The key to knowing how to design an effective homepage comes down to understanding how to communicate an enticing message and knowing how to entice webpage viewers to click further into your website. In order to generate sales from your website you will need to get webpage viewers to go past your homepage. When done well your website homepage design can have a significant impact on the number of customers your business generates from your website.
The first step to getting people to buy once they get to your website is to have them not immediately leave your website after they arrive at it. The amount of website traffic that leaves immediately after going to your home page (or any other page they go to first) without going to any further pages is called a bounce rate. A good bounce rate is anything under 40%. The bounce rate of your homepage is a great way to track the effectiveness of your homepage. The six tips below will help you reduce your bounce rate for your homepage.
6 Tips On How To Design An Effective Homepage
1. Communicate One Message Of What You Do
You need your homepage to in one loud message say what you do. This message should be in multiple places and all say the same thing. Your logo should say what you do, the images on your homepage should convey what you do. The text on your homepage in multiple locations should say what you do. To test how effective your homepage is at this have some people who don't know what you do and have never seen your site before take a look at it. After looking at your landing page turn off the computer screen and ask them what they think your company does based on your landing page. How accurately they describe what you do will tell you how effective your homepage is at communicating what you do.
2. Communicate What Is In It For Your Website Viewer
Within this single message you want to shout from your homepage you want to include in that message what is in it for your page viewers. Why should they care? Why should they want to go into your site more? How will they benefit from your company? If you can clearly communicate this they will be eager to read more and click on something that is of interest to them. The key is to communicate this in a clear, simple message, repeatedly on your homepage with images and text.
3. Use A Design Hierarchy
A communication hierarchy is just that, a hierarchy of what you want to communicate. Create a communication hierarchy to outline what are the most important things you want to communicate, with the most important being first and etc. As noted above you want what your company does to be a strong number one on this list and how people can benefit a strong number two. If it is very easy to tell what you do, what is in it for page viewers might even be your number one. These two items should take up 70-80% of what is being communicated from the page. Fill out the communication hierarchy with the rest of the items or things you want to communicate on your homepage. I would limit this list to 5 or so items. Then take your communication hierarchy and take a look at your homepage design. By looking at the design does the first item on your hierarchy have the most prominence and jump of the page the most? Is the second item the 2nd most prominent? I think you get the idea. Go all the way through the list and make any necessary revisions to your design o make sure your design matches the hierarchy you outlined for yourself.
4. Include A Large Area Of Click-able Items
5. Use Some Tools That Increase Engagement
This can be anything from video, to a scrolling news bar, a poll or rotating focal display center piece. By having engaging items on your landing page to draw in the attention of your viewer it will increase the likely hood that they stay on your website. Here are some great examples . A great example is www.coca-cola.com. You will notice how basically everywhere on the page is click-able and they have a large rotating click-able box front and center. In addition they have a live news feed from their twitter account. One of my clients also does a great job using video. Check out their website at www.unitwin.com where you will see his company video is front and center on his homepage. 99designs does a great job of using video on their homepage. To see their design go to www.99designs.com. At www.darefoods.com they have a rotating center display and a poll. Although the poll on this website could be improved by including the actual question on the homepage.
6. Test And Track
Continue to test and track the layout and design of your landing page. A great way to do this is to slightly modify your design once a month and see if the bounce rate of your home page goes up or down. If it goes up significantly, revert back to your previous design. If it goes down, then keep that design as your new design and use it as your new benchmark. If you continually test and track your homepage you will continuously improve your bounce rate and over the long term you will see a significant drop in your bounce rate.
If you do these six things I think you will find people will click on something to go further into your web page. People will stay on your website longer and you will acquire more new customers from your website. You may not get these people to buy the first time they go to your website but many of them will come back to your website a 2nd, 3rd or 4th time and at some point in the future and decide to buy.
A great example is a prospective customer that recently asked me to meet. I had met him at a networking event a few months ago. After the meeting I sent him a note with my contact information and website. I noticed that he or his business partner had been to my website as one of them had downloaded a free item I provide on my website. The next time I bumped into him it was clear he had been on my website once if not multiple times and had read many of my pages as he had a very good understanding of what I do. As a result he asked me to meet with him to discuss my services and see if it would be a fit to work together. In this particular example my website did most of the work to generate the lead. If I had a website that did not entice users to click past the first page they land on, or did not do a good job explaining what I did, I would not have got the lead. If you have a great website home page that communicates one strong message (that message being what you do and how the viewer can benefit from what you do) and your home page is engaging, which entices people to click further into your site, you will generate more new customers from your website.
If you are looking to have your homepage or website designed or redesigned I would recommend using 99designs as their service will provide you with multiple proposals from various designers at no extra cost. By having multiple designs created by multiple designers it usually results in a better design. Alternatively outsourcing any website designing on Elance can be a very low cost method if you are more budget conscious.
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I hope this article on website homepage design will be useful to you when designing or reviewing your homepage. Thanks for reading. We are always interested to get feedback from my readers. Let me know if there is a particular topic you want me to write on. Just contact us, put "Blog feedback" in your subject line, and in the email describe what you would like us to write about.