There is a reason homepage design is a large part of the cost of having a website created. Simply, because it’s beyond important!
Have you ever heard the term ‘above the fold’? It’s an idea that began with newspaper printing. Frankly put, it’s used to identify the biggest story that a newspaper would print on the front page. Picture the day after the Titanic sank, that story was above the fold because that was the biggest story that every newspaper was in a hurry to print!
Did you know that your website works the same way? But instead of the biggest story being above the literal fold of the paper, your main point should be seen on your website before anyone needs to scroll down.
Your main point should be the first thing potential customers see before they even scroll down!
Why website design is important
Website and homepage design are important because your website is your business’s digital home. It’s where you invite potential and returning customers and clients to come see what you’re about. Your website is the business equivalent to bringing a date to your house for the first time. It’s you showing that person around so they can see what you’re all about because you’re trying to get that second date!
The ‘job’ of any website is to assist you in growing your business. To allow customers to look around and hopefully notice that you are amazing at what you do! That they would be a fool not to hire you or buy your product!
I’ve yet to meet a business owner that went into business without the goal of selling something or being successful.
What comes ‘after’ the fold?
This is what I tell my clients…every section in your homepage design should follow one of two designs:
- Each section and/or point should be providing additional validation to your service or product. If you own a salon your homepage design should be devoted to proving how talented your staff is and consistently be providing opportunities for visitors to book an appointment. If you sell clothes, then your homepage design should be showing site visitors how amazing your brand is and how awesome they are going to feel in your clothes.
- If you sell multiple different services you should acknowledge each one in your homepage design, by order of importance. So, if you sell insurance and offer multiple types you would probably start with insurance as a whole, then highlight different types of insurance as you move down the page. Keeping in mind that most website visitors don’t usually make it down to the bottom of the page, you would want to highlight your largest profit products, or what you are best known for first.
How long do you have to grab someone’s attention?
There are several reasons why people leave websites quickly, but did you know that you only have about 15 seconds to capture someone’s attention before they leave your website? Probably not! Even though I’m sure you’ve been guilty of doing the same thing in the past.
While some of this behavior is due to slow website load speed (how long it takes for your website to show up on a screen) or excessive things like ads and popups, we aren’t going to discuss that today.
Most of this behavior comes from living in a Google world. We have such an abundance of information at our fingertips, that we need to be quick when we are looking for something. Nobody has the time to read 15 minutes of website content before they decide if it’s what they are looking for. So just like in the real world, we make snap judgments about a business based on what we see within the first 15 seconds.
This is why your homepage design needs to get right to the point! Potential clients and customers need to immediately recognize something in your business that makes them want to stick around and dig a little deeper.
How to master homepage design
One of the first things I talk with potential website design clients about is their brand. This goes beyond colors and a logo, it’s about what they want customers to experience with them. Because as a website designer, one of my jobs is to help them visually create that experience.
Are they a travel company that specializes in outdoor adventures? Then using bright neon colors and words that make it sound like a rave from the ’90s isn’t going to get them much business. Frankly, it’s just going to confuse people! So we would use a combination of earth tones, rustic images, and content to describe what adventures await those potential customers.
The next big piece is figuring out what the intention of your homepage design is. Do you want potential clients to schedule a consultation with you? Then you need to make it easy for them to do that. Do you want to sell your book? Then the cover should be the first thing they see because they need to know they’re in the right place!
Like I said before if you have a variety of services or products, you need to break down which of them you want your website visitors to purchase first. Any successful service-based business will tell you that you can sell all of your products to one person, but you can’t do it at the same time. Focus on the first thing, treat them right, build trust and make it easy for them to come back to you for all of your other services at a later date!
This is what’s known as brand loyalty, and in business it’s EVERYTHING! Just ask Apple.
What should you do about your homepage design?
The first thing I would tell you to do is take a hard long look at your homepage design. If you can’t be subjective, then find a brutally honest friend and ask them to give you their opinion. What stuck with them? What didn’t make sense? What were they impressed by? The more people you can get to help you with this, the better. Take notes about what they tell you and decide what you want to do about it.
Did everyone tell you the same negative thing? Then we might have just identified a potential problem that could be costing your business money. So now what?
Well, you have three options:
- Decide not to do anything and continue to lose money each year.
- Decide to tackle it yourself, which (unless you built your website) will probably save you money initially, but in the long run, it could cost you in time…and profit.
- Hire a professional to get the job done right the first time.
Think of hiring a professional as adding an IT person to your business team…and one that you don’t have to pay a salary to! We are here to help you grow your business, we understand the importance of homepage design, and we love this stuff!