Great news! You’re ready to build and develop the homepage for your website! But before we get started, we need to make sure this ‘welcome mat’ to your business is going to do what you want it to do. A good home page should lead visitors to the information they are seeking and clearly tell your visitors exactly what to do next.
Before we start work on the homepage, we need to understand how your visitors are arriving at your website and what you want them to do as part of their next action. Where will the majority of your traffic come from when they land on your homepage?
- Google Search Results
- Links from other websites
- From a blog post or another page on your site
- Online Marketing Campaigns
- Direct Referrals from you or other people
It is essential you get a feel for where you want traffic to be coming from, as we need to reverse engineer the build of your homepage so that we can meet the expectations of those who will arrive on this page.
Sidenote, I was listening to the divi-chat podcast the other day which mentioned Neil Patel and what he discovered after reviewing his site traffic. It turns out that the majority of his visitors were coming over to his homepage from blog articles and posts on his site. This knowledge helped him to redesign his homepage into a very sharp landing page with Call to Actions to follow.
So having an understanding of your visitor for your small business website, what is the primary objective or action you would like the visitor to take when visiting your site.
- Fill out a form
- Register for an event
- Click on a button to take the next steps
- Browse around and read more
- Learn more about your business
- Book a meeting or appointment
- Provide clear options and choices
- Call you on the phone
- Find your address to your location
The list can go on what you want a visitor to do when they arrive on your homepage, though the clearer you are on what the outcome needs to be about what your website role is in your business the easier it will become to scope and design a page which works for you and works for your visitors.
So let’s take a look at the “fluffy stuff” colours, design and layout the look and feel of your home page for your site. However, I have a rule I like to work with when it comes to designing this critical page.
- First, the page must be on brand with your brand, no point having a restaurant themed designed home page when you are in the business of bookkeeping. Your site has to meet the tone of your business.
- Second, the use of picking the right typography and colours for your site, less is more. You should only really need to work with two font styles at max for your outcome and work with a limited colour palette. When we work with our client,s we will work with the client to ensure we have the best typography and colours to match their brand and tone for the business.
- Third, less is more. When you get the copy and designs for your homepage, you can often cut this back again by two thirds. It’s why it may be right in your process to work with a good copywriter that knows and understands your business and can help work on the tone of voice. We are not experts in this domain. However, we know some very clever wordsmiths that can help you with this process.
So what is essential on your home page
- Logo – I know its bleeding obvious but having a good quality logo is vital it needs to be clear, not pixelated and preferably designed by a sound designer and not picked up on Fiverr for $5. When can use a cheap logo, never! Except as a holding place marker.
- Clear message – You really need a clear message on what should be said. Creating a “clear message” comes back to knowing your audience. Remember Less is More when it comes to building your messages.
- Call to Action – What do you want the visitor to do next, what is the objective of your website is to get a sale, is it to get a lead think what you would like your site to do for you.
Once you have the essentials covered off, we can then begin to think about the layout and design of the page. 95% of the time I would say the homepage will dictate the look and feel of the rest of the site. So it becomes essential to think about the three things we mentioned above to ensure you are on brand and are working with the right colours and typography and the tone of voice is aligned with your business.
Sliders or Images
When should you use a website slider on the homepage?
There is a time a place and sites for sliders, there are others I think why bother. What is a slider (its not a tiny hamburger) in website lingo it’s those pages you see where often there is a large image upfront which will rotate automatically, manually and display different message and images? Sometimes they work, sometimes they become just distracting to the viewer.
Use of space
How much space do you need?
Creating space on a website can be the difference between making a website look busy, to making it feel like a more premium styled website. A good website designer and developer should have a good feel for this, and be able to apply their magic CSS skills to help craft and create a good sense of space.
How responsive are you?
Its probably the most important factor for website design today, just how responsive is your website to being viewed on mobile devices. When we start to build a site for clients, we are offent building the site with mobile in mind first then larger devices second. Reason, just walk down the street, travel on a bus take a look around nearly everyone is glued to the damn screen. Its why mobile is first.
However, saying this there are some tricks your web developer can do in the back end to help make sure you have the right content showing on the mobile device. So why we will often revert back to the three key things again for your homepage logo, message and action. On a mobile everything else comes second. So if you have large images or sections slowing the experience down for mobile a good developer can trick the device not to show, so the experience is not lost on the small screen.
If you have read this far, you must be really interested in learning or maybe you have just got to the part where OMG it’s too hard to build this website I need help, I don’t have the time or patience to put together all the puzzles of this webby stuff. If that is the case you can contact us and we are more than happy to discuss your website needs. We promise we will leave the geeky stuff on how important it is to make sure your load times and are maintained, but we will make sure all the geeky, code stuff is left to us so you can get on preparing for your new employee your website.