You’ve heard this one before: First impressions are lasting impressions. I would like to add when it comes to your company’s home page, first impressions could also be last impressions, if visitors have a poor experience. Instead of losing your most valuable website visitors – your home page visitors – to opaque messaging or weak design, you can do something about it. Take a look at these must-have home page features to give your company and your visitors a big-time advantage.
Bold & Articulate Headlines
Treat your home page like a front door, and you’ll understand why it needs to set the tone right away. Your headline and subheadline need to communicate three things:
- What you do and who you do it for
- Why it benefits website visitors
- How it addresses their pain points
Not every company’s name states what the company does, so it’s up to your home page headline to spell it out – clearly and succinctly. The subheadline can be more descriptive, but should still be to the point.
Buffer does a fantastic job with their home page headlines. It’s clear what they do (help businesses manage social media), how it benefits visitors (saves them time), and that they understand the challenges of their audience (businesses need one place for all things social media):
They should be able to communicate that your company understands where its website visitors are coming from, where they need to go, and that your company can help them get there.
Headlines and subheadlines are must-have home page features because they can be the deciding factor on whether or not your most valuable website visitors stay on the site. It’s heavy lifting, but when you do it right it can help you win the attention of those who matter most to your company.
While winning your home page visitors is goal number one, you also want them to continue on to other pages of your site. The best way to make this happen is to make it simple to navigate to those pages, from your home page.
Here’s a great example from ButcherBox:
Clear & Obvious Calls to Action
One of the other must-have home page features is a call-to-action (CTA) that makes sense and stands out. Your home page visitors are not likely to be ready to buy from you yet, but they may be ready to learn more about your company, sign up for a trial, or request a demo. Think about your audience as you are creating your CTA and make it obvious on the page.
Video is a highly effective medium in several areas of marketing, but on a home page it can lead to an 80 percent increase in conversions. This number alone makes it a must-have home page feature, so I’m including it here. Whether you add a how-to video or a product demo to your home page, make sure it’s high quality to win that first impression.
If you want to grab the attention of your most valuable website visitors, then adding social proof to your home page is a must. What is social proof? It can be testimonials, case studies, reviews, statistics, photos or brand names and logos that can ease the minds of hesitant customers. In a nutshell, social proof proves to your home page visitors they can trust and invest in you, because others have done it – and have great things to say as a result.
The home page for the meditation app, Calm, flawlessly integrates social proof by putting its “Apple App of the Year” award front and center. (They also include numerous reviews further down the page, including one from musician John Mayer.)
Sheila Hart-O’Connor is a word geek who is passionate about all things digital. She specializes in advertising and marketing copy, with a lean toward SEO, social media, and blogging.