Your website’s home page could be your only chance to make a good impression on a prospect. Who are you, and what do you do? How can you start building trust with that prospect? Make sure your home page has these essential elements:
- Put your most important items “above the fold.” This means the top part of the screen on a typical monitor needs to have the most important information. People do not like to scroll down. A significant number of visitors will use a laptop screen, which is even shorter.
- Your logo and colors.
- Company phone number, or a Google phone number.
- If you have a brick-and-mortar presence, your full address and a link to a map.
- Clear links to an email address or contact form.
- Images that show what you offer.
- A menu across the top or down one side of the page. Carefully put the most important menu items at the top level of the menu. Think how a customer might think and design the “navigation” with their needs in mind.
- Most businesses that have a shopping cart (ecommerce) should have items to sell on the home page. Don’t force the visitor to click “Shop” unless ecommerce is a very minor part of the site. And be sure to have a prominent link to the checkout page from every page to help avoid abandoned carts.
- A search box so your potential customers can find products or other items of interest on your site.
- Email list signup box or link so you can turn prospects into customers by sending opt-in emails. Offer an incentive for signing up, like a coupon or whitepaper. Use an email marketing program such as Constant Contact to stay in touch with information they want to receive.
- Ensure you have large social media buttons that link to your company’s Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and/or LinkedIn accounts.
- If there is room, add “feed widgets” to show your latest posts/pins/tweets. These provide instant gratification and encourage interaction.
Test your home page with a representative group of site visitors to make sure it is meeting their needs. Run an A-B test of two similar version of your home page to see which performs better (measure sales, filling out a contact form, time spent on site, etc.). A good web developer can set this up to run automatically.
Once your home page is in good condition, run a weekly “quality check” on the home page — and the entire site — to make sure the site is in good shape.
- Run a spell checker on the entire site. Typos are inevitable whenever people add content. To find a tool, type “spell check website” into Google.
- Install a spellchecker into your web browser to monitor for typos as you read. Find one by typing the name of your browser (Firefox, Internet Explorer, etc.) and “spell check” into Google.
- Make sure all the links work. Find an automated tool or use Google Webmaster Tools.