5 questions a home page should always answer
Whether or not they land directly on it in the first place, most people end up on your website’s home page because it’s the page that tells them what you do, how, when, where and for whom. It has to do an excellent job of introducing your business clearly and succinctly, showing you’re the best organisation for the job in hand, inspiring them to explore deeper into your site and driving positive action.
Because you only have a couple of seconds to grab visitors’ attention and reel them in, your home page is absolutely crucial. The longer people stay on your website, the more interested they are. And the better it is for SEO too, since Google’s search algorithm ‘notices’ the amount of time visitors stay on a page.
As a respected digital marketing agency, Oxford based but working with businesses and individuals all over the country, we know our web design and digital marketing onions. Here’s our advice about the five questions every high-performing, good looking, effective home page should answer… instantly.
Question 1 – What is the business about and what can they offer me?
A visitor’s first question is ‘what is this?’ The answer needs to be as clear as a bell, short, sweet and instantly understandable. People need to to know what your business offers and what your brand promises. And there are plenty of ways to make it clear, using powerful combinations of words and imagery.
- Make a super-short, instantly digestible statement of your proposition, not unlike a mission statement but customer focused
- Highlight the main proposition in a large font size or use a contrasting colour to make it stand out
- Support your words with suitable imagery
- Create a potent and visually powerful strapline
- Use a clean, uncluttered layout to draw the eye to the core message
Question 2 – Is the website aimed at me?
Visitors want to be able to tell, more or less instantly, whether or not the products or services you provide are suitable for them. Their question is ‘who is this website for?’, and again there are several ways to answer the question without forcing people to read acres of text.
- Segment your audience on the homepage itself using clear, attractive service or product icons for people at different stages along the sales funnel to click on
- Do the same job using a clear, simple drop-down menu
- Make sure your content is benefit-focused rather than talking about the features of your product or service
- Use inspirational headers and subheads to indicate the target audience
- Bring powerful imagery into play – done well, a picture speaks a thousand words
Question 3 – How does the product or service work?
Now your visitor knows what you do and understands the stuff you offer is suitable form them. Now they want to know about the way things work. This takes careful thought since it’s no good cramming your home page with the fine detail, best covered deeper in the site on a dedicated ‘how it works’ page.
- Use concise bullets to précis the key facts
- Use a small number of short Q&As
- Write a short but elegant sentence that covers the most important facts – the primary content – linked to your ‘how it works’ page – your secondary content
Question 4 – Can I trust these people?
Visitors enjoy seeing proof that other people rate a service or product highly. The trust they feel helps people come to a buying decision. How can your home page reassure visitors that you’re legitimate, trustworthy, transparent, honest, efficient and always do a jolly good job?
- Include a few short, complimentary customer quotes
- Display one to three short but sweet testimonials on the page, ideally with pictures of the people who have given the feedback
- Include photos of happy customers to reassure people
- Provide free information, for example a free report or ‘how to’ guide via a link on the home page
Question 5 – What do I do next?
Every good web page deserves a call to action, and your home page is no exception. You need to tell or show visitors what to do next, clearly and briefly.
- Get them to request a quote, via a button that clicks through to a short form
- Offer more information via a link to your contact page or your telephone number / email address
- Create some kind of ‘buy now’ message, represented graphically for clarity and simplicity
- Provide 3 simple steps to follow
Do all this and your home page will tick all the digital marketing boxes, giving people the exact information they need to make a decision of some sort: explore deeper into the site, ask questions, provide information, make a buying decision etc.
As a trusted, expert web design agency in Oxford, we make every page count
You get all this and more thanks to our expertise. You don’t need to ask. We do it automatically. A branding agency in Oxford with significant experience, a happy web design and development customer base and plenty of digital marketing nous, we make home pages work hard for their living. Walk this way and get it right first time.