When you’re looking for the shortest explanation of what any business does, the home page is where you go. Of course, pou probably already know this. But what you may not be familiar with is how to use your home page to convert visitors to leads (and maybe even rabid fans).
Here are five critical home-page design tips you can use to boost conversions for your business.
Related: Optimizing Your Homepage With These 3 Things in Mind Will Help It Attract More Visitors
1. Design from the reader’s perspective.
If you’ve been in the marketing/online business space for some time, you understand how critical it is to put your audience first in every step of your marketing development. Putting them first means that:
Your copy isn’t about your brand or product, but about their problem.
Your home-page design is easy to navigate.
Your grammar isn’t hurting their eyes and minds.
Your calls-to-action (CTAs) don’t make them have to think too hard before they take specific actions.
Putting customers first is the start of every great business. But, how exactly do you do that for your home page? Start by listening. Listen to your customers and find out what they need from your business. Copyblogger’s Robert Bruce puts it more succinctly:
“There is one commonly overlooked practice,” he wrote, “that’s turned out to be the best copywriting advice I’ve ever put to use: Shut up and listen. Listen to your audience. What are they telling you — directly or indirectly — about what they really want and need? If social media has given us anything, it’s an unprecedented ability to hear the demands and desires of real people, in real time.”
Once you’ve listened enough to find out what your target customers really need, put that need on your home page as the No. 1 problem your business solves. Let every element, from the colors to the images, tone and fonts on that home page. Speak to the problem.
Next, become brave about being specific, because being general doesn’t cut it.
Related: 4 Forgotten Aspects of a High-Conversion Homepage
2. Prioritize specificity over generality.
You aren’t talking to or targeting anyone when you address the general public.
So, narrow down your marketing to your audience by making your home page all about them. This means that you need to find out everything you can about them (the more you know, the better), and design a home page that specifically speaks to them.
However, there’s virtually no way you’ll be doing this without proper research. What you glean from research is what informs your home page design. Dig in and gather gems from your meticulous efforts. Fathom what customers’ preferences and dislikes are; then, and only then, design your home page accordingly.
For example: If you sell herbs, using green as the dominant color on your home page quickly tells whoever is visiting that you’re all about selling herbs. Contrast that with browns, with which you’ll be connecting with people’s earthy side.
And that’s just color; the very things we mistake as being minor or obvious are sometimes the bottom line to why people stay on our home pages and then either convert or leave.
Hyperbole is another element advertisers underestimate. Many sites use it carelessly, not realizing the negative impact this “cheap thrill” has on their business.
3. Avoid hyperbole; problem-solving copy is better.
Hyperbole hints at a lot and says nothing. Even worse, it can make you sound like a scam artist. Don’t go the route of spouting exaggerated claims. The Guardian writer David Shariatmadari put it even more succinctly, “Hyperbole gets on people’s nerves.”
You’ll have a better chance converting people via your home page using targeted, problem-solving copy. Just be straight with people about what you can do for them.
The modern consumer is justifiably skeptical. She (or he) wants you to convince her, and she’s wise to the rhetorical fluff advertisers are capable of generating. Touting how big your company is in the industry, or how earthshaking your product is, won’t cut it. And, what’s worse, you raise eyebrows and prompt folks to question your claims — which opens a window for them to disqualify your brand and product.
The three home-page design ideas I’ve shared so far can be truly effective. The next pivotal element to consider is your use of visual media.
4. Use visuals in relevant areas of your home page.
It’s a cliche, but still true: One picture is worth 1000 words. As a content writer, I wish this weren’t true. I’d love it to be the other way round. But that’s the reality we live in. Visuals always speak louder than words.
Lightspeed and the Digital Graphic Agency teamed up and conducted over 70 experiments testing 500-plus visuals, icons, charts, presentations and infographics on 10,000-plus respondents in five countries. They found that, “Facts presented together with visuals can be anywhere up to twice as memorable as those same facts presented without.”
That’s how powerful visual media can be. So, what type of visuals should you be using? Use images that show your product in action, pictures of happy people, screenshots of complimentary emails from satisfied customers — maybe even a video of you or one of your happy customers talking about the huge, nagging problem your product solves.
And if what customers see is powerful, think about how many choices you are presenting. Is “more” always best?
5. Keep the paradox of choice in mind.
You might think that the more actions you ask people to take on your home page, the greater will be your chance of convincing them to take a specific action. That sounds straightforward and valid, right? But nothing could be further from the truth.
Nothing kills our focus more completely than an interruption. You know how it feels when you’re trying to read an article and your roommate calls out to you to look at some cool cat video he or she just watched. Once you’re done indulging your buddy, you try to get back to the article and find yourself having to start over to wrap your head around the context. Ugh.
That same science applies to the paradox of choice: Give people too many options and they just might leave your page without deciding on anything. Just as they’re trying to see the reason why one option is great for their situation, they’re interrupted by another idea you’re present,and that second idea makes them bounce.
Just. Don’t. Do it. Instead, keep the focus.
Gone are the days when home pages were meant only to share information about your business and product. Today, brands are converting even first-time visitors into leads and customers right from their home pages.
Related: 8 Ways to Build a More Welcoming Homepage
These tips can help with the process of creating your own high-converting home page. Now, go out and have fun with it, and start converting customers.