3 Key Purposes for the Home Page of your Small Business Website
Typically, the home page of a website serves as the most significant landing page for both new and returning visitors. Essentially, this single page creates an overall impression of your company in a matter of seconds. If your home page does not both impress and spark the interest of the user, they will typically leave your website rather than checking out any subpages.
So, if your home page is so important, what exactly should it do?
Table of Contents
- 1. Capture the Attention of the Visitor
- 2. Inform the Visitor Who You Are and What You Do
- 3. Direct the Visitor Where to Go Next
- Improving Your Home Page’s Speed and Discoverability
- Re-evaluate Your Home Page Today
1. Capture the Attention of the Visitor
Text-based content alone can be dull, boring, and potentially overwhelming. At the same time, auto-playing audio can be obtrusive, especially if your clients are in the corporate world. Instead, engaging visual elements are an excellent way to create interest in your company with a level of creativity.
Some examples of visual elements that can be used:
- Slideshows showcasing work/services or important news about the company
- Short videos (without automatically playing sound) or animations that introduce your company or unique service offering
- Graphical callouts featuring sales or new product/service offerings
- Interactive elements that encourage customer’s curiosity and prompt engagement
The following is an example of an animated slideshow on one of our client's website - P1 Service.
2. Inform the Visitor Who You Are and What You Do
After you have successfully captured the visitor's attention, the home page should inform in a quick and concise manner what your company offers. This should typically be done in 2-3 paragraphs. In some cases, the visual attention element can begin this process by briefly introducing key phrases describing your product or service offering.
Note that we are not prescribing that your home page only have 2-3 paragraphs of text total. On the contrary, search engines typically require far more text content to understand what your company offers and who your target market is. That said, it’s critical to make your website’s content easy to skim and the content near the top of the page should concisely educate the customer on your offerings.
It can be beneficial to establish your credibility by briefly mentioning accolades/awards, client reviews, years of experience, or media coverage. Note that you do not want to mention every single element, but rather put your strongest foot forward and save the rest for the other pages of the website.
For a few examples of effective home pages and ideas of what to put on your website's homepage, check out the following:
- NextGen Wealth – Wealth Management Industry Example
- Koehn Building Systems – Construction Industry Example
- ICT Muscle & Joint Clinic - Healthcare Industry Example
- Igniting Business – Our own website…because we practice what we preach!
3. Direct the Visitor Where to Go Next
The final element is to provide guidance on where the user should visit next. The site must have a clear, easy and understandable navigation (website menu) to use. However, when a first-time visitor comes to your website, it is often smart to highlight particular elements for them to check out. Consider highlighting the company's complete service offering, feature products to purchase online (for e-commerce websites), portfolio, latest blog posts, free estimate form, or customer reviews.
Whichever calls-to-action you choose, must have a clear link or button so that the user can both see and take action on your guidance. For example, on NextGen Wealth’s website, they direct newcomers to start with a Free Retirement Checkup.
Directing the visitor to the desired next step is a critical element to ultimately convert the visitor into a customer.
Improving Your Home Page’s Speed and Discoverability
If you have all three elements incorporated from above, that is a great start, but you are not done yet! Once you have your home page’s content and calls-to-action structured well, you should next address performance. If your home page loads slowly, visitors won't likely stick around.
Ensure Your Website Loads Fast
Since most companies give their home page the most attention as it relates to design and functionality, it is very easy for the home page to load slower than interior pages. For example, beautiful eye-catching slideshows tend to load more resources due to large image file sizes. However, research studies conducted by Google show that the speed of your website has a direct impact on purchases and revenue. As a result, it is critically important that your home page is optimized for speed! You can consider addressing the speed of your website in the following three ways:
- Select a high-quality and fast website hosting provider. Two of our favorite web hosts for performance and reliability are KnownHost and LiquidWeb. Their web hosting performance is top-notch, and their support teams are the most responsive in the industry.
- Use a CDN (Content Delivery Network) to speed up interactions with your website. A CDN divides your content among numerous servers strategically spread across the United States and the globe to deliver your website’s content to your customers at a much faster pace. Check out our favorite CDN called StackPath.
- Optimize the content and structure of your website for core web vitals. Learn more about how core web vitals impact your users’ experience and your SEO.
Make Sure Your Home Page and Website is Easy to Find on Search Engines
Once your home page’s content and speed are optimized for visitors, you should turn your attention to Search Engine Optimization (SEO). After all, what good is a great home page if it cannot be found on search engines by potential customers?
If you are looking for professional SEO help, certainly reach out to us. On the other hand, if you are a do-it-yourselfer and simply need a bit of extra help getting started with DIY Search Engine Optimization, we would encourage you to check out great SEO audit and reporting tools by BrightLocal and SEMrush’s suite of PPC and SEO tools. Either of the above tools can help you evaluate your business’ search engine rankings and give you an idea of what you should start improving for the sake of SEO.
Test Your Website on Multiple Devices
We often see cases where a company's home page looks great and loads rapidly on traditional desktop computers. However, the mobile experience feels like an afterthought with odd placement of content or perhaps the home page loads much slower on mobile networks.
Naturally, it's easy to test your website on whatever device your used to using at your office on a daily basis. For instance, if you have a traditional computer with a widescreen monitor, you likely reviewed your website with that by default. However, you should re-examine your home page from multiple devices (e.g. desktop, laptop, smartphone, tablet, etc.) with varying screen sizes and orientations.
Make sure the experience is equally solid on all device types!
Re-evaluate Your Home Page Today
Even if you think you have an awesome home page, we encourage you to give it another look. We believe that the three main purposes described in this post should be the core of every successful home page. Do not forget that once you have your home page’s content and calls-to-action carefully crafted, you should also focus on the home page’s speed, user experience, and discoverability in search engines.
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