Your website’s homepage, also known as the index, front or welcome page is your website’s sales page. You have seven seconds to grab someone’s attention and entice them to read more or take action. Sadly, most people don’t realize the importance of their website’s homepage and forget to include key elements.
1. Features and Benefits
Don’t tell your visitors how great your business is, how you use the latest equipment, greatest techniques and offer the best service. No one will believe you. Make your homepage about what your products/services will do for your customers and how they will benefit. Instead of using the words “we,” use the words “you.” Write your copy as if you were talking to your customer over a cup of coffee.
You only have a few seconds to get your visitor’s attention, so make sure you include great headlines that will make them want to read more.
3. Avoid Auto Play Music
Under no circumstances should you have music that starts playing as soon as your website loads. Imagine if your potential customer is looking at your website during work hours and suddenly the music starts blaring. They will quickly shut your website down and never come back.
Keep animations to a minimum. No one is going to wait around until your animation loads and they are certainly not going to sit there and watch it for more than a few seconds.
Ensure you include keywords (words people use to search for your products / services) throughout the copy of the website as well as in the headings, title of your page, in the meta tags — description and keywords.
6. Call to Action
Tell people exactly what you want them to do when they arrive at your website. Do you want them to contact you, download a report or subscribe to your newsletter? Show them where and how.
7. Don’t Try to Sell
Ninety-eight percent of people won’t buy from you the first time they arrive at your website, so rather than trying to sell them anything, provide them with useful information, capture their details and then stay in touch.
8. Search-Engine Friendly
Remember your homepage needs to be not only visitor friendly, but also search-engine friendly and that means including content that is relevant to your website. Search engines can’t index flash animations, so don’t create an all flash website and make sure you have some text on all your pages. Also ensure all graphics have alt tags with the appropriate keywords.
9. Easy Navigation
Make sure your visitors can easily navigate to other parts of your website by including a simple navigation system — either at the top or left-hand side. The navigation bar needs to be on all pages. Remember, not everyone will arrive at your website via your homepage.
Your website needs to prove to your visitors that you are trustworthy and reliable. This is best done by including testimonials, before and after shots, awards you have won and media articles that have been published about your business.
Although all these don’t need to be included on the homepage, it is a good idea to have a prominent link that takes visitors to pages where these appear.
When people arrive at your homepage, you only have a few seconds to get their attention and show them what your website is all about. Include all these key elements on your page to ensure your visitors stay for long enough to find out what you do and eventually convert into paying customers.
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