Your website is one of the most important marketing tools you have for your business, and of all the pages on your website, the homepage is the most important. No matter how people land on your website, odds are that they’ll end up clicking on the homepage, so making a good impression matters. You don’t need a lot of money for a well-designed professional website, but you do need these basic elements.
1. Solid Branding
Branding is a visual way to communicate who you are and what your business is all about. Even something as simple as the colors or fonts you choose for your website can send a message about whether you’re a traditionalist or an out-of-the-box thinker. Small businesses and solo entrepreneurs often make the mistake of choosing design elements they like or feel drawn to, rather than choosing colors, fonts, and graphics that communicate the message they want to send potential customers or clients.
Another key aspect of your branding is your logo. This, too, should be chosen with careful deliberation and should have meaning beyond, “this looks nice.” If you have the budget for a professional designer, a logo and related branding is a worthwhile investment for any small business. A good logo communicates that you run a professional business, while a sloppy DIY effort or inconsistent branding has a haphazard look that doesn’t reflect positively on your company.
2. Thoughtful Headline and Introduction
This small amount of text does a lot of work when it comes to selling your business. The headline and introduction both go above-the-fold on your homepage, if possible. (If your layout doesn’t allow for this, the headline should be above-the-fold.) The headline can be a few words or a short sentence, while the introduction is one to three brief sentences that expand upon the headline.
When crafting your headline, think about what sets your business apart from your competition or what problem you solve for your customers; it’s even better if you can work some keywords in there. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- A New Way to [What Your Business Does]
- [Location Name]’s Premier [Your Business Niche]
- [What Your Business Does], Reinvented
- Your Neighborhood [Your Business Niche]
The introduction should be short and sweet—you’ll share more information about your services elsewhere on your homepage. If you’ve won any awards or have any other bragging rights, the introduction is a great place for that; otherwise, take the main idea of your headline and explain it further. Consider this the perfect place to share your unique value proposition.
3. An Eye-Catching Image
Choose an image for your homepage that is eye-catching without being distracting. It should flow nicely with your overall design, fitting with your color scheme, font choices, and logo. If your WordPress theme superimposes the headline over the main image on the homepage, you’ll need to ensure that both the image and the text can be understood.
If you can afford professional photos, this is ideal; otherwise, there are many stock photo websites where you can find low-cost images to use in your homepage design, or you can choose a photo from a free stock photo website like Unsplash. Whatever you do, don’t grab an image from Google—just because it’s on the Internet doesn’t mean it’s not protected by copyright laws!
4. Service or Product Overview
Below the hero image, most website themes will have space to name and describe a few of your most popular services. Often, this section of the homepage will be divided into three columns, so you’ll be able to list either your three top services, or services in multiples of three. Include the service name, a sentence or two about the service, and a link for more information that directs to a service page (if you have one).
Some homepages may have room for images representing each service, too. Simple graphics work well here; if you’re using photos, make sure they have a uniform appearance for a professional look. If you’re highlighting three services and you use a black and white photo for one, an illustration for the second, and a color photo for the third, it will look sloppy and thrown together.
5. Social Proof
Social proof shows people that your services or products are used and well-loved. Don’t overdo it here, though—although it depends on your website layout, usually one to three testimonials is a good number, as people are less likely to spend time reading more than that. Set up a testimonial page on your website and direct visitors there for more.
You may also choose to use a video testimonial here, or perhaps list awards or relevant statistics like the number of users/customers/sales.
6. Navigation and Footer
The top of your homepage should feature clear, easy-to-use navigation, while the bottom of the page should have a footer with your contact information, social media links, customer service information, etc. The links you include in each of these sections will depend on the type of business you run and the amount of content you have on your website, but it should be possible to click through to any important page on your website from the homepage.
It’s also important to make sure your navigation is usable. Test your menus in every possible browser, on computers, tablets, and smartphones. Make sure sub-menus don’t vanish when you’re trying to click on them and watch out for other glitches and bugs.
7. A Call to Action
You should have at least one call to action on your homepage, or if you have room, more than one. These don’t have to be complicated, and they could be formatted as text or buttons. Some examples are “Sign Up Now,” “Visit Us Today,” “Get Your Free Trial,” “Make an Appointment,” and “Create an Account.” A call to action tells potential clients or customers what their next step should be.
Need Help with Website Design?
At Main Street ROI, we offer WordPress website services including website redesigns, migration to WordPress and new website design and development.