Much like the cover of a book, your home page is the first thing people see when visiting your website. It is also what customers use to evaluate you, your business, and your website’s content. The difference here is, while you should never judge a book by its cover, it has become the norm to judge a business by its home page. This is why a superb home page design is so critical to the success of your website.
Buzzwords like “above the fold,” “call to action,” and “intuitive” get used lightly and frequently these days. But as a business owner, you should only be concerned with improving the success of your business via increased website conversions.
Conversions are essentially taking a website visit (by a real human) and turning it into a phone call, submitted form or survey, or an order placed. Your primary focus should be having a website homepage that communicates your message powerfully and quickly, and steers your visitors to the next step.
Creating a high-impact homepage layout is an involved and complex process. The process is most effective when the approach is strategic – meaning you are working towards goals. Defining those goals is an important first step. Think like your customers. What do they want to see? What do you want them to learn? Or do? With clearly defined goals, the website designer can work backwards to create a visual design that guides the visitor towards those goals.
Effective Homepage Design with Numerous Content Areas:
The common “homepage challenge” presents itself when trying to achieve numerous goals on the very first page visitors see. Business owners often believe they want to communicate as much information as possible right on the homepage. The designer is then tasked with determining how to communicate everything on one page while maintaining design integrity. Some common pitfalls include the following:
Having too much information can be just as detrimental to your design as having too little. If your homepage is crowded, and a customer feels overwhelmed and doesn’t know where to begin, they’ll simply look elsewhere – namely your competitor’s website. So think simple. Often times, less is more.
Priority and emphasis within your content areas is critical. If all elements have equal weight, they compete with each other, and the impact of each gets diluted. Organizing and highlighting each section by importance makes navigating throughout the rest of the website more intuitive.
Elements on the home page need to be visually appealing without giving away too much. Not only is the visual real estate of your homepage a precious commodity, but the amount of content displayed should be an introduction – just enough so that customers are compelled to delve deeper and continue reading on your inner pages.
Implementing a hierarchy of design and organizing a business’s key information can mean the difference between a customer staying, or getting frustrated and clicking on to another website.
Less is More: Simple, Easy to Navigate Homepage Layout:
To the trained eye, a successful homepage design implements certain principles of design in a way that makes the page easy to read and digest. Tight alignment of type areas (headings and body copy), using negative space to give content room to breathe and get noticed, and establishing a hierarchy of design elements all serve to guide the viewer’s eye along the desired path towards an action or a goal.
To the untrained eye, a successful homepage simply creates a positive user experience that delivers the visitor to a targeted goal or action, and converts the visit into a lead or a sale. Good design helps your business succeed – perhaps on your website homepage more than anywhere else.