By now you’ve undoubtedly read the standard homepage design advice; keep your most important elements above the fold, run video, use bold original photography and post a compelling call to action. And indeed, all of these are key to the impression visitors get when they arrive at your carefully curated location on the World Wide Web. However, there are some other key elements of an engaging home page of which you need to be aware as well.
1. Your Value Proposition
What sets your site apart from all of the others out there offering similar goods and services? First-time visitors are usually asking; “What’s on this site for me?” Consider the car review site Automobiles Illustrated. Its value proposition is stated in the header of the home page and on each page of the site. “Helping new car buyers make well-informed decisions every day.” What does your site do? Who does it do it for? How does it do it differently?
2. Intuitive Navigation
Everything anyone needs to know to find whatever they’re looking for on your site should be apparent at a glance. Links to your pages responsible for garnering the most traffic should be readily evident on your homepage. Your biggest sellers should be featured on the homepage as well. Making users dig through your site to find them like they’re shopping at Ikea is a recipe for turning your best sellers into your worst sellers.
3. Positive Branding
Ideally, visitors to your site should know it’s yours the moment they arrive. If you carry the type style, attitude and color scheme of your site throughout all of your marketing materials, email, and social media engagements you’ll build brand awareness. Your logo should also be affixed prominently in the top left corner of your homepage and on every piece of communication you issue. If you don’t have one, you can create a logo free with any number of logo generators.
4. Contact Information
If you want to come across as trustworthy, don’t hide behind a difficult to find an email address. Run a link to your contact information right on the homepage—as well as in the footer of each page of the site. Provide a mailing address, an email address and a telephone number to demonstrate your operation are above board and you’re willing to converse with customers. If you can only afford to staff phones during certain hours of the day, say so and offer voicemail. Just make sure you return calls in a timely fashion.
5. Trust Badges/Awards/Certifications/Professional Associations
If you’ve ever won an award for any aspect of your business operations, tout it loudly and proudly on your homepage. This tells people others think you’re cool, so they should be OK giving you a shot too. Trust badges telegraph the fact you’ve taken steps to ensure transactions and personally identifiable information are as safe as possible from interlopers. All of these cues tell shoppers you’re someone they can trust to do right by them.
6. Customer Testimonials
Word of mouth is the best form of advertising on planet Earth. Research has shown some 79 percent of online consumers have faith in online reviews. If you’re good at what you do and shamelessly solicit comments, you likely have a virtual sheaf of kudos from customers you’ve satisfied over the years. Run some of the most glowing ones on your homepage so people can see what others think of the way you do business.
When you incorporate these key elements of an engaging homepage you’ll see your bounce rate drop significantly. Your site will be stickier, and your conversion rate will experience a healthy bump as well.