I’m a big fan of a life coach called Jen Sincero. Her books have helped me understand that done is better than perfect. This is important for me, as in my previous efforts as a freelance copywriter I would often enter a perfection spiral when writing homepages.
Don’t get me wrong; I don’t produce homepage content for my clients that is subpar. However, I also don’t waste hours worrying about whether I am heading in the right direction. Not only do all of those worrying hours eat into my earning time. They’re not going to help me meet deadlines. Perfection can be corrosive, after all.
Whether you’re a copywriter too or you’re producing content for your own business, it’s worth taking Jen’s thoughts onboard. Creating a homepage is one of the first steps to getting your business out there into the big-bad-web. Once you’ve published it, you’re one step closer to e-commerce success.
If you’re now at the stage where you would like to improve your homepage, relax into the realisation that making tweaks is always a possibility. If yours is already out there, here are three steps toward ensuring your website’s homepage is shinier than ever:
Make sure your website’s purpose is obvious within five seconds
When your website’s purpose isn’t obvious within five seconds, the busy user visiting it will go elsewhere. Why? Because time is a precious commodity that they can’t get back.
Let’s say you sell cupcakes for a living. Your unique selling point is that you ship cupcakes up and down the country rather than just your locale. Trust me, this is entirely possible in the UK, but I understand that it probably isn’t so feasible in larger countries.
If your sales hinge on the fact that you will ship dazzling cupcakes to anywhere in the UK, your website visitors need to know that. They need to know that because they’re probably searching for a site just like yours. If they don’t get the impression that you’ll fulfil their needs within five seconds, they’re going to go elsewhere.
So why isn’t your website’s purpose immediately obvious?
Some of the key reasons for your website’s purpose not being immediately obvious include:
- Too many distractions; Having white space on your home page is a good thing as it allows users to direct their attention towards the most salient information. If you’re cramming your homepage with flashy messages, ‘click here’ type links, and pretty images, they may not see what your purpose is quick enough.
- You’re not being obvious enough; Let’s say I own a cupcake selling business. I LOVE making cupcakes and I haven’t put much thought into how I’m going to market my baking prowess. My homepage isn’t distracting, but all it says is ‘Laura Loves Cupcakes.’ For all the visitor knows, I’m a cupcake blogger. If I want visitors to know that I’m selling cupcakes up and down the country, one of the first things they need to see is ‘Laura ships the world’s best cupcakes throughout the UK’.
- It’s taking too long to load; The Internet is a fast-moving beast, which means its users expect fast-moving results to go with it. Test how long your site takes to load. If it’s more than one or two seconds, consider hiring a professional to clean it up.
Make sure your homepage is consistent with your branding (the same goes for all other pages!)
Consistency is something we crave as human beings. Even those of us who don’t abide by strictly set routines will begin to bristle when someone is inconsistent. While we don’t attach the same emotional value to a website’s homepage, we will feel the same sense of irritation when it doesn’t display consistency.
Take a look at your homepage versus the rest of your site. Are they consistent? Also, is it all in line with your branding? Ensuring your website’s homepage is consistent becomes especially important when you have an offline store that customers are familiar with. If they attach certain logos, images, and themes to your physical business, they may question whether they have found the right homepage if yours is inconsistent.
My top tips for achieving homepage consistency include:
- Once you design the homepage’s layout, make sure it’s consistent with other pages on your site. For example, keep offer banners, menus, and pertinent announcements in the same place.
- Get a logo and use it on your homepage, as well as on the other pages of your site.
- Consider what your user’s behaviours are when they click onto a website and create a homepage that complements them. Again, using the cupcake-selling business as an example, they may expect a drop-down menu that highlights different occasions. They might also expect to see a banner that features special offers. Step into your customers’ shoes, then incorporate the features they want from you.
Try ditching a few ads and replace them with helpful information instead
It’s not unusual in 2018 for businesses to fill their sites with ad space. If you have a website with plenty of traffic, where’s the harm in generating a residual income?
Unfortunately, those user-responsive ads that are flooding your homepage may clash with your branding. They could also deliver information overload, leaving your prospective customer feeling confused and frustrated.
Your business’s message and what you do should remain as the key features. Resist the temptation to fill white space with ads. If you must dedicate that space to something, why not make it your own promotions? After all, they’re going to generate more income than a few clicks from your target audience.
Always accept that your homepage is going to evolve over time. From the way your business changes to how your customers want to see it, the occasional tweak here and there will always be necessary.
Do you need someone to rewrite your homepage for you? You can hire me here!
Honesty note: This post may include affiliate links. I only ever include links to products and services I have enjoyed using myself. I’m not in the business of spamming for the sake of a few pennies x