Designing a great home page is critical for dozens of reasons, but core to an effective home page design is the fulfillment of two types of visitors.
- New Visitors – These prospective partners or prospective customers arrive at your home page seeking information about your company. They typically came directly, clicked a link on a social media profile, searched for your brand online, or arrived at your home page from another internal page they landed on that didn’t provide all the information they were looking for.
- Recurring Visitors – These customers already have a relationship with you and are trying to find a resource to self-service or to contact you.
With that in mind, the design and usability of your home page is a combination of art and science. The art is differentiating your brand from the competition. The science is having an intuitive layout to navigate to the information they are trying to find.
As you design your home page, there are questions you should be asking to ensure it will answer the questions that your visitor is asking. Here are some of those questions:
Questions for New or Returning Prospects
As prospective customers or partners visit your site, here are some questions they are asking:
- What’s my first impression? When a visitor lands on your homepage, what impression do they get? Compare the investment in your homepage to that in your business outfit, lobby, or company car. Your homepage often greets more visitors than you do in person. Consider if it reflects the professionalism, brand consistency, and quality you want to convey.
- In 2 seconds, what do I know about you? What can visitors glean about your business within the first seconds of viewing your homepage? This immediate understanding is crucial. Test this with people unfamiliar with your site to see if your core message is getting through.
- Can I find what I need on a mobile device? How does your homepage perform on mobile devices? Consider a visitor looking up your site on their phone before a call or visit. Is the site easily navigable, and can they quickly find what they need?
- Is your photography cold and stock, or personal? Evaluate the impact of your website’s photos. Reflect on how transitioning to custom photos of your offices, personnel, and clients will resonate more personally with your readers. Does your current imagery draw visitors in effectively and authentically?
- What kind of industry recognition have you received? Consider the content you’re highlighting on your homepage. Is it more beneficial to showcase personal qualifications or to focus on the company’s achievements and how they benefit clients?
- How can I contact you? Does a 1-8XX corporate main phone line convey accessibility and personal connection as effectively as a direct mobile phone number might? Is there a click-to-call link in the top right corner on desktop… or in a header for easy mobile access? Is there a chat window for immediate response? Can a highly visible contact link take you to a form or self-service appointment scheduling?
- What do your customers say about you? Reviews and testimonials speak to the quality of your brand, products, or services.
- Is the layout intuitive? Reflect on the layout of your homepage. Is it designed considering the typical pattern of visitor attention – starting from the top left, moving to the top right, then down the page? Ensure that key information is strategically placed.
- What are the benefits of your products or services? Features are important, but the benefits and results of those features are far more important to a new visitor. Can I see an overview and then dive in deeper on dedicated pages that provide more information (including features)? Do you have job-specific or industry-specific pages that are relevant to me?
- Do you work with customers like me? Providing examples of the types of customers you serve is critical – geographically, company size, industry, etc. Directly displaying logos or names of companies you’ve worked with can have a more significant impact than simply stating the clients you serve. This helps visitors quickly see if they fit into your target audience.
- What do you want the visitor to do next? Define the action you want visitors to take after landing on your homepage. Limit the options to a primary and secondary action outside of navigation elements. A primary CTA should target a prospect that’s ready to buy. A secondary CTA should target a prospect who hasn’t yet decided to purchase.
- How expensive are you? What alternatives do you offer for visitors not ready to make immediate contact? Consider options like signing up for a newsletter, downloading an ebook, reading your blog, or following your social media profiles. Providing these choices can cater to different visitor intents.
- Where can I find out more? What alternatives do you offer for visitors not ready to make immediate contact? Consider options like signing up for a newsletter, downloading an ebook, reading your blog, or following your social media profiles. Providing these choices can cater to different visitor intents. Do you have information in different mediums like videos or podcasts?
- Where are you? Where are you physically located? Do you have an office near me? What are your business hours?
Questions for Customers
Existing customers typically visit your home page for different reasons than new visitors. Their familiarity with your brand means they focus more on specific actions or information. The primary reasons an existing customer might visit your home page include:
- Where can I get support or customer service? They may be looking for contact information, support resources, or a way to get in touch with customer service. Ensuring easy access to support can enhance their experience and satisfaction. Secondary is how they can follow and connect with you on social media platforms.
- Where can I find new products or services? Customers who are satisfied with your offerings might return to see what’s new or explore additional products or services.
- Where can I access account information: If your website includes customer accounts, returning users may be visiting to check their account status, view recent transactions, or update their personal information.
- Where can I learn about a promotion or event: Existing customers might visit the home page to learn more about ongoing promotions, events, or new content, especially if they’re prompted by an email or social media post.
- Where can I find educational content or resources: If you provide valuable content such as blogs, tutorials, or webinars, existing customers might return to access these resources.
- How can I refer or share your brand: Satisfied customers might visit your home page to refer your services to others or to share specific content or products.
For each of these reasons, it’s important to ensure that your home page facilitates these actions smoothly. This might include clear navigation to relevant sections, visible calls to action, and regularly updated content that keeps your existing customers engaged and informed.
And, of course, don’t forget to check out the website features that can assist your visitors navigate to these answers!