This Step by Step Homepage Guide will teach you how to create an effective homepage that will help your website visitors find what they are looking for quickly and easily. People are coming to your website to find an answer to their questions or to solve a problem. Your homepage needs to appeal and target the different people that will be coming to your website to “visit” your business. You should design your homepage to be easy to navigate, clear and action-oriented. Your goal will be to set up a homepage that guides people through your content and products.
- Define the Goals – This is the most critical step to the process. You have to identify goals that you want your homepage to archive for your site and business. The two broadest goals would be to explain what the website is about and where someone should go next. Other goals could be to display what’s new or take some sort of specific action.
- Content – Write down your business’ value proposition. Your business’ most relevant and descriptive long-tail keyword will be in your company’s value proposition. You should optimize and write your homepage content around that keyword. You should write the content of your homepage around your value proposition. You need to have some text on your homepage, but you shouldn’t have too much. A good way to do this is to use headlines, links and bullet points. Make sure this is a good amount of whitespace surrounding the text and that text is consistent with the design of your other website pages. Use columns to display the content on your homepage. The content on your homepage should include many links that send people to specific website pages, so you can educate and provide them with content that is relevant to their needs.
- Optimize – Your homepage needs to be optimized around one long-tail keyword phrase. Like we mentioned earlier, take the long-tail keyword in your value proposition and use that as the primary keyword in your page title, meta description, headlines, content, images and links. Don’t try to optimize the homepage for more than one keyword. If you have space in the page title, you can add your business name. e.g. Internet Marketing and Web Design firm in Nigeria | blueGEEK
- Header – The header is one of the first things someone will see on your homepage. You need to include several pieces of information in the header, such as your logo, phone number, and courtesy links. Other things you can add to your header, or experiment with, are a call to action, your business email, certifications, or accreditations that build credibility. You can also include a login link if appropriate. You should keep your header consistent across all your website pages.
- Menu – The menu of your homepage should be large enough to see clearly, be easy to read, and should look the same across your entire website. Your menu is there to organize all of your content and products and it should help people find what they’re looking for if a call to action doesn’t resonate with them. Make sure you use descriptive, yet short, menu headings. Don’t have more than eight menu headings or it will be overwhelming and not clear where someone should go to find something.
- Calls to Action – You have less than five seconds to grab the attention of people visiting your homepage. Calls to action are the most critical thing to have on your homepage. You need to have several calls to action that are relevant to the different audiences visiting your homepage. Not all the calls to action need to go to landing pages. If they don’t go to a landing page, the page you’re sending visitors to needs to have additional calls to action. You should have three or four very clear calls to action that will appeal to the majority of your website visitors.
- Social Media – Social media is a major player now and you need to prominently display your relevant social media icons. You should have your social icons in the top right of your header. You should also experiment with placing social sharing icons on your homepage. Create a call to action to follow your company on Twitter or LinkedIn if that’s one of the goals of your homepage. Don’t do it just because it’s the easy way out.
- Footer – Not many people that come to your homepage will see your footer. The hope is that the visitors took some action before the scroll down to see your footer. Still, you need to have one and it should include your legal company name, copyright year, address, email and phone number.
- Test – Ask employees at your company to look at your homepage for five seconds. Then ask them to tell you what they remember about the homepage. You want to see how much people remember so you can adjust how much content or how many calls to action need to be on your homepage. You can do this same test with leads and customers, and ask them if they feel like they found what they were looking for. You should test call to action placement, type and anything that relates to your homepage page goals.
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