Your website homepage is the most important page of your website. It is likely to be the most visited (I know mine is). And it doesn’t matter how good your other pages are, if no-one sees them because your homepage is rubbish, then they’re wasted.
Your website homepage has two jobs. It needs to let the people you want to work with know they have come to the right place and it needs to signpost them to where they need to go next.
It is tempting to try and cram as much as possible onto this page, but think of your homepage as your shop window – too much and no-one will go further. This is the page to get your audience interested, not to sell as such. Leave that job for your sales/services page.
So what should you include?
1. Header Image
This should be the image that “best” captures your business. This is the first image people will see and it will determine whether they stay or leave your website (no pressure). So make it good!
If you run a service based business use an image of you “at work”, looking as you want your clients to see you. Think about the impression you want to give. Do you want to come across as friendly, easy to work with? Or do you want to be the straight talking, no-nonsense business person? This image sets the tone for the rest of your website.
If you have a product based business then great images of your products in a “lifestyle” setting work well. That might be candles on a table or skincare bottles in a beautiful bathroom. You’re selling a dream!
We’re not a fan of sliders. No-one waits for them to rotate so they will usually only see one of the images on the slider. You’re better off using the one best image here and the others elsewhere on your website.
2. Headline (or Brand Statement)
This should state “what you do and who you do it for” or “who you do it for and the benefit they get”. It’s a short version of your elevator pitch if you like, letting people know if they have come to the right place and whether it is worth investing their time in your website.
Don’t try to be clever here. It needs to be short and to the point. There’s a place later you can expand on it. So it is the “gentle sleep training for babies”, “bridal make up in Somerset and Devon”, “vegan skincare that doesn’t cost the earth” – you get the picture.
3. Call to Action
You should include a Call to Action at or near the top of the page so those who come to your website ready to take action can do so easily.
There will be people who come to your website knowing they want to work with you. They might have bought from you before, built up a relationship on social media or been recommended. What do you want them to do? Buy Now? Book a Call? Schedule an Appointment? Don’t make them scroll (there’s a risk they’ll get distracted and not come back) – make it easy for them to do what you want them to do.
Calls to Action should be easy to identify. We’re fans of bold buttons!
But you should also include Calls to Action further down the page too. And definitely at the end of the page. Otherwise how will they know what to do next???
4. Intro Text
I usually like to add a piece of “intro text” underneath your header image and headline. This should be a short piece of text showing you understand their position and emphasising the benefit (not the features) of your services.
Don’t make this too long, but this is the place you can show you understand the problem they have and explain your approach.
For product based businesses this isn’t always necessary. If you do include it make it short!
5. How you can Help
You want to show that your services will help your website visitors and signpost them where to find out more. If you have a lot of services this is not the place to show them all, but to point them to the services they’ll be interested in (rather than distracting them with services they have no interest in). There are a number of different ways you can do this.
For services, if you have 4 or fewer you could show them all. Otherwise think about the kind of questions you might ask to direct someone to your services (eg by age of baby if you’re a sleep consultant or “1:1 services” and “online courses”)
If you run a product business you can highlight different categories of products (eg “For her”, “For him”, “For kids” or “necklaces”, “rings”, “bracelets”). You could highlight new products too. And definitely include a “bestsellers” – people like to know what other people are buying and they take this as a sign that these products are particularly good!
6. Why they should choose YOU
You’re good – we know that. But you need to show your audience that you’re the right person to help them.
There are several ways to do this (note don’t try to include all of these on your homepage – just a few is enough).
These show people how you have helped people like your target audience. Make sure they represent the kind of work you want to do for the kind of clients you want to work with going forward.
These are other people’s reviews from working with you. Ideally they should include names and photos (they are more realistic if people can relate them to people) and even better if you can get a video. These are one of the best ways of persuading people that you can really help them.
There’s prestige in getting mentioned in the press and winning awards (if relevant to your work). You can usually link to articles but don’t copy articles without permission.
Depending upon your service, qualifications can be hugely important to whether someone will choose to work with you. For example, if you are choosing a nutritionist or personal trainer you’re more likely to choose to work with one that has relevant qualifications.
Memberships can also help increase the trust factor. It shows some authority.
You can include logos or just list any qualifications you have or memberships you belong to.
Don’t try and tell your whole story on your home page. This is not the place. It can be helpful to explain why you do what you do, if relevant to your audience. If you help with weight loss after losing a lot of weight yourself, this is relevant. But, if you are running a business because you need the flexibility of working school hours this is not.
If you blog about subjects related to the service you offer (and we always recommend you do this), this shows your authority. Linking to your blog posts on your homepage can therefore be a good way of demonstrating your authority.
As with other items on your homepage just choose a few blogs. Either the latest few or ones that you particularly want to highlight. Unless you’re a blogger then I’d have a maximum of 4.
7. Email Sign Up
Not everyone who lands on your website is going to go on to buy from you there and then. You need a way to keep in touch so you can nurture them, they can find out more about you and then, when they’re ready and you put an offer in front of them, they’ll buy. An email list is a brilliant way of doing this (although you do then need to email them regularly!!)
Your website homepage can be a good place to capture email addresses to add to your email marketing list. However, few people will give you their email addresses just to keep in touch – you need to offer something in return.
The job of your homepage is to show people they have come to the right place – to entice them in – and to direct them where to go next.
There are 7 key items you should include which will help you do that:
- Your header image – that is an image of you at work (on a good day) or your products in a lifestyle setting (selling the dream)
- Your headline or brand statement – a quick what you do/who you do it for
- Call to Action – it is very important to have his at or near the top of your home page, bottom of the page and in between too – you’re telling them what to do next
- Intro text – this expands a bit on your headline
- How you can help – it is really important especially for a services business to tell visitors you understand and can help – then direct them to the right place to find out more. For product businesses it is the key categories of products
- Why you – in brief, using some combination of portfolio of work, testimonials, press and awards, qualifications and memberships, a bit about you and your blog
- Your email sign up – so you can keep in touch
We produced a handy pdf guide to your homepage which you can download here
That’s it. Good luck with your homepage!
Have you listened to our podcast yet? There’s an episode to go with this blog post which you can find here