Your website is the face of your business – let that sink in. In lieu of a customer picking up a phone or visiting your physical location, your website and especially your homepage have to carry a lot of weight in engaging your customers.
To take that further, when a potential customer comes to your website for the first time, your homepage is also your salesperson. During that first interaction with your website, a user has to determine whether they can find what they are looking for in the shape of products or services, build a level of trust, and decide if they want to make a purchase, fill a form, or somehow connect with your business.
It’s a lot to ask of a website and all too often we see homepages that aren’t well thought through and don’t do their job in customer engagement.
In this article, we’ll outline a number of ways to build an engaging homepage so you can start to convert more site visitors into paying customers.
Here are 7 tips for building an engaging homepage on your website.
1. Have an attractive design that reflects your business
Your homepage is literally the online face of your business, and as such, it needs to represent you in a manner that is consistent with your brand. Does your website design and especially your homepage reflect the nature of your business? Is your design in line with what a customer would expect from someone in your industry? A pet shop and a lawyer might have overlap in their customers, but their websites need to be designed for the services they offer.
Colours, fonts, images, and they overall layout matter. Ensure that these fit the look and feel that your business is trying to achieve.
Exercise – visit the homepage of your website and pretend you are a new visitor to your site that doesn’t know anything about your business. What does your design say to you? Is it fun? Serious? Professional?
Most importantly, do you feel that the design of your homepage appropriately reflects your business brand, who you are, and what a customer would expect to see when visiting your website?
2. Be direct and clear in your messaging
There is a time and place for the use of humour, subtlety, and nuance in marketing – the homepage of your website is rarely the right time for this. When it comes to our websites, we have a very short window of time in which to engage our visitors. If the purpose of our business isn’t immediately clear, there is a high chance that visitors will leave within seconds, potentially never to return.
Exercise – looking at your homepage, is it immediately clear what your business does? Can you quickly tell which products or services your business offers?
3. Build clear paths for engagement
Assuming that your homepage passes the initial test for your visitor and they plan to stay around and look further into your products and services, is there a clear next step for them to take? This usually comes in the form of your navigation at the top of your page, but could also be found on links throughout the page.
If a user is trying to learn more about your business, can they quickly find that information? If they want to read more about a service you offer, would they know where to look. Having clear paths for those engagement points is crucial in getting the right information to your customer so they can make a decision to engage further with you.
Exercise – if you were a visitor to your site, could you quickly find the information you are looking for? Are the menu items in your navigation clearly organized and named so that users can get to the page they are trying to find?
4. Have strong calls to action
A nice-looking website that reflects your brand and is easy to navigate doesn’t do much for your bottom line if customers don’t contact you or make a purchase on your website. Having a clearly stated call to action is important on your website in order to help customers take the next step in their journey.
If you sell products online is there a clear button or call to action to move them to browse your catalogue?
For service-oriented businesses, there should be a clear next step to “get a quote”, or “contact” us. If customers can’t find the appropriate next step, they may become frustrated and leave your site without contacting you.
Exercise – how do customers engage your business when on your homepage? If they want a quote, is there a clear button to move to that step? If they want to shop online, can they quickly get to your catalogue?
5. Use real imagery
This is one area where we can get lazy when we build our homepages. For Evergreen, use real examples of our work on our homepages. For other businesses it could be an image of their company vehicles or physical location. Where possible, avoid stock images unless necessary as users typically want to engage with real people/businesses versus anonymous websites.
Hiring a photographer can make a really big difference in the appearance of your website as a whole, but having real images on your homepage encourages engagement at a higher level.
Exercise – looking at your homepage, are you sharing any imagery of your business, products, people, or services? Would your users feel that they can connect with you or is your business only using stock photos.
Note – we do recognize that not all businesses are able to add real imagery, or that it is not always appropriate. This is a general best practice, but there are certainly exceptions.
6. Show social proof
It is well known that people want to do business with successful businesses. Adding social proof to your homepage allows your visitors to feel more comfortable engaging with you. Simple ways to do this are to add testimonials from current customers, show your ratings from Google My Business, or to add logos of your current customers.
Exercise – quickly check to see if there is any social proof on your homepage. If not, consider reaching out to customers for a testimonial, or linking some reviews to your homepage.
7. Put effort into your footer
The footer of your website shouldn’t be an afterthought. The footer of your site is expected to have your contact information, social media buttons, and potentially links to your blog or services. For a visitor to your homepage, it can also be the last opportunity for engagement before they leave your site.
Your footer needs to have your location and contact information and social media buttons, but what else can you put there? Our site has an option for site visitors to book a call with our team, other websites have a sign-up form for their company newsletter. Ensure that your footer has some type of actionable item or next step for your visitors.
Exercise – scroll through your homepage all the way to the footer. What does your footer currently offer? Is there a clear step for customers to engage with you? What could you add that helps build value?
Do you need help optimizing your homepage?
If you’d like to talk more about how you can optimize a customer’s journey on your website, you can book a call directly with us to discuss how we can help.