12 Critical Elements Every Website Homepage Must Have

12 Critical Elements Every Website Homepage Must Have

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This page acts as your company’s virtual reception desk and welcomes visitors to your site. Still, despite their widespread use, many companies have difficulty optimising it to their advantage.

What I mean is that your homepage needs to serve multiple purposes. It shouldn’t be treated like a standalone landing page meant for a single purpose but rather as a platform to reach a wide variety of people from various backgrounds. And it needs to be constructed with intent to serve its intended function properly. To put it another way, you’ll want to include elements that draw attention, inform visitors, and encourage action.

See if your homepage has any of these features that are considered critical to its success.

What You Should Include in Your Website Homepage Design

1. Headline

A website has only three seconds to convey the company’s value proposition to visitors. Which is where your headline comes in. In spite of its brevity, this is arguably the most significant section of text on your website.

There are likely to be many different types of people checking out your website, so it will be challenging to find a small handful of words that will resonate with everyone. Rather, you should tailor your headline to appeal to the one-third of customers most likely to be satisfied with your offering.

The headline should be uncomplicated and straightforward. The tagline “Everything you need for work, all in one place” on Dropbox is a perfect illustration. There’s no need to decipher jargon to understand what Dropbox does; the interface is straightforward.

2. Sub-headline

A subheadline’s purpose is to provide a more in-depth explanation of your services or products than can fit in the headline alone. Targeting a specific problem that your product or service resolves is an effective strategy.

Hiding in plain sight is a fantastic subheadline from Mirror. It zeroes in on the mirror gym’s strongest selling point: Your own personal trainer, exercise programme, and fully-equipped home gym, all without giving up any floor space.

Use larger font sizes to improve the user experience of your mobile site’s headlines. If your site uses small fonts, mobile users may need to pinch and zoom in order to read and use the site. If we may offer some guidance… Make good use of your page editor’s heading features. Titles of web pages work best as H1 headings, and each page should have exactly one H1. Heading levels (H2, H3, H4, H5, H6, etc.) should be used in the prescribed hierarchy. Several of these headings are fine; just make sure they’re sequential. Changing from H1 to H3 isn’t a good idea; instead, try H2.

3. Primary Calls-to-Action

The goal of your homepage is to compel visitors to dig deeper into your website and move them down the funnel. Put at least two and preferably three clear calls to action (CTAs) above the fold to guide readers through the various phases of the purchasing process.

These calls to action (CTAs) need to stand out visually, preferably in a colour that contrasts with the rest of your homepage’s design without overwhelming it. Keep the copy brief — no more than five words — and action-oriented, so it compels visitors to click whatever you’re offering. Useful calls to action include “Sign up,” “Make an appointment,” and “Try it for free.”

Above the fold on Afterschool HQ’s website are two call-to-actions (CTAs) for programme directors who want to use the site to advertise their after-school activities to parents. The short note placed under the more involved call to action “Create Your Free Profile” encourages site visitors to sign up for an account, which is the first step in joining Afterschool HQ as a provider.

4. Supporting Image

Individuals learn best through observation. It’s important to include a picture (or even a short video) that describes your product or service in detail. If you want your readers to feel what you’re trying to convey in your writing, you need to include images that do just that.

Use high-quality, low-file-size images to make a positive impression on mobile users. (Those utilising HubSpot can rest easy; pictures saved in the service are automatically compressed. Otherwise, you can use TinyPNG or similar tools. You can improve your search engine optimization and make your site more accessible to users of screen readers by including alt text in all of your images.

Emotional imagery to the rescue on the 4 Rivers Smokehouse home page: The simple headline, subheading, and primary CTA are followed by a loop of short, high-definition, mouthwatering videos:

5. Benefits

Not only should you explain your work, but also why it’s significant. Customers are interested in the advantages of doing business with you because that is what will keep them around.

Make sure the content is brief, simple, and written in a way that will appeal to your target audience. Advantages are listed in an appealing, visually appealing, and straightforward manner on Evernote’s homepage:

6. Social Proof

To what extent others believe you is a strong indicator of their trustworthiness. You can confidently assert that your wares are the best in the world, but customers may need independent confirmation before they buy in. Social proof serves this purpose perfectly.

Feature a handful of your favourite (short) quotes on the homepage and provide links to relevant case studies. More weight is given to these testimonies when a name and picture are included. Lessonly does a great job of this by featuring positive reviews from actual customers on their homepage.

7. Navigation

It’s possible that the layout and information provided in your homepage’s menus will either convince visitors to stay on your site or cause them to leave. If you want a lower bounce rate, make it easy for visitors to find the information they need on your homepage itself. Provide a prominent location for the menu bar and arrange the site’s various links in a logical hierarchy.

The people who helped design your website are the best judges of whether or not it’s easy for visitors to find the information they need. You should add a search bar if possible.

8. Content Offer

In order to attract more potential customers, it is a good idea to promote a high-quality content offer on your homepage. This could be in the form of a white paper, ebook, or guide. People who aren’t quite ready to buy might be more likely to take advantage of a downloadable offer if it provides them with more information on a subject they’re curious about. Here are a wide variety of content models to draw upon if you’re at a loss for ideas.

9. Secondary Calls-to-Action

Put secondary calls to action on your homepage so that visitors who aren’t interested in your primary goal can still convert. You can compare them to a backup plan: They provide an alternative route for site visitors who may not be ready for what you are requesting.

Secondary calls to action (CTAs) can be placed below the fold to give visitors more options as they scroll down the page, but primary CTAs should always be displayed above the fold. If you look at the Spanx homepage, for instance, you’ll notice that there are three CTAs labelled in a clear manner that provide users who have scrolled down the page with additional options to click on. There are two supplementary calls to action here: one on the far left offering a discount of $20, and another that reads “shop now” and leads the user to the store’s online selection.

10. Features

Include a list of your most distinguishing characteristics along with your benefits. People will have a better grasp of what your products and services offer after reading this. Again, remember to keep the writing breezy and simple. Dropbox, for instance, flaunts a features matrix for Dropbox for Business just below the fold on their home page.

11. Resources

Again, the vast majority of site visitors are not ready to buy… just yet. Provide a link to a resource centre where interested parties can peruse additional material. This not only encourages them to stick around on your site for longer, but it also bolsters your status as an authority in the field.

Underneath the fold, Lovesac includes a link to the site’s resources. The secondary calls to action include a credit card link to make it easy for customers to purchase their furniture, a fabric swatch guide for those who want to make sure they get the right colour, and an online catalogue for those who are interested in new furniture but aren’t quite ready to make a purchase.

12. Success Indicators

Awards and recognition, like customer success stories, can motivate a positive first impression. Are you known as a highly regarded eatery in the industry? Have you been named one of the year’s most popular programmes? Share your successes with the people who visit your homepage. Just like social proof, it will increase the likelihood of new customers choosing your company.

The names of notable organisations, such as Gartner and Dropbox, that have recognised Calendly can be found on the company’s homepage.

A Homepage Worth Visiting

Every customer’s first impression of your company will be gleaned from your homepage. Your potential customers will research your homepage to learn more about your products and services before deciding whether or not to buy from you.

Implementing the aforementioned features into your homepage will greatly improve your site’s first impression. Download the free lookbook below to get more ideas and see some truly stunning examples of homepages.

This post was updated for newness, accuracy, and completeness after its initial publication in January 2012.

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