Make Your Website’s Home Page Work
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Make Your Website’s Home Page Work

Category: Web Design
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Make your home page work

Late last year, we conducted a nation-wide research project concentrating on the web design marketplace in Scotland, by analysing over 4000 Scottish websites. It was a great exercise to conduct, which gave us a significant insight into our own market.

Whilst we saw some great examples of individual websites, in general our conclusion was that the market was over-saturated with small companies/one-man bands, calling themselves web developers, but that had little or no web development or business experience. Our market is not professionally accredited, so it’s possible that anyone can set up a business with little/no experience and produce a website.

What this has meant is that there are many sites out there with poor design, bad photography, that are not device-responsive and that aren’t written professionally. They don’t produce results for the businesses they are supposed to be representing because of this poor set up.

You can see more detail from our results we published here.

To ensure you don’t fall into the same trap of these fundamental design and content issues, we’ve outlined the main issues we came across, and how to overcome them.

It’s not about you!

Your website shouldn’t be introverted – it shouldn’t be designed for you. It should be designed for your customers. Once you have the focus firmly on what your customers want, you can design the pages, layout and ultimately write the content, for them.

Read our article here about writing the content specifically for your customers.

Speak in plain English

Your homepage should describe, in plain language and clear imagery, what you do. Forget using industry specific jargon they won't understand, or completely self-promoting language – your customers want to firstly understand your business. More accurately, they want to know how they will benefit from working with you or buying from you. That's right, they want to know what's in it for them. Your homepage should answer that question first, then encourage your customer to look around on your product/service pages. 

Try this as an exercise… “(your target customers) choose to work with us because we help them to (insert your customer’s aims) by (insert your business offering). Then re-write this to ‘sell’ to your target audience. What are your USPs? Why should people want to use you as their provider? Answer these questions as succinctly as possible in your text.

Imagery is important

Photographs and videos on your homepage are a great way of engaging people immediately. Professionally shot imagery will draw the eye, establish credibility straight away, and allow you to show off what you do!

Images that contain people and faces are easy to relate to, and can be used to demonstrate the impacts of your product or service. People buy from people, so you want to have images or videos of people just like your target audience, ideally enjoying your product/service to act as a testimonial.

Photos and videos also invoke emotion, so target these specifically to your audience – make your images happy, positive and interesting and that’s how your users will feel!

Ensure it works across all devices

It’s important that the design across all of the website is ‘device responsive’ – i.e. you can use it on mobile phones, tablets, laptops and desktops. In 2019, 48% of all website traffic was from a mobile phone so you’ll want to make sure that the functionality of the website, including the navigation, is as similar as possible across each device to make it easy, and therefore attractive, to use.

Keep navigation simple

You want to make it easy for your users to find out about you. Your homepage is a device to engage people, and move them to your product or service pages. It’s therefore important to have clear signposts on your homepage to direct your users – a simple (device responsive) menu, with recognisable terms (Home, About Us, Contact Us, Products/Services) will show users what they expect to see, and encourage them to look around.

Use it as a showcase

Your homepage is your shop window – so use it as a showcase! Depending upon the purpose of your website, you’ll have different things you’ll want to convey – it may be you have your latest news at the bottom of your homepage, or some of your latest offers/seasonal offers on a slider to draw your customers in. Whatever is important to your audience is what you want to demonstrate!

If you have a physical shop, restaurant or show room you want people to visit, ensure your address and contact details are highly visible. You may have active social media pages you want to promote and make it easy to access. You can put all of these in the footer to ensure they’re displayed across all pages.

In short, each aspect of the design, content and user experience for your homepage needs to be planned out in detail. The overall impact needs to be measured, and changed when necessary, to ensure your homepage works.

If you need more impact from your website, we've made it really easy for you to contact us. We’d be delighted to talk you through how our approach can be tailored to deliver your business needs.

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About The Author

As Big Red’s Sales Manager, my role is to ensure our clients see demonstrable results from their website and digital marketing strategies. I work closely with our clients to help establish specific targets for their online activity and translate this into sales/conversions.

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