Every website has a homepage with elements of it so familiar you don’t even have to think about where you are looking or what you are looking for. On a homepage you are sure to find a navigation area, company name and logo, and more or less an introduction to the company depending on the creativity of the website. Some sites are obscure because they were intentionally created that way but some are obscure and hard to use because they are badly designed. What do you need to have the ultimate website homepage?
What is familiar in your home page?
There are several common elements people expect to see when visiting a website homepage. Many of these are elements from time-tested layouts, or else designs that follow the norms of what are available. Some common features include:
- The logo/name of the business (in the top left corner) hyperlinked to the home page URL
- The top navigation menu, which typically contains items such as “Home”, “About Us”, “Services” and “Contact Us”
- An introduction or welcome text in the main area that probably talks aboutthe business/website and what it offers
- A footer that contains a few important links pointing to the website’s inner pages
It is safe to assume that your home page is the most visited page of the website. Are you properly maximizing your home page real estate to direct traffic within your site? For many, it is also the most common page that people leave your site (because they don’t see what they are looking for within the first few seconds). This page is extremely important to your business and to retaining your website traffic. Have you properly thought it through?
What makes your home page special
Your home page is a direct preview into your business and must hook the visitor within seconds! The way you utilize this space influences a visitor’s decision to explore further, take action, contact you, or even make a purchase.
For a layout that has everything you need to acquire a new customer you must include: a space for your Brand ID or Logo, a Call to Action or advertising section for your new products/offers/promotions, an area for orienting new visitors with your business and last but not least, navigation to guide your visitors to the rest of your site. Do you know the priority that you should be placing these items? Have you been maximizing your homepage real estate space?
Understanding the purpose
The most effective websites are ones that are built with a purpose in mind. With an end goal in mind, you can then build the pieces that will create your ideal outcome. From your business’ point of view, there are three major purposes that your home page serves: one is to provide information, the second is to promote/advertise and the third, is to encourage users to take quick action.
Once you identify which of these purposes you want to focus on with your website, you can easily get your home page work for you. We all know the common elements that are a standard part of the website layout, such as your logo, navigation, etc. But let’s look at a few examples that are less commonly considered.
Having a search bar in the header area – Larger websites with a large amount of information, or with products for sale, should definitely have a search element for their website. How many times have you found yourself looking at your monitor and wishing, “If only this website had a search option so that I could find this product…”? Many people who are online are not internet savvy and often resort to “searching Google” when they don’t find something they need. While they might have the intent to buy from you, the easier the search process is, the more likely they are to buy.
Put up your phone number, in big text – Make sure your phone number is prominent and obvious. Most users, when they need a phone number, just click to the home page and look at the top right corner. The header is the perfect place to put up your phone number, in text format (as opposed to image), so that your users can copy your number easily. This is especially important as many layouts are then converted to mobile sites, or include responsive design.
Run promotional banners – This is one of the most effective techniques in promoting anything important at a glance – be it your product/service categories, new products, offers/sales/promotions, etc. Keep them in the most visible portion of your home page, ‘above the fold’ which is usually within the header area or right under it. (Above the fold means that the area that is immediately visible on a page when a user first visits it.)
Keep actionable elements to the right – Most websites have their actionable elements – such as enquiry forms, newsletter signup buttons, shopping cart button, etc. – towards the right hand side of the page, because people are more convenient in interacting with them.
Simply put, your website is something that helps your users communicate with you. Make it easier for them by equipping your home page with all the answers. Studies are constantly being run to discover the most effective way to display data on a homepage, contact 3-Keys to learn more about some of the current best practices!