August 8, 2014
On average, you have about 10-20 seconds to capture someone’s attention and make them stay on your website to poke around a bit. If your home page is where most people are landing, then you need to make sure it’s doing its job and getting people to stick around, learn more about your business, and ultimately make purchases if that’s your goal.
It may have been awhile since you designed your website’s home page so this is a good exercise to do again. Before you do anything, try to clear your mind of everything you know about your business. Why would someone come to your site? This is where good web analytics can really be helpful. How are people finding your site, if it’s through online searches then what phrases are they using, and what pages are they looking at? If you don’t have web analytics then the next best thing is to put yourself in the mind of your target consumer.
Now go to your home page as this consumer. What do they see when they first get there? If they know nothing about your business or your brand, does your home page clearly and succinctly answer those questions for them? Your Home Page should clearly explain, whether it’s through a combination of text, images, logos, taglines, etc. – what this site is about, what your company does, and why you’re unique and different. Don’t make your visitors have to search the page or the site to understand what it is you do; make it crystal clear from the beginning.
Along those same lines, you need to know what it is you want your site to achieve and make sure that’s reflected in your home page. If your site is focused on trying to get people to purchase online then make it easy for them to access your shopping cart. Your Home Page then might also want to feature new products or sale information. Alternatively, if your goal is to make it easy for people to find you, you’d want to make sure your hours of operation, location, or contact information is prominently displayed on the home page. If it’s recipes that you’re showcasing then get those front and center. You get the idea….you want to make it as easy as possible for someone who has no idea what you do to take a quick look at your Home Page and instantly understand what it is they are looking at.
Reprinted from the e-book, Web Design – Practical Website Design For Small Food Businesses.