16 Elements any Home Page Must Have
You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression in most areas of our lives. Don’t we know that? Same goes for websites! Website is your first and in most cases the only digital impression on a visitor. If you really want that visitor to stay, then please understand that you need a “dress to Impress” your visitor in a very short and quick 30 seconds. No second chance ever! They either like you, or they go to your competition! It’s as simple, as that! Do you feel the pain of losing your traffic, your visitors? ! So here what you need to have for that “Dress-to-Impress” action!
1 - Headline or Site Title placed in the Header
Homepage has about 3 seconds to show visitors what this particular site is offering
Picture with the title may be pleasing for the eyes, but Google knows that this site has no title at all. Google can read and can not see what’s displayed on pictures. Site title has to be short and clean - no fluff
2 - Subheadline is usually direct and concise, and it contains specific “power words” without a need of extended verbiage. They are extremely useful for SEO (Search Engine Optimization), and commonly should be placed in the header section, and it is telling what exactly you offer or do. Brief and precise statement. Subheadline should give more detailed idea to what this website, or specific section is about. It gives readers a chance to determine, find and focus on what’s important to them, what’s relevant or not to their search criteria. It is powerful because most users are scanning snippets on Google in order to decide to click or not to click on the web link in question. When headline and subheadings are not properly organized users naturally most likely are getting lost or not interested and will go to a next, more interesting snippet in the Google search results window. Keep in mind, that Google pulls automatically headline and subheading from any website and creates a snippet. That means - headline and subheadings are indeed very important.
3 - Social media bar is commonly placed in the header and contains links to various social media platforms, and is third important element of any proper header. That is your social proof, in most cases confirming that you are a real person. Plus, Google likes all sorts of links going in and out of a website. If there is a lot of content on entire site then maybe search box will be a good and valuable option for your customers to find exactly what they are looking for. Search Box is a field where user can type in a question, or a keyword to find specific topic within perimeters of a website. It is practically the same as any user would type any searchable question in a Google search field
4 - “Hero Image” Most people are very visual and they will emphasize with your your ideas and your site better if they see good supporting image. On top of that - nowadays websites are pretty much designed based on color theory, infographics, some special effects. Like parallax and so on. Clean and precise main or “her” image should convey your vision or idea for visitors. If you are in a business of selling cars than you don’t want to display some random ice cream cone, nut if you will have a hot female model in some trendy outfit to hold ice cream bucket while she is sitting in that fancy car, than image of an ice cream right on the point - to accentuate the lifestyle and entice a vision of your potential buyer to visualize themselves in the same picture, outfit and ice cream behind that very same car.! Sold! It’s all about marketing! P.S. - Make sure your Hero Image is not taking up entire space unless it is lowered in the opacity and being used as a part of background. Another challenge in a case like that - to make sure that site colors are matching and reflect your Business brand image. Colors correct combinations can be built based on Colors Wheel [ Check out how it looks like here (Let me worry about it)
Google ranks sites better with Hero image, because it draws attention of users and sort of stands out from the background, like a focal point.
5 - Benefits - short, precise narration indicating exactly why this website and your services are the best choice of your visitors. If you network with other business professionals than you are familiar and most likely have mastered your 30 seconds “elevator speech” So benefits are your website “elevator speech” You have about same 3- seconds to use text and mostly visual means to convince your visitors to stay and believe that you are their “motherboard”
The idea is that your landing portion of homepage needs to contain enough materials for users to be compelled to go on further and click on other links or pages. Main Call-to-Action also supposed to be on that part of a homepage
You need to think what to add there for customers not to resist an urge to click on next page or link
6 - Features should again restate what is the main products or services this website is offering. This section is important, should be clean, precise and not cluttered.
7 - Content and Offers Section is designed to make sure your visitor understands all it is to know about your business or offers. That is a good place for Primary or Secondary Call-To-Actions, additional Pop-ups with suggestions to sign up for whatever you have to offer, or for a newsletter. Your main purpose here - to collect their emails in order to grow your list.
