The homepage for a website is akin to the front porch of a home; it’s the first thing a visitor sees and often leaves a lasting impression. As a website owner or designer, is your homepage designed the way it should be? There are a few elements it needs – and you don’t want to forget any of them.
First Impressions Matter
According to research conducted by Google, website visitors typically form opinions within 50 milliseconds of accessing a page. In some cases, opinions may even develop within the first 17 milliseconds. That’s literally a fraction of a second, which may be intimidating as a web designer or business owner. However, rather than let that scare you, use it as motivation to make your homepage as good as it can be.
Key Elements of Successful Homepages
In most instances, a successful homepage masters each of the following elements:
- Simple layout. As a designer, you’re often your own worst enemy. You read about all these incredible designs, mess around with new techniques, and want to show off your skillset. However, the truth of the matter is that a simple layout is most effective. Internet users don’t want to be inundated with lots of windows, buttons, tabs, and icons. They’re looking for a more sleek and refined look.
- Compelling visuals. Don’t confuse simple for bland, though. While the layout should be neat, you want to include compelling visuals to attract attention. According to Lane’s Landscaping Supplies, a landscape supply store, website visuals are incredibly important, no matter the industry. They suggest that you use a high quality image at the top of the homepage and also incorporate smaller thumbnail images beneath each category page. Also, instead of using cold, impersonal stock photos, invest in some quality photography that resonates with the target audience and clearly identifies the brand.
- Quality content. While images sparkle and attract the initial focus of website visitors, it’s the content that keeps them around and pushes them through the conversion funnel. A homepage is only as good as its content and you don’t want to take any shortcuts here. As a designer, it’s always good to link up with a good freelance writer so that you can provide your clients with a good all-around service.
- Clear value proposition. Does the homepage have a clear value proposition that explains to visitors what the company does and why what they’re offering is of value? Set the tone early by finding a way to incorporate the client’s value proposition near the top of the page.
- Consistent text and colors. Consistency is the name of the game. You should work closely with your client to develop a specific font and color palette that will be used throughout the site. The homepage will act as the introduction and there can’t be any conflicts. It’s also important to avoid using too many colors. Most experts suggest having between three and five related colors – with only one or two being bold.
Design a Killer Homepage
By keeping these elements in mind and focusing on engaging users with quality content, a simple layout, and compelling design, you can ensure your clients’ websites convert higher than their competition.