First let’s look at what your website is really here to do.
A professional website has to do with knowing what sets you apart from the crowd, addressing your dream clients’ hopes and desires in your messaging and having a strategic marketing strategy in place to attract the right people and inspire them to take action.
This all starts with your homepage.
As a small business owner, your website is an important marketing tool. I’ll go as far as saying your best marketing tool. Your website should be designed to grab people’s attention and invite them to start a “customer journey”. The goal of your homepage (and your website in general) is not to “get the sale”. It’s just not going to happen that way.
Most of your website visitors won’t take longer than a few seconds to know if they are in the right place and want to stick around, so making a clear impression right away is going to make a huge difference.
So what do you put on your homepage?
To begin, at the top of your page, you need a title and tagline (see below) that states a clear value proposition. This lets your visitors know the value solution being presented on the website, and most importantly, why they should continue.
They should be able to know right away:
✔ Why does this website exist?
✔ What can I do on this website?
✔ Am I the ideal client for this website?
✔ Why should I buy from you?
5 Features You Need On Your Homepage
1. A picture of you
One of the best ways you can connect with your visitors is by adding a picture of yourself on your homepage. That’s how they will get to know the face behind the business. It’s a little marketing trick that draws people in so they can feel like they know you.
Once your visitors see you and can look you in the eye, you begin building trust. Your picture should sit with a bit of copy so it’s not just floating around on your homepage without any purpose. Usually this is a little bit about you and how you can help your ideal client. Your image can be at the top of your homepage, or it can be a bit farther down the page. There is no right or wrong way to go about it, it’s what works for you, but it does have to be there.
2. A tagline
Some websites are designed to include a tagline near the logo, so it appears on every page. If your website isn’t designed that way, you definitely need to add a tagline.
Think of your tagline as your slogan. It explains what you do in a few words or a short sentence. You also want to identify who you serve if you’re targeting a specific type of customer. Keep it simple. Describe what you do, who you serve and how you do it.
3. An email sign-up form
For the purposes of online marketing, the most important thing your website can do is grow your email list. You want to stay in touch with people who visit your website and build relationships through your emails so you can market directly to them later on.
Promoting your email opt-in on your homepage is the very least you can do. Here are a few other suggestions for leveraging your email list.
Your email sign-up form should be obvious to find. Don’t be shy about including it on your homepage. You want to place it near the top of your homepage, which means it should be seen before someone ever needs to scroll too far.
“Above the fold” isn’t as important as it used to be because so many of us are used to scrolling, especially on our mobile devices. There isn’t much that fits “above the fold” when you are viewing websites on a smaller device, so, just keep that freebie towards the top and you’ll be good.
When I’m building a website for one of my clients, I’ll often use a banner that runs across the screen. You can combine your email sign-up form in that top area with one of the accent colors in your branding palette, or again, it can be slightly below.
You may be wondering if a pop-up can replace an actual sign-up form on your homepage. The answer is NO. Absolutely 100% no.
If someone closes that pop-up, you don’t want to lose an opportunity to get them to sign up in the future. There’s value to having a pop-up promotion on your website, but there is also strong reasoning not to. It can be annoying for sure. If you are not aware of how your pop-up looks to visitors and how it makes them feel, they will run from your website faster than Forest Gump!
What is with the pop-up anyway?
Neil Patel says, “Most visitors decide whether to subscribe or not after reading your content. By triggering a pop-up as soon as they reach the bottom of your content, you will be asking them to make the decision right away. Thus, it converts well; and sometimes it converts users who were unwilling to subscribe at the beginning.”
4. A mini or modified version of a sales page
At this point, your homepage has all of the necessary features for a strategic layout, but your visitors need to see a little bit more once they scroll down a bit.
In this area of your home page, you can add some copy that dives a little deeper into what your business has to offer. This is where you can position yourself as an expert in your niche.
This section of your homepage is where you can let your brand’s personality really shine. Use this space to show off your brand’s voice. Speak directly to your ideal client here.
You don’t need to write tons of copy here; just enough to keep visitors scrolling a bit more.
Not sure what to talk about? Here are some suggestions:
- Show your potential client that you understand their needs and what they’re looking for
- Description of how you can help
- Point out your signature services or products
5. A call to action
Having a call to action invites your visitors to do more than just read your website and then leave altogether. The action you want them to take depends on the type of business you have.
A typical call to action is usually designed as a button, with a distinct color (one that pops on the page) that sends your visitor to another part of your website. Here are some examples of CTA buttons you can include:
- Learn More About Your Services
- Book a Consultation
- Watch Your YouTube Channel
- View Your Portfolio
- Read Your Featured Blog Posts
Be careful not to include too many calls to action. When you give your visitors too many choices, they may get overwhelmed and abandon your site.
At the very least, your call to action could be inviting your visitors to sign up for your mailing list. If your homepage has enough content to keep your visitors scrolling for a few swipes, you could certainly add another email opt-in above your footer.
When your homepage delivers a clear message about your business and how it can serve your target audience, it’s already on its way to supporting your marketing goals.
When you add an email opt-in and a call to action for visitors to do something else on your site, you’re making the most out of your homepage. That is what you want, right? To make the most out of your homepage… and your entire website?
Using these 5 features you need to have on your homepage as a guide will amp up your DIY efforts!