Four Essential Things Your Homepage Should Have

Four Essential Things Your Homepage Should Have

The one thing I keep telling my clients is that website shouldn’t only be pretty; that should come secondary. The main objective of websites should be to attract visitors, keep them and ultimately turn them into clients and customers. In short, your website should convert to leads, not just be a place where people “ooh” and “aah” at the beauty of it, leave and then promptly forget about it.

Your homepage is the one page on your website that would probably get the most traffic and this is all the more reason why you should focus on it and make sure it gets you as many leads as possible.

Therefore you have to be intentional about what you want visitors to do when they visit your website and design your website accordingly. Without further ado, here’s the four essential things your homepage needs, after the jump:

Clear introduction

You’ll probably get a lot of first time visitors to your website and you never know which ones will be your future clients or customers so you’ll need to make sure your homepage serves as an introduction to what they can expect from you.

You have less than three seconds to introduce yourself to visitors so stay away from fluff; keep things simple and to the point. If possible, use a single headline to explain what you do or what people can expect from the website.

Regina  has her blog set as a homepage but she has a clear and to-the-point introduction in her header and it's the first thing visitors see!

Regina has her blog set as a homepage but she has a clear and to-the-point introduction in her header and it's the first thing visitors see!

Another example is  Alisha Nicole's  homepage; she has a friendly photo of herself so visitors immediately get to place a face to the website and she describes what she does and who she does it for.

Another example is Alisha Nicole's homepage; she has a friendly photo of herself so visitors immediately get to place a face to the website and she describes what she does and who she does it for.

Easy navigation

I cannot stretch enough how important easy navigation is for not only your homepage but your entire website as well. If you want to decrease your bounce rates and keep visitors to your site for longer, you need to make sure they are able to easily navigate from one page to the next so they can check out most of your content.

Keep the navigation links to minimum; don’t try to cram as many links as you can on your main navigation bar. Instead be intentional; place the most important links on the main navigation bar (typically found at the top of the webpage) and the least important ones at the secondary navigation bar (some websites have it in the footer of their webpages) or make use of drop down menus to keep your navigation bar simple or uncluttered.

A clever way to use navigation links is to link them to great content on your website so you can keep visitors on your website for longer. The longer visitors stay on your website, the stronger the chances of the becoming fans of you and your website. For a great example of this, check out Regina's Start Here page; instead of launching into something more about herself, she curated blog content visitors might be interested in and has numerous lead converting buttons to collect emails.

Calls-to-action

This is when you ask yourself; what is the first, second and third things you want people to do when they visit your website’s homepage? Like I mention in my free email course on improving your brand, people are selfish; they always want to get something out of you first before they can even think of giving you more of their time or money. In order to convert visitors to leads, you need to have clear calls to action where you tell visitors to take a particular action on your website, be it signing up for your newsletter/ecourse or checking out your services.

There will be different people who have different needs and because my primary reason for this website is to get clients, it can always come back full circle to when I convert a blog reader or email subscriber to a paying client.

Personally, I give visitors to my website three options: since I have a header image where I introduce myself, I’d like those who would be interested to check out my services and portfolio and book me. If not, they should check out my blog where I share useful content on branding, business, design and blogging. The next thing I would like them to do is to sign up to access my library: this is a win-win they’ll get access to a library of free premium resources they can use for their businesses in exchange for their email or they could sign up to my free email course where I teach them ways to strengthen their brands and attract the ideal clients they want.

Here's a good example of calls-to-actions from  Elle and Company Design . All of them require emails which is a great way for Lauren to grow her email list.

Here's a good example of calls-to-actions from Elle and Company Design. All of them require emails which is a great way for Lauren to grow her email list.

Easy option to search for content

Sometimes when people visit a website, they want to find something specific and they will not want to spend unnecessary time looking through your website for it. This is where a search bar comes in handy; with a search option on your homepage, visitors will be able to immediately search for what they want and if they find it, they will stay and consume more of your content and who knows? If they really love your content and find it helpful they will keep coming back and may just convert into subscribers or paying clients.

RELATED: Four Secrets to Creating Great Website

Another great example of a homepage. Can you spot the search function? ;)

Another great example of a homepage. Can you spot the search function? ;)

To further help you with the design of your homepage; think of the page as a visual hierarchy; our eyes naturally focus on the things at the top first then go down to the middle and if we’re still interested, we check out the things at the bottom. With that said, make sure the most important things are at the top, and the less important things are at the bottom. This way, you make sure that the things you want people to focus on the most gain prominence but you still afford certain information an easy chance to be seen.

Stumped at how you can DIY your homepage to include the essentials? I've got a great worksheet for you and it's free! Click the button below to download it:

Now, I’d love to hear from you; what is the number one most important thing you want visitors to see or do when they visit your homepage? Feel free to leave a link to your site as well!