7 Secrets to a High Performing Homepage

I’ll bet 90% of your web traffic lands on your homepage. I’d also wager that people only visit one, maybe two pages on your website (check your web traffic through Google Analytics).  So, if your homepage is your highest visibility web page, then why do so many businesses have underperforming homepages?  Your website should roll out the red carpet – or at least throw out a welcome mat.  This article will guide you in taking a serious evaluation of your homepage and help you correct any deficiencies.  Fortunately, we’ve compiled some easy tips to follow.

Is this Article for You?

Assuming your goal is to convert website visitors into paying customers, then keep reading. We’ll share strategies on how to stand out from your competitors. The goal is to tip the odds in your favour of winning a new customer, known in the marketing world as “conversion optimization”. Basically, we want to persuade your audience into purchasing your products or services.  Since most people start their purchasing journey online, your website is your most important marketing tool, so don’t neglect it!

Attractive, Informative, Persuasive

Your homepage should be attractive informative, and persuasive. Why do so many companies stop at “attractive”?  I often see beautiful imagery on websites but have no clear idea what the company does. Here’s the risk: impatient consumers will quickly hit the “Back” button, then you’ve lost an opportunity. So be clear in your offering and don’t be afraid to nudge people towards making decision.

Here are 7 Secrets to a High Performing Homepage

We’ve compiled a checklist of seven proven techniques to boost your homepage performance.

  1. Value Statement

You’ve got about five seconds to convince a visitor they’ve arrived at the right site. Maybe less. The best way to do this is with a “value statement”, also known as a “unique selling proposition”.  What does your company do?  What problem do you solve for people? Known as an “H1 Header”, this section of your homepage should be right up top, near your main banner image. Think of your header like a highway billboard that someone is speeding past. You need to catch their attention in a fleeting moment. How can you sum up your offerings in a sentence or two? Surprisingly, a compelling value statement is often absent from business websites. Don’t make that mistake!

  1. Persuasive Copywriting

This is easy advice to dispense, but high quality copywriting can be difficult to put into practice. My suggestion? Write from the perspective of a potential customer that has never needed your product or service before. What questions would that person have? What objections could you anticipate? Instead writing from your point of view: “ABC Company has terrific customer service”, flip it around and write from the user’s perspective. What’s in it for them? This approach will resonate better with your prospective customers.

  1. Compelling Call-to-Action

What is it you want people to do on your website? Sign up for something? Buy something? Call in? Submit a form? Whatever it is, don’t be shy about asking for it.  Once you’ve convinced people you’re the right company for them, roll out the red carpet and make it as easy as possible for them to reach out. A friendly call-to-action (CTA) button will do the trick.  Be sure to use welcoming text (by the way, we’re seeing a trend away from pushy button text, such as: “Free Quote” or “Buy Now!!”). Attract attention to your CTA with a distinct button colour. And finally, position your button prominently – we like placing a CTA button in a navigation menu that sticks in place as the user scrolls down.

  1. Attractive Imagery

Is your website becoming dated?  An easy way to check is with a quick review of your icons, graphics, and photos. Since many people quickly scan your homepage, your imagery needs to be modern and visually appealing. No stock obvious stock photography please! (Like the ridiculously attractive woman with a microphone headset who is ready and waiting to take your phone call.) Product shots should be professional. We love “lifestyle photography” of your products being used by people. Luckily this should be an easy fix, without redesigning your entire site.

  1. Social Proof

Social proof (testimonials) can be a convincing, psychological motivator. People want to know that your clients have been happy with your company before they move forward. Then why do so many companies bury their testimonials deep inside the website? I recommend taking your top 1 (or 2, or 3) and showcasing them directly on the homepage. It could make all the difference.

  1. Trust Badges

Do you belong to industry or community associations?  Do you have any accreditations? Your homepage is the place to display them.  Pro tip: link to your association’s website. It’s informative for your visitors and it helps give Google context. Without trust badges, you may be perceived as a fly-by-night company, running operations out of your garage. Show the world you are engaged in your industry. This simple step will reinforce your position as an industry expert.

  1. Lightning-Fast Loading on Mobile

Why bother with the previous six tips if your site is slow to load? People don’t have patience for a sluggish website and will quickly bounce away.  Adding insult to injury, Google knows your website is slow and will penalize you in search rankings. Not sure about your loading speed? Use Google PageSpeed to test for yourself.
Wow, you made it this far in the article (I thought only Googlebots made it to the end). You deserve a bonus:

7 Things to Avoid on your Homepage

  1. Making it All About You

Resist the temptation to gush about how great you are. Instead, focus on solving a problem. Write in terms of customer benefit. What’s in it for them?

  1. Scrolling Carousels

Sliders, or carousels, are getting a bit outdated.  It’s unrealistic to expect people to hang around on your homepage while banners scroll past. Find a different way.

  1. 50 Words or Less

Google favours content-rich pages, including your homepage. Why? Because well-written, informative pages are good for your visitors. Therefore, they deserve better ranking.  It’s a win-win. So, if your homepage is light on copywriting, then now is the time to expand on your content. How many words is enough?  At a minimum, 500 words per page (not just 50 words)!

  1. Outdated

Visitors are comparing your website to the best online experiences they have ever had. If your site hasn’t had a makeover in 5 years, then you risk turning people away. Keep it fresh.

  1. Pop-ups

Does anyone like pop-up messages? I just landed on your site and you’re trying to get me to subscribe to something? Pop-ups often have the unintended consequence of annoying the very people you are trying to impress.  On mobile phone, pop-ups are particularly irritating since they occupy so much of the screen, and can be difficult to disable. Unless you’ve got something super-important to say, then resist the urge to use pop-ups.

  1. Crappy Navigation

Hidden menus, mega-menus, redundant sidebars, multiple rows of navigation tabs. Poor navigation is my pet peeve.  This one is not as easily solvable as our other tips, but it is worth analyzing.  Approach the problem from the eyes of your customer.  What is important to them?  If you’re unsure, use Google Analytics as your compass to identify your most popular pages.

  1. Slow Loading

Well, I guess this is kind of the opposite of “Lightning-Fast Loading” from earlier.  But it is important enough to include again. A slow loading homepage could be the death knell for attracting new clients to your company. You’ve been warned (twice).
Irresistible Offer
Want a second opinion on your homepage?  Schedule a free 20-minute consultation with one of our marketing experts.  We’ll be pleased to give you our unvarnished opinion. Together let’s identify what is working well and what needs improving. Just contact us at [email protected].