bad homepage

Do I Have A Bad Homepage?

The last thing on your mind when running a business is probably, “do I have a bad homepage?” Yet, not having a strong face for your website can greatly hurt your business.

Take five seconds to look at the homepage of a website that you’ve never been to before – a restaurant, clothing boutique – then close it. By the information you saw, do you know what the company’s purpose is? Do you feel like you really got a good sense of who they are and what they can do for you?

Chances are, you remember the company’s name and what they do. Maybe they caught your attention with a funny photo or a quote, so you now have an understanding of their culture. But what else? Do you know where they’re located? Do you know why their services are right for you, or what their services really are at all?

Having a bad homepage can really hurt your business. It should act as your storefront window. It might be the first interaction a customer has with your company. How many times have you passed a store you never heard of, loved something in the window and just had to go in and explore? It’s the same thing.

With that in mind, what is your homepage saying? Below, we’ve rounded up our top 7 homepage guidelines to help make your company’s website a success.

Clean and simple headline.

You want your visitors to have a clear understanding of the services you offer.

bad homepage

Inviting, non-car-salesman-y sub-headline.

Think of your homepage’s sub-headline as an opportunity to tell someone why they need you, not just a chance to force your product at them. Saying “We pour our hearts into making the best pastries in the city” sounds a lot more intriguing than “Pastries and more.”

Include photography of your products/services.

If you say you make the best pastries in the city, show your customers! Intrigue them with mouth-watering photos of your product and even your business itself. When you’re trying to decide on a restaurant for a special occasion, or a new dentist’s office to go to, seeing a welcoming photo of a clean office or smiling guests dining can make the difference between whether or not a customer chooses to spend their time (and money!) with you.

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According to Online Marketing Coach, 70% (of 200 small business websites evaluated) did not display clear calls-to-action for anything on their home page. This is a huge missed opportunity to create a lasting customer.  Including calls-to-action for specials, e-mail newsletters, how-to guides, demos, and interactive tools not only gives your customer a free takeaway, but can also allow you to collect their contact info for future offers.

Easy-to-use navigation.

Simplify, simplify, simplify! Your navigation shouldn’t cause a headache. Make sure your customer has clear access to information about your company such as an about page, purchasing options, contact info, etc. If a customer can’t find the information they’re looking for, either because it’s not clearly listed or because they had to search for it under a navigation filled with hundreds of options, they will find it from someone else.

Proof of Customers.

It sounds silly. Of course you have customers. If you didn’t, you probably wouldn’t need a website. However, showing proof, weather it’s by putting testimonials on your page, a live Twitter feed, or even showing awards your company has won, allows you to build trust with a customer.

website hompage hurting business

Social Media.

If you don’t have links to your social media pages on your homepage, then I strongly advise you to do it now (I mean, after you’re done reading this blog and “liking” us on social too of course). How else are your customers going to be able to leave reviews telling you how awesome your company is?

Bottom line: It’s easy to let your homepage slip. There is so much to do when running a business that unfortunately, your website probably isn’t your first priority. However, by making it a priority, and trying to follow these simple guidelines, you should be on your way to building a stronger customer base in no time.

Thank you for the reading the first edition of our new weekly design blog! Check back next Thursday for Why You Need To Know User Experience Design.

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Posted by Ariel Valley

Web designer, writer, social media lover and inbound marketer at Catch22 Marketing. Also known as a professional coffee taster, shoe enthusiast and film buff. Connect with me on LinkedIn or follow me on Twitter @ariel_valley.

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