10 Key Features of a Killer Homepage
Your website’s homepage is of course, the most important page on your website. Since it’s such an important part of any business’ online presence, a lot of people feel overwhelmed when it comes to figuring out what exactly they should have on it.
It’s easy to feel pressured to include everything on your homepage, worried that if you don’t, your visitors will miss tons of important stuff - which means fewer leads, less money, and less clients coming your way, right?
Let me put your worries to rest. :)
Your homepage should be the starting point for your visitors. It’s the place where you begin to build the relationship and providing valuable information to them. It’s not the place where you meet, shake hands, strike a deal and get paid all in one.
You want to guide your visitors on a journey that only begins at the homepage. Ignite intrigue by providing juuusstt enough to get people excited and wanting to keep reading and exploring through the rest of your site.
Use these 10 key features to create a killer homepage that’s focused on getting visitors to connect with your content, engage, and take action.
Your website’s homepage should have an image, banner, headline, or some combination of these to make it ridiculously clear what you do or what your site is about.
I say ‘ridiculously clear’ because I see people making the same huge mistake again and again with their homepage headlines: trying to be cute and clever, getting fancy-dancy with their words.
Don’t do it!
You’ve only got a couple seconds to grab people’s attention when they land on your homepage. Since you’ve only got those few precious moments, you don’t want to make people think too hard to understand your wordy, takes-a-second-to-get-it headline.
You might be thinking, “Is it really that bad if it takes them a second to read it and understand it?”
Yes. Because now you’ve only got 1 second left to seal the deal before they hit the back button.
And even if you get lucky and a visitor stays that extra second, that clever headline usually ends up being so ambiguous that the true message behind it gets lost. Even though you might get what it means, would someone else?
I’ve written about this more in-depth in a previous post about making small tweaks to your website, but I see a lot of creatives and coaches make this mistake frequently.
Phrases like, “Empowering Women to Manifest Their Inner Warrior.”
Are you helping women get pregnant? I’m confused.
Nope! You’re a coach that helps women get through things like death, divorce, etc., why not just say, “Helping Women Find Strength and Happiness Through Tough Times.”
Or “Divorce Sucks. Let Me Help You Through it.” Whether you like those or not, they both do two things well:
1. Make it ridiculously clear what they do and how they help people, no guessing needed.
2. Resonate with the person reading it on an emotional level.
2. Supporting Subheadline
Underneath your main banner and headline, add a sub-headline and supporting text to go more in depth. But instead of listing out your offers/services, focus on the pain points and emotional hot-buttons your audience is currently experiencing.
You want to get hyper-focused on them, and put yourself in their shoes. Think about what their current situation looks like, and paint a picture in your mind.
What are they struggling with? What are their big frustrations or things they want to move away from?
After covering their pain points, you can follow up by showing them how you can help them. What's in it for them? What will they get from your website?
Then think about what they want to ultimately have. What are they coming to your website for? What solution do they really want and need from you? You want your visitors to feel like you just “get” them. This creates an emotional connection with your audience, which is a great way to quickly build likability and trust, pulling them into your content.
The best homepages get straight to the point telling their visitors that they’re in the right place and how they can be helped.
3. Type Like You Talk
When we write (or type) it's so easy to start sounding super formal and business-y. Don't worry - we all do it. The problem is that it hides our personality, which is how people connect with us, even on a business level. Your business should have a 'personality' too!
So when it comes to the copy, or text, and content you create on your site, remember to write how you talk! I like to talk out loud when writing anything in my business, and I think it actually makes me a better writer! It helps me to organize my thoughts, be more concise with my points, and sound like myself. People start to feel like they know me through my words even though we've never met, allowing me build that personal connection with my audience on a larger level.
Another way to do this is to use contractions! It sounds so simple, but reading over your writing out loud will probably make you laugh at how uptight you sound! Instead of saying, 'Would you like to know how to get more clients? Do not miss this!", you could say, "Want to get more clients? Don't miss this!" Adding contractions and writing like you're having a real conversation will resonate so much more with the person reading it.
4. Nail Down Your Navigation
You might be wondering why navigation is on this list - doesn't that apply to the entire site, not just the homepage?
But, we want give people a bird's eye view of your website from the start.
Think of it kind of like coming to a fork in the road; if one direction is covered in trees so you can't see a clear path ahead, and the other is open as far as the eye can see, which one are you going to take?
People want to know what they can expect going forward, so your navigation is one way people can get a glimpse into your site before diving in.
I recommend having about 4 pages in your navigation. Don't try to cram everything up there, and simply include pages that provide opportunities for either engagement or conversion. In reality, all your pages should have both, but if you're not there yet, no worries.
A great start can be:
2. Work with Me/Programs/Services
5. Interesting Images
Your homepage should have images and/or graphics that represent you and/or your business. Websites and blogs that have too much text can feel overwhelming to visitors, giving them too much to sift through, so including images are a great way to break up the content and keep them engaged.
Think about the way you want people to feel when they come to your site, and choose images that reflect those feelings.
