- Consistency is key so if you shoot a series of photos for a gallery or to show in a brochure, try to keep them either landscape or portrait in orientation.
- Once you are done shooting your images you will want to edit them. You can use any photo editing software to crop and/or resize your images.
Wikipedia says color is a very influential source of information when people are making a purchasing decision. Customers generally make an initial judgment on a product within 90 seconds of interaction with that product and about 62%-90% of that judgment is based on color. People often see the logo of a brand or company as a representation of that company. Without prior experience to a logo, we begin to associate a brand with certain characteristics based on the primary logo color.
Wikipedia says brand management is a communication function that includes analysis and planning on how that brand is positioned in the market, which target audience the brand is aimed at and maintaining a desired reputation of the brand.
We all know that keeping your website updated and relevant not only helps with your search engine rankings, but also keeps your current clients/visitors close and coming back for more. Here are 3 things to keep fresh and up to date on your website:
- Make sure the information on your website is correct. When is the last time you really reviewed your website content? If you have an event calendar, pricing or any time sensitive content make sure it is up to date. Scheduling consistent website updates on your marketing calendar will keep your site fresh.
- Add to or change up banner and gallery images. Keep current with trends or seasons by updating your website images that connect with your demographic and let them know you are not only still in business but on the ball with fulfilling their needs.
- If you have a blog make sure to regularly post to grow your following and establish or maintain validity for your industry or platform.
Tip: Use social media and email marketing to share when you make significant website updates. Stay fresh in your clients/visitors mind so that they will want to stay connected.