Your website’s homepage: The first impression of your business in the online world
Let’s start with some fun facts! According to HubSpot’s Ultimate List of Marketing statistics, the increase in content consumption on Facebook in the last two years was 57%. And according to YouGov Omnibus research, an average social media user’s attention span is around 8 seconds. What do these have to do with my website’s homepage, you say? Well, these people who consume a lot of content, do it quickly with a short attention span are also the people who are searching for products and services online. One last fun fact before we continue: mobile search traffic is driven 96% by Google.
Think of it this way: In the past when you’re networking at an expo or any business meeting, first you’re face-to-face with someone. Then, you shake your hand, introduce yourself and hand them your business card. If you’ve paid attention, you’ll know they’ll look at your card after the handshake or even later, once the occasion is over. The digital world we live in does bring us closer in some aspects, yes, but we also can’t overlook the fact it eliminates that first physical contact. However, don’t fear, we’ve got a way around that: your website’s homepage is that first impression. And the trick is to make it as attractive and as strong as possible.
It all starts on your homepage
Customers’ online path to purchase is pretty similar across most channels. One scenario is they will search for a product or service on a search engine like Google. Another common scenario is they’ll see an ad for a product or service they’re interested in on a social media platform like Facebook and click the link. The destination? Your website, your homepage. What they see on there will make them decide whether or not they want to stay longer and explore.
What will make them decide to explore is, of course, what you decide to put on the homepage. An ideal homepage.
- Introduces your business and what you do clearly
- Calls visitors to action
- Has attractive design elements
- Is easy to navigate
- Make it easier for visitors to contact you
Now, let’s have a more detailed look at these must-have attributes.
Let’s think of a physical, brick and mortar store. As people pass it by, the first thing they will notice is what’s on display at the storefront. They see your business name, and if you have a selection of products on display, they can tell what line of work you’re in by looking at them. Your homepage is the digital equivalent of this; so make sure you to clearly state:
- Your business name (include your logo if applicable)
- What line of work you’re in?
- Your slogan
- What kind of products or services you offer?
- What added value you provide your customers
- What makes you unique and stand out among your competitors
A good example of this is invygo.com < https://invygo.com/ >. As soon as you enter their website, you see that it’s an application “that allows you to select a car, drive it, exchange it and return it whenever you are ready.” If that’s the kind of service you’re looking for at that particular moment, you’re more likely to scroll down and view the introductory video they have and see the list of advantages they provide with their services.
Call on your visitors to take action
If you walk into a retail store such as Marks & Spencer or a cafe such as Le Pain Quotidien in Dubai, you’ll notice they have employees around the store or cafe who are ready to help our customers. Pretty much the same for most physical stores, no? They are there to help you, but also to encourage you to take action, which is to simply shop. Then, as you’re paying for the products you’re buying, they’ll ask you if you have a loyalty card and whether or not you’d like to receive promotional emails from them, right? You can do all of this right there on your homepage by simply placing a CTA (call-to-action).
Think about what kind of action you’d like your visitors to take when they visit your homepage: do you want them to browse your products? Sign up to your mailing list? Follow you on social media?
For example, Dubai Based, micro-influencer platform, Brandripplr calls users to join them either as a brand or an influencer:
Attractive design elements
We believe that looks aren’t everything, yet that isn’t the case for businesses, unfortunately, whether they’re physical or online. Just think of the biggest brands we all love: even if you didn’t see the logo outside, you’d know you’d walked into a Starbucks. Even if they didn’t print anything on it, you’d know whether you’re holding a Coca-Cola or a Pepsi bottle. Have these at the back of your mind as you’re preparing your homepage: make sure you select and use attractive color combinations, catchy and high-quality photos, and make sure they blend well together within the design.
When it comes to creating your website, you can work with a professional web designer and web developer. If you have a smaller budget or just simply want to do it yourself, there are easy-to-use, professional-looking and mobile friendly solutions like GoDaddy’s Websites + Marketing; it comes with several pre-made websites you can choose from, and once you pick a main color, it’ll choose the matching colors for you. Magic!
Easy navigation in the online world means pretty much the same thing it does in the physical world: getting from one point to the other easily, without getting lost. According to lifewire.com, impatient Internet users will not stay on your website if it takes them long to find what they’re looking for. Therefore, in the design, it is suggesting to keep the navigation bar horizontally across the top or as a vertical sidebar on the left. What’s crucial is making sure your visitors can figure out how to navigate the website as soon as they arrive.
Let’s take lifewire itself as an example: as soon as you arrive on their homepage, you see the navigation bar icon on the top-left, which is three horizontal lines. And when you click on it, you can see the options for where you can navigate to. Notice how simple and to-the-point all section names are:
Make it easy for visitors to contact you
No matter how clearly you explain things, your website visitors might have additional questions about your products and services or they might want to get in touch with you even just to say hello or “thank you for this great product.” In relation to what we’ve already mentioned about easy navigation, it will be easier for them if you give them a way to connect with you right on your homepage: it can be an email address, a contact form or the if you have phone support, the number of your customer care line.
For example, booklava.com which offers audio books in the Arabic language has opted to use a contact form right on their homepage: this way, visitors can just fill in their information, type their message and hit send.
Keep your homepage simple
It all comes down to offering a simple and convenient experience for those who come to your website’s homepage. Make sure it represents your brand in design and content, and make sure it says what you want people to know in a simple and attractive way. With the increase in content consumption and decrease in users’ attention span, it’s necessary to give some time and thought to how you’ll capture your audience and keep them hooked.
Image by: Hannah Wei via Unsplash