Depending on the purpose and type of the site it is believed that optimal length of a homepage content should be around 1500 words. (Again - Google likes it that way)
If No content displayed, that may become a major negative point for Google ranking
8 - Primary Calls-To-Action are designed to convey main goal of any website - to make visitors “dig” deeper, thus - stay longer and move further to sales funnel, or you sales offer page, if there is no sales funnel yet. You would be surprised but Google has a way to calculate the average time users spent on your site in general and on which page specifically. If Google knows that, then so should you, right? You’ve got to sign up for Google Analytics, which has free options there.
9 - Secondary Calls-To-Actions should offer additional “hooks” or opportunities for users who are not interested in your Primary Offer.
10 - Navigation tabs should be easy, short and clean. You have an option to group similar tasks or ideas under main tab and create drop down submenu. Contemporary web designers will offer you a light boxes with additional spotlight or links to your important ideas or offers to make sure that your visitor won’t get lost on your websites and will ”safely” land on your main offer page.
11 - Resources, like Facts, Freebies, Links to webinars, Podcasts, or important archive Blog articles and so on.
Most visitors won’t be ready to buy your offer on the spot. Make sure that Resource section leads them to another page with additional information to strengthen their desire to get what you are offering. We are talking here about FAQs page, better yet - webinar or podcast and free download of any sort, where your visitor will be overwhelmed and “crushed” with overwhelming benefits being offered. That also help to establish your own credibility in the industry
12 - Raves and Reviews
Are also your social proof, your main snippet, leading to a page where those testimonials are displayed. Better yet, if there will be a video testimonial, where people can hear a live person saying why you are so great.
Special invisible anchors should be able to bring your visitors down closer to a Footer area, where there will be displayed at least one snippet with reviews or raves and the link to the rest of content. Remember, you plan lots of action to keep your users to stay and keep on clicking different links and pages. Google crawlers will calculate average length of users on your site, what they do, which links they click and which pages they visit more often than others. Why do you need all that? To know how to improve their user experience on your site, what tweak, add or remove to make your offering more attractive, and show them not just why they have to buy but rather make them feel the pain of NOT having what you offer.
13 - Success Indicators (optional)
In addition to customers raves and reviews it is good idea to display in a non obtrusive manner any certifications or awards, licenses to show how your business shines
14 - Footer is designed to help users to navigate the website and get some general information.
Typically it contains copyright information, additional link to important pages or downloads, phone number, possibly “Contact Us” form to fill out and some other information based on the type of industry websites represents.
Typical options would be - “Sign Up for a newsletter/updates/offers”,
Footer is good place to display main promotions or coupon, discounts because footer is visible on any page and is hard to miss. If there is a promotion in the Footer section, then logically it must be followed by First or Second Call-To_Action and Sign up Form
You should mention what made you to start to do whatever you do. “About Me” page is not about your company, it's’ about you! If you would like to include some extra stuff :About Your Company” I'd’ rather you do it on a main page with some sort of Mission Statement Section.
15 - General Appearance - Entire look and feel of your website should be nice, clean and not outdated. I can show you a variety of apps which may liven up your content and appearance. If visitors have a feel that you website was done at least 10 years ago, they will leave much sooner. My next blog post will be about new website trends in 2017 and I will update this link shortly, but meanwhile here are few points on what’s new, hot and trendy in websites world:
Bold Typography - more and more brands are using bold typography to make their homepages attractive and to stand out
Cinemagraphs - high-quality videos or GIFs that run on a smooth, continuous loop
Bright Gradients - kaleidoscopic gradients are making their way back
Vivid layers of colors with stacked layers and deep texture - good pictures as well
Mixing Horizontal and Vertical Texts
Overlapping texts and images
All this bullet points are just touching the surface of the task to make your website not just shine, but also attract and convert your customers.
If this Big Hat of a webmaster is up your alley, then it’s good. If you are too busy, then let me know and I’d love to give you either pointers, or take over this mission not so impossible!