Your organization needs to feature an effective homepage that informs your visitors and encourages them to venture into your website.
We’ve designed hundreds of websites over the years and are regularly performing user-experience (UX) research to discover how each audience interacts with homepages. Our research has led us to 10 key features that are ideal for every website’s homepage and will provide significant benefits to your visitors and online goals.
10. Contact Information
Your audience should be able to reach out to you at any time, easily. Encouraging your visitors to inquire about your products or services often produces a solid lead or sale.
Depending on your business, it’s likely a good idea to include a contact form or phone number not just on your “contact us” page, but also on your homepage.
9. A Synopsis of What You Do
Your visitors don’t understand your organization as well as you do. Don’t just rely solely on your “about us,” your products or your services pages to explain how you serve customers. Visitors may not make it to those pages if they enter through your homepage and are confused about your offerings.
Include a brief sentence or two on your homepage summarizing exactly what your business offers. This copy should be clear and focused on how you solve problems for your clients. The message will be helpful for visitors and can have SEO benefits.
8. An Explanation of What Sets You Apart
Just as it’s essential to clarify what you do, your homepage should explain what makes your business unique, different and worthwhile. Your competitors are just a click away! You must stand out immediately.
Ensure the synopsis of what you do focuses not just on your offerings, but why you’re different.
7. Real Photos
Your homepage is often the first exposure a person has to your brand, so demonstrating your authenticity is critical.
Stock photos are one of the least authentic elements you can add to your homepage. These images don’t fool anyone; everyone knows that’s not actually your office, team or services.
Whenever possible, use real photos that truly represent your business. Your audience will appreciate the authenticity.
6. Social Media Icons
Links to a brand’s social media accounts have become a standard that visitors expect. While they don’t need to be visually prevalent, it is helpful to include social media icons on your homepage; typically in the footer.
5. Your Logo
While this may seem like a no brainer, it is critical to have your brand’s logo in a clear position on your homepage. Visitors typically expect to see it on the left-hand side or in the middle of your website header.
Additionally, it’s a web standard to have the logo linked to your homepage so visitors can return to it no matter what page they’re currently viewing.
4. Location Info
Sharing a physical location is beneficial for most businesses. While this should be present on your “contact us” page, it’s also a general web standard to include it in the footer of the homepage and every page.
3. A Clear Headline
Just as it’s imperative to feature brief copy describing what you do and what sets you apart, it’s also vital to precede this copy with a clear, concise headline.
This brief text should be designated as a heading 1 (H1) for SEO purposes. It should also ideally include a keyword that’s important to your audience, such as the name of your industry or one of your most important service lines.
2. Intuitive Navigation
In reality, few website visitors care much about your homepage. They’re typically looking for more in-depth answers and information that are located on other pages.
Your homepage’s job is to intrigue your audience and serve as a hub to other areas of your website. Therefore, you must ensure the main navigation and callouts are clear and intuitive. Gaining insights on how your visitors behave in tools like Google Analytics or through UX testing is the best place to start improving your navigation.
1. A Single, Prominent Call-to-action
We always ask our clients, “What’s the number one thing you’d like visitors to do when they arrive on your website?” In most cases, it’s an action like filling out a form, signing up for an event, or submitting an inquiry.
Don’t hope your visitors find that form - help them find it! Everything should point your audience toward your number one conversion point. Include a clear button on your homepage that serves as a focal point and encourages your audience to travel down this path.
Many other features could be helpful for your website, including:
- Testimonials - Sharing a few testimonials can be a great way to let visitors know that others are impressed with your expertise.
- Awards - Some industries place great importance on awards. If your target audience feels these are important, feature a few of your honors on the homepage.
- Examples of your work - If a visitor is thinking about working with you, they’ll want to see examples of your work. A full portfolio page is often a good idea, but sharing a few samples on your homepage can also be useful.
- Website search - If you have a medium to large website, including an internal website search feature can help your visitors discover content found in pages that aren’t as easily accessible from the homepage.
- SEO - This goes without saying, but your homepage (and all pages of your website) should follow SEO best practices. This includes elements like a unique meta title and meta description, solid keywords throughout all copy, and proper schema markup.
Have questions or need help reviewing or redesigning your homepage? Don’t hesitate to reach out to us!