When someone visits your website for the first time, they will often begin their browsing experience on your homepage.
It should come as no surprise that a well-planned homepage on any website is the key to improving sales, generating leads and turning them into conversions.
The Goal Of Your Homepage
The homepage of any website is the equivalent of the reception area of a building. It’s a welcoming place to go, and it’s from that point that all visitors can get directed to where they need to go.
While that’s true for some websites, others have homepages that leave much room for improvement. For example, confusing menu options, content that doesn’t load properly, and a generally poor design can deter visitors from exploring the rest of a website.
Some website owners wrongly assume that homepages are simply to convert visitors – get them to buy or do something.
The truth is, a website’s homepage should aim to provide visitors with a brief overview of what to expect from the website and clear navigation paths to other areas. The primary goal of the homepage isn’t to get them to ‘buy’, it’s to get them engaged and going deeper into your site.
Take a look at the following points to discover the key areas for attention when improving any homepage to make it more engaging to all visitors:
Did you know that more than 90% of the world’s Internet users go online using a mobile device like a smartphone or tablet? Even if you’re not a fan of Internet statistics, a cursory look at your website’s access logs will reveal that the majority of visitors use mobile devices.
Do you know if your website has a responsive website design? If not, go and open the homepage on your iPhone or Android smartphone. Alternatively, you can run your site through Google’s “Mobile-Friendly Test”.
You can tell if you’ve got a responsive design because everything gets resized correctly, and you can read all text content with ease.
Never assume that the website’s template design you’re using has a responsive website design out of the box. Always conduct thorough testing to check that your homepage – and the rest of your website – is mobile-friendly.
Smooth User Experience
What happens when someone visits your homepage? Does your content show up almost immediately for them, or do they have to wait a long time for images and other assets to load?
Website loading speed is crucial in today’s high-speed Internet world. Your site visitors should not have to wait any longer than five seconds for your homepage to load in its entirety.
It’s a metric that applies whether a website visitor has a fixed-line broadband or fibre-optic connection or even a 3G mobile data connection. There are two things you need to check if you need to improve your homepage’s loading speed.
Firstly, you should ensure you have your website hosted on a reliable and fast server. Secondly, you should use caching technology on your website and ensure all images get optimised for speed without diminishing quality.
This test from Google will help you evaluate your website’s load speed: https://pagespeed.web.dev/
Search Engine Optimisation
SEO (search engine optimisation) is when several techniques are employed to increase a website’s search engine visibility and improve the quality and quantity of visitors.
You might have put a lot of thought into your homepage’s website design and content, but have you applied some SEO techniques to increase relevant traffic from search engines like Google?
There are a couple of basic SEO checks you must carry out on your homepage to be sure:
- Page Title – avoid going over 60 characters in length and ensure it’s relevant to your website and audience;
- Meta Description Tag – stick with a 160-character limit and write a brief synopsis of your site, ensuring you include a relevant keyword.
The page title and meta description get displayed in all search engine results pages, and Google uses the above information. Ensure your homepage gets SEO-optimised and doesn’t detract from the user experience.
If you need help with your search engine rankings (or even how you appear in search), Paul Barrs and his team can put you on the right track, Click Here.
Attractive And Intuitive Design
The phrase “first impressions count” might seem overused, but it’s relevant in today’s modern age. For example, if you were going for a job interview or on a date, you’d dress to impress.
Likewise, when someone visits your homepage for the first time, you want them to feel impressed by it.
Imagine two websites that sold identical products and services. The first site had a sleek, fresh website design, and users found it easy to navigate to other areas of the site.
Meanwhile, the second site looked like it had a cutting-edge website design from 2005 and had complex or strange navigation. Which site would you feel more inclined to buy from or contact the organisation behind it?
It makes sense to give your website design an overhaul if it’s no longer fit for purpose and is a significant reason why you are experiencing low leads and conversions.
Driving Traffic From Social Media
You already know about social media and the steps you must take to create a large following on networks like Facebook and Twitter. The people who follow you are interested in what you’ve got to say or the products and services you sell.
However, you don’t want those people to just stay on social media and get distracted by notifications, messages, and news feeds.
You want those followers to visit your homepage and do something on your website. In your social media posts, give people teasers and invite them to your homepage for further details.
Conversions And ROI
One final point on improving your homepage relates to conversions and ROI (Return On Investment).
The process of drawing people deeper into your website is conversion optimisation. While that’s beyond the scope of this article, it’s a topic you need to consider when improving your homepage for generating leads or making sales.
For example, think about the 80-20 rule and apply it to your homepage. Imagine that 20% of your visitors will look at your e-commerce website’s categories. You could make 80% of your online sales via people navigating through those categories from your homepage.
If you optimise your category titles, making them more relevant to your audience, they’re more likely to buy from you. That’s an example of conversion optimisation.
By investing your time and efforts into improving the relevancy of your homepage to your visitors, you’ll enjoy an excellent ROI.
While it’s important to have great content on your website, it’s absolutely essential to check that you have an optimised homepage.
Making a few strategic changes will optimise the user experience for your visitors and increase the chances of lead generation and conversions.
This article was written by Paul Barrs; who recently moved from the Sunshine Coast to Kingaroy. Paul has over 20 years of website design experience and 18 years working with Google Search, helping hundreds of customers get better results online. He can be contacted via his website PaulBarrs.com