Your homepage has a lot of work to do.
When prospects land on your website, it’s usually the first thing they see. Often, it might be their introduction to your business as a whole. And as the saying goes, you only have one chance to make a first impression.
Your homepage is essentially a digital storefront. It needs to welcome people in and explain what you’re all about – in a way that speaks directly to the prospect pain points you solve. It needs to convey your unique value proposition in a clear, compelling way.
It also needs to highlight key benefits and features to help prospects understand how your business works. Ideally, it will capture a bit about your overall mission so visitors get a feel for what your company is about.
But that’s not all. Don’t forget to include testimonials, video demos, important statistics and calls-to-action (CTAs) to help visitors find relevant interior pages and additional content.
It’s a lot. And it can be overwhelming to look at a template or a completely blank space knowing how important it’s going to be to your business.
Over the years, we’ve worked on a lot of homepages, including our own, and we’ve uncovered a few tactics to make the process more manageable for you and more enjoyable for your visitors.
Instead of thinking about your homepage like an empty room that needs to be filled with all of the aforementioned important information, consider approaching it like a journey. It doesn’t matter what kind, as long as it follows a clear path from beginning to middle to end.
On this journey, it’s your job to guide your audience through an experience that not only makes sense but also intrigues and engages them. It should be logical and cohesive; that is, your top-level messaging should be woven through the content on the rest of the page, and your transitions should flow in a seamless way.
That top-level messaging and its supporting content also need to be strong enough to capture your audience’s attention; it only takes a visitor 50 milliseconds to determine whether they want to stay on your page.
Finally, what’s a journey without a destination? Where should your visitors, ideally, end up after your homepage? Make it easy for them to take the next step, whether that’s diving deeper into your process, exploring how you solve their unique challenges on a dedicated persona page or signing up for a free trial.
We already briefly mentioned your top-level messaging, but since that will ultimately set the tone for your entire homepage, it’s worth spending some more time on.
Don’t be afraid to start big with your hero message. This is the place to tap into your audience’s greatest aspirations, loftiest goals or deepest emotions. Doing so successfully requires an intimate understanding of those goals and emotions, so before you make assumptions about your buyer, get to know them better.
Once you do, you can create an attention-grabbing high-level message that sets the tone for your entire business. As you move down the homepage, start grounding that message by narrowing it down with how your product or service benefits users, why they need it and where they can get it.
Remember to keep your top-level message in mind as you create sub-headlines and body copy, and speak to specific benefits and features without turning your homepage into a product catalog; that’s what your interior pages are for.
This is the simplest, but arguably most important, part of creating a homepage story. Ultimately, your homepage is not about you or your business – or at least, it shouldn’t be.
It’s about how your business benefits your prospects. Make sure they’re front and center.
Try to avoid we- and our-focused language. Instead, speak to you and your. Hopefully, you’re doing that already in your top-level messaging, but that’s not enough. Resist the urge to talk about what makes your product or service awesome; instead, talk about what your prospects will be able to do when they use it.
If you need to, you can literally count the number of times your homepage mentions “we, us, our” versus “you, your.” The latter should far outweigh the former.
Once you’ve nailed down your messaging and oriented your homepage content around your audience’s needs, do a full and painfully honest scroll of the page yourself.
Are there large blocks of text that would be more digestible as bullet points – or cut down entirely?
Is your language tight and to the point, or would your page benefit from an editor’s proverbial chisel?
How long is the scroll? If your homepage goes on for too long, you risk losing your audience before they have a chance to take any sort of action. Shorten the page itself by moving in-depth content to interior pages, or at the very least, make sure you have prominent CTAs placed throughout.