You have a kick a** website. Your home page is full of bells and whistles. You’ve launched your business. Now you wait for clients to roll in.
And you wait…
And wait some more…
It might be that your home page is not optimized for attracting or keeping clients.
But it looks great, you think. While you may think it looks amazing, that doesn’t mean it does to search engines.
Identify the goal of your home page
Think about your goals. Home pages should be short. They should also be straight to the point. They are meant to funnel visitors further into your website. Here are some of the most common home page goals.
- Guide visitors to find answers to common questions
- Help existing customers find helpful resources
- Send customers to the next phase of a sales funnel where they can learn more about products or services you re selling
- Capture leads
- Establish expertise and credibility
Common home page mistakes and how to fix them
Your home page needs to let visitors know right away that they came to the right place. They are searching for something. In short, you need to let them know that you have the solution they need. Then guide them towards finding it with your home page.
If you are not a web expert, you may not have a lot of knowledge of how search engines work. Your home page, as well as each page on your site needs to be optimized to be found by search engines. This includes utilizing keywords and internal and external linking structures.
In addition to optimizing for search engines, your home page needs to be user friendly. In fact, most people won’t read all the way through. Keep your most important information and links above the fold. This is the part of the page that is seen first, without scrolling.
Suck them in with a powerful headline (not Hi, my name is…)
You’ve probably seen websites that start with a typical hello or welcome. If this is you, don’t feel bad. Many people start this way. However, while you want to set a friendly tone, you don’t want it to be so casual that it seems unprofessional.
Visitors need to know right away that this is a credible business. Further, they want to feel assured that you will meet deadlines, not sit around chatting over coffee all day.
Your headline should highlight what benefit they will get from visiting your site. What are you offering them? How can spending their valuable time here improve their life or accomplish their goals?
According to Blue Corona, 46% of visitors report lack of a clear message as the reason they leave a site. In addition, 37% of users say they leave a website due to poor navigation.
Make sure your message clearly states what your business does. Further, lead them to the next step.
Lure them further in with a killer tight body (text, not flesh!)
Subsequently, the body of your home page should be focused on whatever goals you’ve identified. Text should be brief. Sum up how you can help your visitors. Include why they should choose you instead of someone else.
Similarly, it should clearly lead your visitors where to go next. What do you want them to do? For example, if you want visitors to buy something, you need to lead them to a link for a sales page or a page with product descriptions. If you are trying to build credibility you may want to lead visitors to a link to sign up for a free class or a downloadable document.
Provide proof that you know what you are talking about
Moreover, there are millions of websites competing for the same business. Why should they stick with yours? Your home page should provide proof. Do not confuse this with a rambling About Me where someone lists all of their good points. Would you want to date someone that spends the whole date bragging about themselves? Of course not.
On the other hand, you might be more inclined to agree to a second date if someone you know gave a good recommendation, or you saw an article raving about their charity work. You can do the same on your home page. For example, any awards you have received, achievements you have earned, or professional associations you belong to can be showcased here.
Your home page is also a good place for a few testimonials. Not too many, just one or two. Include the person’s name and a photo if they say it’s ok. Unlike the example I made up below, laws dictate that actual testimonials need to be true. You will need to contact real customers for quotes.
I always broke the cork when trying to open a bottle of wine. It was so frustrating. Until I used the GoPro new electric wine bottle opener. Now my friends are amazed how quickly I open the bottles.John Doe
CTA or Call to Action
Most importantly, think about what you want a visitor to do on your home page. If you want them to read your blog, include a CTA button that takes them to your blog posts. If you want them to sign up for your newsletter, direct them to the sign up form.
Remember, your homepage should direct visitors to parts of your website where they will find the solution to their problem. Without this they will most likely leave.
70% of small businesses neglect to place a CTA on their home page, according to a report by Online Marketing Coach.
More tips for optimizing your home page
Many businesses don’t make use of the best resources – their competitors. Check out the websites of the top pages in Google for your field. What do their home pages include? What makes them stand out? Can you identify their goals? What tone do they use?
Think about who your ideal visitors are. Write to them as if you were in the room with you. What problem do they need to solve? What is the main action you want them to take when visiting your site?
Don’t forget the footer! This is especially important if you are a local business. You need to include your location in the footer as well as the body or subheading so you will crawled when people do a local search.
If you are not a local business you still need to include several ways perspective clients can contact you. Provide an email address, phone number, and a contact form.
Of course, these are just some suggestions to create fabulous home pages. However, if you don’t have time to implement them yourself, feel free to contact me for a free consultation.
Donna Emperador created Innovative Copywriting to help others build their businesses using creative content. She is enthusiastic about the written word and owns a travel blog at exploretheroadwithdonnamarie.com and the wine blog wackywinegirl.com.