Don’t toss out any clichéd first impression advice when considering your small business’ website. That page visitors land on? The one you directed them to, via business cards or flyers or word-of-mouth? It’s the first impression, and you definitely don’t get a second chance with it.
The homepage might be the sole link for your website, or the starting point for multiple links, pages, and media plug-ins. No matter. The homepage has equal importance for web projects of all sizes, because the impression it makes determines whether the viewer will continue to engage with the content, or move on to something else.
Securing the visitors’ interest in your business or organization involves careful planning of the layout, design, and content of your website’s homepage. Here’s a few essentials for creating a homepage that will keep your new visitors intrigued:
If you can summarize your services in one sentence, you are already on the way to presenting your business effectively online. The homepage must answer the question “ What is this site about?” Centralize this information on the page, make it concise and up-to-date, and thus ensure the visitor that they have come to the right place.
2. Contact information
We say it so much we ought to have it engraved on a plaque: The Yellow Pages is becoming obsolete. So when a poodle owner searches Google for “kelowna pet grooming” and quickly taps on your link from the first page, the important information for this visitor must be immediately visible. The poodle owner needs a phone number or email address that will connect him with the business in order to make an appointment. He’s not there to peruse puppy shampoos. So whether presenting visitors with a big, bright, obvious “Contact Us” button, or laying the information out on the homepage itself, make sure you keep it clear. Your website is your classified listing.
3. Design fluidity
A business with company logos, colours, or images must utilize these elements on their homepage (and throughout the site). It assures visitors who are already familiar with the company that they’ve hit the correct address, and it informs potential clients of the business’ uniformity and professionalism. And for businesses planning a fresh, new branding scheme? Exciting! Just maintain consistency throughout, starting with the homepage. Colour variances from page to page should correspond with the specific branding. Dramatically straying from company branding can make visitors apprehensive of the site’s legitimacy.
4. Calls to action
Keep your visitor weaving through the information with bold calls to action on the homepage. These messages should encourage visitors to complete your business goals. With the pet grooming service, the homepage should excite the visitor at the prospect of booking an appointment for their pet, or purchasing some grooming products. Try “Click Here for a Coupon Printout” or “Call Now!” These calls to action can invite visitors to “Learn More” and send them exploring other pages within the site.
The homepage is the first date. It’s a fleeting chance to highlight all the hard work you’ve invested in your business. Make it count.