Crafting An Intentional Homepage
You don’t have to tell me twice, writing the content for your website is freaking hard. Where do you even start? What the heck do you put on the homepage? What even is a homepage? Helping clients with their website content and how they present it is something that I do every day, and when I see people struggling with their homepage all I want to do is pat them on the head and make it easier for them. So I’m sharing my basic method for crafting an intentional homepage. This is what I start with this as a template for each client that I work with and you can do the same.
But first, what exactly is a homepage?
Your homepage is the first page that people will land on when they come to your website. It’s essentially homebase for your little space on the internet. That means it’s the first thing people see of your website and our goal is to make sure it’s not the last thing they see. Since it’s the first impression, one of the main purposes of your homepage will be to introduce you to new visitors. You want to make sure when people land on your site that they aren’t confused. If they can’t figure out what the heck it is that you do, they’re probably not very likely to stay (or BUY). Make sure that you're telling visitors exactly who you are and what you do. Then, a secondary goal should be to give them a little taste of all the different things they can find on your website + lead them to new information or the info they might be looking for. People nowadays have like an 8 second attention span, so the easier we make it for them to find what they’re looking for, the more likely they are to stay on your site, hire you, or purchase your product.
1. WHO you serve
The first section that I want you to focus on is some sort of introduction. How are you going to make your first impression? Basically this is the first thing at the top of your homepage. We are visual people so I usually like to start off with some sort of visual component to make a splash. Try finding an image that represents your business. Or maybe it’s a cool graphic element or banner. This would also be a great place to add your tagline or some sort of marketing message that will hook your audience in and make them want to keep reading. Just be sure that it represents your business and tells your audience why they need you.
2. WHAT you do
Once you've got them on the hook, you want to let them know that they’re in the right place. Make sure that your visitors know exactly what it is that you do and how it can make their lives better. This doesn’t have to be rocket science. I usually start by writing a few sentences saying exactly that. If you feel like you need to elaborate more, ask yourself if that information is imperative to the homepage or if it might be better to move that it somewhere else on your site (like the about page where people would intentionally go for those extra tidbits).
3. HOW you do it
Here I like to include a highlighted feature section where you can show your visitors exactly how it is that you serve them. This is a great place to display your services, feature your product, show off your most important content, or whatever it is that your business does. If you’ve got two services, then feature those. If you’ve got 20 services, maybe consider picking your top sellers and highlighting those alone. Remember our goal here isn’t to give people every single piece of information and overwhelm them, but instead to give them a taste + lead them to the next step. If they’re interested then they’ll definitely want to explore more!
4. Who you are
One of the advantages of running a small business is the human factor. It establishes trust on your website to let your audience and customers know that there’s a real live person behind your brand. Let’s use that to your advantage! I like to include a little about blurb on the homepage with a photo. This doesn’t have to be your entire life story, but it’s nice to see your face and learn a little bit about you so that people know this company isn’t run by a robot or some faceless corporation.
5. what you want people to do
Once you’ve got the sections of your homepage planned out, remember the secondary goal of our homepage… To lead visitors to more information, eventually enticing them to take action. Calls to action (or CTAs) are a great way to do that. Within each of the sections take the opportunity to lead your audience to the next step. That might be getting more information, learning about your offerings, subscribing to your list, purchasing your products, or calling you mom (hey, I don't know how you run your business, you weirdo).
It can be as simple as adding 'Learn More' buttons to each section. For example, after the highlighted feature section, you can add a 'Learn More' button that leads to your services page. Or after your about blurb you can add a 'Learn More' button that leads to your full about page where people can see more of your story and get insight into what your company stands for. If you want to get crazy you can change the text up on your buttons to be stronger and more active. Try something like 'Get Started Today', 'Get One For Yourself', 'See Our Story', 'Explore Our Services', 'Find Out How', etc. You get the gist.
6. Bonus content
There are also a few miscellaneous items that I sometimes add into homepages if they make sense (ONLY if they'll be valuable to your audience). These include testimonials from satisfied customers, a sample of your portfolio or blog you've got 'em, or an email opt-in if one of your goals is to get people on your email marketing list. It’s easy to add these things in once you’ve got your core sections in place. Just think about where they would make the most sense. For example if I’m a potential customer and I’m looking at your featured services section, it would make sense to have testimonials right next to it so that I can see the proof of other satisfied customers.
Here's my secret sauce: After you’ve got all these pieces in place, take a step back and imagine that you’re a new customer coming to your website for the first time. What information is going to be most important to you? You can re-order these sections in any way that you think is best, but I like to intentionally present information to your audience by what I think they’re going to be most interested in. If you’ve already got a well-known product and it’s obvious what people are coming to your site for, make that the first thing available so that people don’t have to go digging through to find it. Remember those short attention spans? Don’t give them time to go wandering off into the infinite abyss of the internet. Show them what they want within the first couple seconds and they’ll be way more likely to click on through or purchase.
How is your homepage shaping up? Will you be including any of these sections or suggestions?