Subscribe to Articles
Sign up to receive articles and get our free Easy Website Check-up ebook.
The secret to an effective home page
A real friend will tell you if you’re having a bad hair day, if your fly is unzipped, or if your website’s home page is ugly. The fact is, your website’s home page is one of the most important parts of your website. It’s like the front entrance to your house. If it’s too cluttered or looks ugly, people will be much less likely to want to visit you inside. But how can you improve yours? I’m going to tell you a simple secret that can lead to an extremely effective home page.
First, what are we talking about when we say “home page?” The home page can also be known as the welcome page, front page or even index page. Simply put, it’s the first page of your site people go to if they type in your website’s address.
You may be wondering if people even see your home page anymore. Thanks to search engines, people can come into your website on any page. But others still see use your home page as the entry point. If they receive your business card, click on a link in your email signature or read an article about you, the home page on your website is the first thing they see.
So are you ready for the secret? Here it is:
Less is More.
That’s it! It’s simple, but can be hard to stick to. Your website may have several different goals. But since Less is More, your home page itself should focus on just two:
1. Let the visitor know who you are and what you do.
2. Entice them to explore the website further.
In her book Content Strategy for the Web, Kristina Halvorson talks about Allstate’s website. She writes that the home page is “pretty overwhelming,” and she goes on to say, “It’s harder for a customer to make a decision.”
Allstate didn’t realize Less is More.
So how can you make avoid making the same mistake? How can you change your home page so it’s more effective? Fortunately, it’s generally just a two-step process.
1. Remove the clutter.
Take everything off your home page that doesn’t absolutely need to be there. You should have brand identity (your logo or company name), navigation to other pages on your site, a call to action, some text, and contact information.
Although putting lots of calls to action can be tempting, don’t. The more you have, the less effective they are. As a rule of thumb, I recommend a two or less.
2. Rewrite the content.
Throw out what you have, or at least pare it down. You should have a couple short paragraphs (100 words or so) that describes your organization and what you do, then a bulleted list of services or products.
Remembering that Less is More will make your home page much more effective.
June 2nd, 2011
Tim Priebe is a public speaker, the author of the book Webifiable and the upcoming book Blogify Your Business and the owner of T&S Web Design. You can reach him on Twitter and Facebook with the username timjpriebe.