Your website’s home page is the very first thing anyone sees when they try to reach you, whether through Google’s search results or off of your business card. That’s why if the home page is getting a lot more bounces than click-throughs, it may be time to really take another look at it and see if it needs some improvements.
How to tell it’s time for an update
There are lots of ways to determine if your website’s home page is out of date. For one, your brand could have gone through a new transformation, not only in graphic design but also in reforming your identity and how it’s shown to the world. Maybe your product or service has undergone some necessary changes as well, and you want your home page to reflect these changes. This is all a very good reason to update your home page accordingly.
As we mentioned already, the bounce rate can be really telling – you can check Google Analytics for best results. Is it too high? If so, there could be a lack of calls to action or the design is just too much for people to handle.
Be sure to check on your sales (again, Google Analytics is your friend here). Are you not getting as many as you hoped? Perhaps there’s a flaw or problem with your website’s overall design you didn’t catch before.
You could also take a look at how other websites compare to yours. When was it last updated? If it’s been over a year or more, it’s high time for an upgrade.
What you should always include on your home page
Payment options – very important if your website is ecommerce!
Great visuals – showcase your best photos and images. Really focus on using pictures that reflect your brand! Perhaps there are colours that don’t really mesh with what your brand represents right now – if that’s the case, find new ones or give them a brushing up.
Easy access to menus – very important! These menus should also load quickly so as not to deter customers from visiting.
Search bar – again, this is mandatory if your website is ecommerce. It also helps if you have a blog with a lot of content to check out; a search bar can help filter results.
Contact information – here and on every web page, basically. If you don’t have it or a venue for unhappy customers to complain via gravity form, kiss your sales goodbye.
About page – it doesn’t matter how many people in your company there are, if you don’t tell people who you are off the bat, the trust level WILL impact your business. If you’re a smaller business owner, use this personable approach and your personality to your advantage.
Social media accounts – depending on your business, but we recommend the following regardless of type: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+. For visually engaging websites that rely on visuals and video for marketing purposes, we highly recommend YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat.
A newsletter sign-up option – an e-mail marketing campaign helps keep you and your audience in touch. If you have any contests or promotions to offer, such as freebies, e-mail is a surefire way to win said contest – who doesn’t love winning prizes anyway!
Here’s what NOT to include on your home page
All text, no visuals – humans are a visual creature, whereas if your home page is nothing but text, search engine robots may like it but humans won’t. Make sure there is a nice balance of both.
Cluttered links – nothing except clickable links is just as bad! It will make your website look spammy.
Poor grammar/spelling, etc. – seriously, don’t do it. Always proofread before publishing ANYTHING online. Unless it’s for humour’s sake or to draw attention to your editorial services for hire, don’t do it.
Keyword stuffing – we know you stuffers are out there.
Visuals that are pixelated, clear stock, or miscoloured – not only do they look ugly but also if they don’t reflect your brand or represent it properly, you could be telling your customers the wrong thing entirely.
Broken/dead images and links – not only do these not look good period but also they can break the trust built between you and customers. Remove any links that are unnecessary or irrelevant to your website on the home page. If your website is an ecommerce one this is especially important. If there are links that connect to a product that’s been removed, but you know it will return (for example it’s a seasonal product or out of stock temporarily), mention that fact on its product page. If it’s discontinued or no longer being sold, get rid of it.
Making a home page isn’t just about the technicalities – it’s about leaving a lasting first impression about you and your brand and values to newcomers and returning visitors alike. Don’t just leave a good impression – leave an awesome one when you launch your website.
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