A customer’s first experience with your brand will often be the Homepage, and capturing their interest relies on incorporating essential elements known to build trust and drive conversions.

Your Homepage is like a digital brochure or window display, and should serve as a visual elevator pitch that succinctly and effortlessly answers the big questions: who, what, why and what next?

– Who: who are you? (elevator pitch)
– What: what do you do? (products and/or services)
– Why: why are you unique? (differentiating factors)
– What Next?: what do you want visitors to do next? (calls-to-action: request a quote, call now, learn more, etc.)

Addressing these questions up front will ease the mind of weary visitors, and let them know you are a reputable company worthy of their time.

Who You Are (elevator pitch)

You have just seconds to capture the interest of visitors before they leave in pursuit of a more convincing alternative. For this reason, it’s critical to provide a main message, above the fold, that clearly and concisely explains who you are. We like to call this your digital elevator pitch.

Far too often, we see Homepages with vague messaging that can apply to virtually any company, or worse yet, no messaging at all. Spend some time writing multiple versions of your elevator pitch, and try to limit yourself to 2-3 sentences. This will force you to make the most of every word, and carefully craft a powerful statement that sums up who you are.

Design Tips
– Studies show that users scan web pages from top left to bottom right. Placing your main message at the top left, in the main banner area, ensures high visibility.
– Use crisp, bold fonts and a typeface that is easy for the eyes to scan. When placing text over images, ensure there is strong visual hierarchy.

What You Do (products and/or services)

Whether you’re an ecommerce business or a service provider, your customers probably have a good idea of what they are looking for when they start their online search. While your main message provides a brief overview of your company as a whole, it’s a good practice to highlight your main products or services for visitors with more specific needs.

Dedicating a portion of your Homepage to your most important products or services sets up defined user pathways, making it easy for visitors to make informed decisions. The more intuitive your user interface, the easier it will be for customers to find what they are looking for. This always leads to greater time on site, reduced bounce rates and increased conversions.

Why Are You Unique (differentiating factors)

Chances are, you have a number of online competitors who offer similar products or services. Since consumers are known to do quite a bit of comparison shopping online, it’s vital to provide a value proposition or differentiating factors that spell out what makes you different.

With more businesses than promoting themselves online, the only way to set yourself apart is by letting your audience know why they should stop and pay attention.

Design Tips
– Dedicate a section of your Homepage to a brief message or bulleted list of differentiating factors.
– Place this section above the fold, and consider tying it into your Main Message for maximum impact.

What Next? (calls to action)

Every content section on your Homepage should be accompanied by a call-to-action that guides users toward your conversion goals. Some examples of common CTAs are “Shop Now”, “Learn More”, “Request a Quote” and “Contact Us”.

As a best practice, calls-to-action should be highlighted by using unique button and/or text colors that call importance to them. You’ll often notice websites using buttons colors that do not exist anywhere else on the site. This nuance works wonders on the psyche of users, as it calls attention to the places you want them to click.

Wrapping Up

These Homepage Design Tips will force you to take a more strategic approach to engaging your audience and guiding them down the conversion funnel. If implemented correctly, you will boost return on investment by capitalizing on the money you spend driving traffic to your website.

by Fuze April 25, 2014