With only 3-5 seconds to capture your website visitor’s attention, your company’s home page is one of your most important pieces of brand real estate.
If you’re a business owner (or marketer), knowing the secrets to effective home page design is critical to success in the realm of inbound marketing. In this article, I’ll give you the recipe that will help you design a better home page that will decrease your bounce rates, improve customer conversions and improve your brand’s digital impression.
To begin, there are 5 overarching secrets to building a better home page.
1. Cognitive fluency
Cognitive fluency is simply a measure of how easy it is to think about something, and it turns out that people prefer things that are easy to think about to those that are hard.
Google researchers found that users judge a website as “beautiful” within 1/50th – 1/20th of a second. “Visually complex” websites are consistently rated as “less than beautiful” as their simpler counterparts.
Let me an illustrate an example. Have you ever gone on a blind date?
As soon as you open the door — you’re able to within 1/50th of a second determine if the person standing before you is attractive or not.
Websites work a lot like a blind date. You punch in a keyword not knowing what to expect until the page loads—and when the page finally loads—you either bounce away in horror or you pleasantly choose to stay—gazing at the beautiful layout in front of you.
When designing your home page, simple = beautiful.
2. Simple navigation
Simple navigation keeps the home page clean and gets your visitor to where they want to go quickly. Try to keep your navigation to an absolute minimum. Design your website’s architecture in a way that doesn’t detract from your overall goal. Notice the examples in this article. The examples shown have 3-5 navigation topics max.
3. Relevant color scheme
Keep your colors appropriate and in context to your industry. Do you need a dark color palette to convey luxury—or a more lighthearted palette to show approachability? Know what colors are used in your industry for maximum appeal. Find out more about your buyer persona to get an understanding of what will resonate with your target audience.
4. Streamlined next steps
What do you want your customer to do when they are on your website? Download an ebook? Contact you? Map out what you want them to do next. Don’t leave your visitor hanging. Think for them and move them through the buyer awareness stage using strong call to actions (CTA’s).
Now that you know the 5 overarching factors for a successful home page design, now you need to know the 5 elements and how they are implemented.
Your logo design serves as the anchor point for your website and communicates your company’s credibility and trust. Eye patterns start from top left and go down toward the right. An interesting and professional logo makes a great first impression.
6. Main image = main message
Next is your main image with the main idea that you want to communicate. Your message should be short and succinct. Be clear, not clever. Your imagery should position your brand accordingly and be tied to your main message. The image should be creative and eye catching. This is your chance to “stick” your visitor to your site. If someone hits your site and immediately bounces off, it’s because your message was not clear and they found your site unexciting or irrelevant.
7. Service offerings
Scrolling down—you should now tell your visitors what you offer and how you can help them. Make sure the text is written for them. By accurately defining your buyer persona, you’ll be able to talk their language in a way that grabs their attention and presents the impression that you understand them. This works in your favor to convince them you’re the company for the job.
8. Why work with you?
Next, you want to present the reasons why someone would want to work with you. These should be the top 3-4 things that separate you from your competitors and distinguish your brand. Make the reasons compelling enough and link to the areas of your website for more information and to track engagement.
9. Social proof
People tend to follow people. By showing social proof that people like you on Facebook or follow you on Twitter can lend real validity to your above claims. If possible, showcase real customer testimonials with faces. This is the icing on the cake for presenting a credible narrative by showing others who you’ve helped.
10. Load time & responsiveness
- If your site loads in 5 seconds it is faster than approximately 25% of the web
- If your site loads in 2.9 seconds it is faster than approximately 50% of the web
- If your site loads in 1.7 seconds it is faster than approximately 75% of the web
- If your site loads in 0.8 seconds it is faster than approximately 94% of the web
See how your website stacks up at: Pingdom
In conclusion, knowing the secrets for better home page design will ensure lower bounce rates and attention grabbing messaging you need to move your customer further down your sales funnel for customer conversion. These factors when taken into account will turn your website into a revenue generating machine.
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By Josh Claflin, Brand Development, Inbound Marketing & Creative Strategy
Josh helps brands who are struggling to develop their brand; grow, stabilize or increase profits through their websites; increase revenue through online channels and enter the digital era of marketing.