The homepage of your website is your shop window. Just like with people, an opinion will be quickly formed of your business based on its first impression. The front page of your website is often the first contact people have with your company. Good homepage design is therefore critical to the success of your website. Follow our guide to make sure your website is leaving your customers with the right first impression.
What is Good Homepage Design
A good homepage design should start with a consideration of the purpose of the website, and how the homepage fits into that. What are the objectives of your business and what are the objectives of the people visiting your site. You may want to consider:
- What do you want your visitors to do on the homepage. Are you directing them to other parts of your website or do you want them to take some form of action?
- What information do you want to give them. Most businesses will want to include contact information like a phone number, and a basic description of what your company does. You may also want to advertise your most profitable products or services.
- What are your visitors searching for, make it easy for them to find it.
- Subtle signals to consider
- Tone of voice
- Branding and style consistency
- What trust signals to include
- You should always have SEO in mind when putting a webpage together. For most businesses the best keyword to focus on for your homepage will be your company name.
The Basics of Good Homepage Design
A surprising number of people give their homepage the title ‘home’. This is a mistake, the page title is really important for SEO so you make the most of it. The best title to use for your homepage is your business name. It’s informative, it will make sense to your visitors, and it’s a good way to ensure you rank at the top of the search results for your business name.
You site should have a logo, even if this is just your company name in a nice font. A good logo should be immediately recognisable, and should communicate something of your companies personality or ethos. Try to match size and placement with any other branded material you have.
If you site have a lot of pages you might want to consider including a search box on your front page. This is especially important for e-commerce website, most online customers will expect one and will happily use it.
Navigation is one of the most important elements of a website. Even a single page website design can include a menu to help visitors find information further down the page. The menu should act as a site map, but should direct your visitors to the most important pages on your website.
For most business websites the content won’t be the main focus of the front page. However, a bit of text outlining your business and what you do will help Google index it appropriate and prove informative to visitors.
Visual imagery is really important. You may only have 2-3 seconds to convince a visitor that they’ve found a site that’s got what they’re looking for. Many internet users will click the back button if it’s not immediately apparent that the website is what they were expecting. The quickest way to grab someone’s attention is through an image. Use a large bold image at the top of the page that sums up what it is that you do.
Finally have a look at the micro-copy that you use on the website. Micro-copy is the small snippets of text used for navigation labels, headings, etc. They can play an important role in defining what your site is about. You should also consider the keywords used in the navigation labels. How they fit in with your SEO plan and are there better alternatives. However, always design for the user first.
The infographic below by Kissmetrics summaries what you need to consider to build an effective homepage for your business website. Read through it while looking at your site. Check that you’ve got all the points covered and look for opportunities for improvements. If you can satisfy all the criterion for good homepage design you should find more visitors converting, viewing other pages on your website, and returning in the future.