What tone does your website have?
What's the 'personality' of your business?
I recommend avoiding cheesy and generic stock photos and instead use some free options like Unsplash, Death to Stock Photo, and Pexels. Creative Market is a one-stop-shop that sells everything you could need for your site, if you're ready to really up your game!
Should You Have a Photo of Yourself?
I get this question a lot. Like, a lot a lot. And my answer is always the same: YES.
No matter what you do, people want to do business with people. Even if you’re not the ‘face of your business/brand, people love to see who is behind the scenes, which can deepen the likability and trust factors we talked about earlier.
And if you're a business with employees, include some photos of your team members or some shots of them behind the scenes. This will help humanize your company, and give your audience some insight into the inner workings of the business.
6. Capture Leads with Calls to Action
A great way to get visitors to take action is to offer an opt-in incentive, or freebie. You’ve probably seen these all over the web, and you’ve most likely ‘opted-in’ to receive something like a checklist, workbook, download, etc.
If you go this route, you’ll need to make it valuable enough and irresistible in order for people to give you their email address in exchange. It can can be anything from a checklist, ebook, guide, to an audio recording or training. Again, be sure that it’s not only something people want, but that you’re really delivering some awesome stuff. You don’t want to just throw something together for the sake of having something up on your site and get people’s emails.
See, this is a great opportunity to stand out in your industry, so I want you to take it seriously.
So many people put up crap opt-in offers on their homepage. They make it sound and look really great, but when it lands in your inbox, it’s crap. It’s pure fluff.
So don’t be fluffy.
If you go above and beyond with your freebie, you’ll make a lasting impression on the people who opt-in for it. They’re more likely to share it with other people who could use it and become potential clients for you too. Not only this, but when you make your free stuff better than what other people charge for, your audience will be chomping at the bit for your paid stuff.
If you don’t go the opt-in/freebie route, be sure that you have a clear call-to-action on your homepage that tells people exactly what they should do. Do you want them to look at your products? Services? Blog? Whatever it is you want them to do, make it clear and guide them along!
7. Show Off Your Stats
Don't be afraid to show off a bit!
Adding client testimonials and reviews will help establish authority and credibility for your services. Putting testimonials or reviews on your homepage is an easy way for people to get to know more about what you do, and see actual results from people just like them.
If you don't have testimonials or reviews yet, you can add a section about what results you've been able to get for your clients. Case studies with numbers and actual statistics are useful, as well as before and after photos, and examples of your work in portfolios or galleries.
One of my favorite ways to do this for my clients is with Canva. I can create a graphic that includes text from a testimonial and include a photo of them next to it, along with any of my client’s branding elements and colors. This just adds some awesome, eye-catching elements that are cohesive with the rest of the site.
Want to see how I do it? Here’s a video tutorial on how to use Canva.
8. Show Off Your Stuff
Now that visitors have seen who you are, what you do, and how you help people, be sure to add in your offerings, products, and services features to your homepage. I suggest keeping this section simple, and to avoid lengthy descriptions or too much text in these areas.
The goal is to get the visitor to click to learn more about that product or service and be taken away from the homepage and to another that goes into more detail on what it's all about, the features, pricing, etc.
Trying to fit a bunch of information for your services on the homepage doesn't leave room for further exploration, and instead allows people to make a decision on-the-spot about. Heck, someone might think they're not right for a program or service based on that decision. But if they had clicked over to the program page because they were intrigued, they would have seen they were a perfect fit.
That’s why it’s important to keep people moving and wanting to explore your website even past the homepage.
9. Contact & Connect
I know this may be obvious, but sometimes we have so much on our plate we can skip over the most basic things! Be sure to add contact information on your homepage where people can easily find it.
Usually people look at the top of a page or at the very bottom, so place it wherever feels best for your business. Make it as easy as possible for people to get in touch by putting a ready-to-fill form, a chat box, or message on your homepage.
10. Mention Social Media
Add in social media links and ways your visitors can connect with you outside of your website. We all know social media is an awesome way to build connection with your audience and build a big following, so it needs a place on your website.
However I will say that I titled this section, "Mention Social Media" because I believe it doesn't deserve a giant spot on your homepage.
Because it drives people away from your website, and into the endless abyss of social media. The chances of someone going into Facebook just to like your page and coming back out to your website are just short of impossible. I like to mention social media at the bottom of my homepage or at the end of posts.
Sidebars can be ok as well, but putting social link icons instead of scrolling feeds is probably a better idea to avoid distracting visitors from your homepage.
* Please note that this post contains affiliate links which means if you click on the link and sign up I'll receive a percentage of the purchase. But don't worry, I wouldn't steer you wrong. I only recommend things I fully support & use myself, and know you'll love too.
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About the Author: Katie Brimmer
Hey! I'm Katie. I help service-based business owners just like you create stunning websites & smart marketing strategies designed to help you stand out online so you can start turning visitors into paying clients and take your business to the next level.
Got any questions about your homepage?
Shoot me a message down below!