How to develop an effective home page on your website

How to develop an effective home page on your website

Think of your home page like a magazine cover, and watch your site come together beautifully.

I often tell my clients that your website home page should function like a magazine cover: it should reflect the content contained inside using color, style, and compelling words; it should showcase your company’s “brand personality” and provide the big picture of what you offer; and it should include key details/benefits/features of your products/services. Keep reading, and I’ll explain these how you can define these elements for your own site.

Doesn’t a great magazine cover compel you to open up, look inside, and want to read the magazine?

  • A magazine cover often features one strong visual or photo.
  • A magazine cover also alludes to other important “stories” inside, using smaller photos and subheads.
  • And a magazine cover instantly lets you know whether you want to continue reading more…or not.

You need to have an effective home page if you want people to stay on your site.

twistars-smallIf you’ve put together your home page correctly — like a good magazine cover — the viewer stays, clicks further inside your site, and ultimately finds what they’re looking for whether it’s you, your services, or your products. But if you’ve failed to tell the story with your “cover,” (or the viewer can’t find what they came looking for) they click on to other “covers” and that’s the end of your story. You’ve lost the visitor.

Of course there are great home pages that don’t use this magazine cover treatment, but this concept usually works well for me — plus my clients get it. I’ll spend a lot of time thinking and talking about your home page when creating a new website. Once we get all the home elements established, it’s usually easy to roll out the rest of the site.

What information should I include on my home page?

Below is a list of questions and ideas for sketching out your home page content — both for big picture brand “personality” and smaller, key details. We’ll break down this equation:

Presence + Personality + Visitors + Competitors = Your perfect home page solution

Presence. How would you describe your business/organization to an interested reporter? What are you known for? What do you want to be known for in 2-5 years? What is your “elevator speech?” (and make it a brilliant one, not a blah blah blah one).

Personality. What is the voice of your site — first person, third person, sassy, serious, playful, funny, professional, opinionated? Is it a blog with frequently updated content or a more traditional website? Obviously, the personality of your business should be reflected consistently in all you do whether it’s your website, logo, advertisement or Facebook page.

Visitors. Who is your audience? Who do you want to attract to your site? What are the 5 most common keywords or search terms that a potential visitor might use to arrive at your website? What are the 3-5 most important things you want a visitor to see/learn when they arrive at your site? Where are the first three clicks you want that visitor to make after they arrive?

Competitors. What are your competitors doing on their home pages? What jumped out at you when you landed there? And what effect did it have on you: did you click further into the site or did you leave, and why?

Answer the questions above, make a list to share with your website designer/developer, and you’ll be off to a great start on your new site.