6 features of successful homepages
The homepage of your website is a big part of the first impression your business gives to your clients or potential customers. Optimizing your landing page can increase conversions exponentially and help you better focus on your target audience.
Here are 6 features we consider the most important to make your homepage more effective.
1. Simple design and clear message
Pay attention to yourself when you first look at a page. Most of the time, we’re just scanning through a page. No one is looking through a page and hanging on every word, focusing on every detail. Putting 5000 products together or your 3000 word company history on the homepage just looks bad and isn’t do anyone any favors.
This is a case where less is more. Don’t overwhelm your website visitors; always avoid putting too many images, banners, buttons or text on your landing page. Keep your homepage free of too much information.
Instead focus on telling your audience what service you can provide, what you’re selling to them, or the end benefit to your customers. Make it as easy as possible for them to understand why you’re there and how you can help. This isn’t a place for ego, it’s a place for providing perceived benefit and increasing conversion.
2. Call to Action (CTA)
You should have at least one CTA (but not too many) on your landing page to turn your leads into customers. It should be the most eye-catching spot on the web page, you can emphasize it with the accent color of your website, or a contrasting color, with some white space.
Try to keep the wording simple and action-oriented, but not too long (certainly less than 5 words), for example: “Shop Now”, or “Start Today”. You can also try something with the word “Free,” such as “Free Trial” or “Free Download”, because who doesn’t like free things?
Keep it in mind that putting CTAs everywhere will end up just being very distracting to users and counter-intuitively may actually lower your website sales. Try to guide your visitors where you want them to go by placing CTA buttons wisely.
Finally, don’t take this guidelines as gospel. You should always split test to find out what wording, button color, or position works the best to increase your leads and conversion.
3. Easy-to-use navigation
If users can’t find the information they want (or even your navigation), they will leave your website. Always make sure users can find what they are looking for – that’s the whole point of your navigation.
If your website is targeting an older audience, your might want to avoid using a fancy hamburger menu icon. We often overlook things that come naturally to us, but different age groups may get confused by trendy new features. When testing with various focus groups, this is something we’re always surprised by because of how natural it seems to a different audience. Sometimes the tried and tested methods are there for a reason.
Do not forget to check your navigation button on mobile devices. Nowadays, more people browse websites using their phone than using desktops. Read this article if you are still unsure what a responsive website is or why you should be using it. Make sure nothing is blocking your navigation menu button and it’s working fine on any mobile device.
4. Page loading speed
Your website visitors are likely not very patient, despite what you might think. When your monstrous page is being loaded without your cache and a poor connection, that 2 second load time you see may turn into 20 seconds.
Have you heard of the “4 second rule?” A study found that at 5 seconds, half of the visitors left the website. If you think your website could use a speed boost, you can also read more about how to improve your website speed.
A slow loading landing page is no doubt making you lose business. Optimizing your website loading speed is definitely one of the easiest and most immediate ways you can improve online sales.
5. Landing page SEO
No matter how great your website is, it’s meaningless if no one can find it. Getting your landing page found is essential.
Use keywords in the page title, page description and on the page. It helps your customers or potential clients find your website easier via search engine. Find out the buyer intend keywords of your industry, and try to add them on the page. Search volume is also an important metric when determining keywords.
There are lots of online SEO checker, Screaming Frog SEO Spider is one of my favorite. After installing it locally on your computer, you can scan your whole website locally and see where you can improve SEO for your website. Crawling a site with less than 500 URLs is 100% free!
Social media also has an influence over SEO. While it may not be the driving factor and we don’t know how much credibility Google provides from social media links, it can’t hurt. Adding social media links on your homepage not only provides an easy way for customers to interact with you, but also increases trust.
6. High Resolution Images
A picture is worth a thousand words. Images are always a good way to catch people’s eye. A good image that brings what you are advertising to life is an absolute must on any homepage. Always use high quality photos. If your customer uses a retina display device, a low resolution image will make your website look miserable and very unprofessional.
We prefer to use real photos, but if that’s not an option for you there are lots of free stock images websites, such as Unsplash, Pixabay, picjumbo, StockSnap, and so on. If you can’t find what you want, there are always paid stock photos websites too. Generally paid photo sites give you more selection, larger size and better quality. Also there are more professional and business-oriented images for sale, which can save you time and a headache from sifting through all the free images.
Rethink your homepage!
These tips seem very basic and easy to do, but you’d be surprised how many websites make these mistakes. Sometimes, even a little tweak on the landing page can double your leads. Try out these tips and leave your comment below to let us know what works for you!