How Does Creating The Best Homepage For Your Business Website Help?

By February 17, 2015blog, Web Design

How Does Creating The Best Homepage For Your Business Website Help?

Needing an online counterpart for your business is a plus especially if you wanted to keep in touch with the virtual community. Any web design company in the Philippines or around the world knows this. In fact, there are loads of reasons why you should start creating a website for your business venture. Let’s just say you have already put up one but you have observed that there’s less traffic coming in. You might be asking yourself, “What went wrong?”

Here’s the thing—attracting traffic is just half of the problem. To complete the equation, you need to keep the engagement of your visitors high in order to reach for what you are aiming for your website. There are a lot of things to consider too—and one of the things to look into is your website’s homepage.

Why should it be your best homepage?

It’s the first thing they see when they visit your website. Homepages are like doors to your house. Oftentimes they will be judged because of how it looks or how it is presented to you. Just like doors, your website homepage is the entry to wonders of what is inside.

Site visitors nowadays often prefer websites that are not cluttered and are direct-to-the-point and wants to immediately see what good they can benefit from your site. One of the best tactics to live up to this by thinking like a website visitor yourself.

How does thinking like a website visitor help?

If you put yourself in your site visitor’s situation, knowing the stuff that one wants to see is a big plus. Lucky you if the visitor already know about you and was referred to your website, making the homepage design much less critical. For what I know, these visitors already have an impression about you. Even if sometimes it is painful for them to do so in making an effort to engage with you via your website, you have to focus on another group. And those are your firs-time visitors.

What about first time visitors?

Imagine you are touring a group of people in your home. First of all, you would keep in mind the good things they should see (or what you wanted them to see) for them to be impressed, or at least, be delighted. Of course, you have already done the appropriate measures to be done and that is beautifying your place.

That is the same principle you should apply in creating a homepage for your business website.

As first-time visitors, they could always arrive from anywhere and there are chances that they don’t know you. Well, they might have heard or read about you but aren’t really dwelling into the stuff you are into, not until they have seen your website (in some cases). Questions about who you are, what you offer, what you don’t offer and if you are trustworthy enough to be of service for them will arise and it is important for you to answer these questions immediately! Why? Because not everyone is prepare to spend more than 5 seconds of his or her time on your site. And that’s a fact.

And you know what effectively engages first-time visitors? BEST HOMEPAGES! For a newbie site visitor, here are some thought processes he or she does, in sequence:

  1. First Impression
  2. Proposition
  3. Trust
  4. Action

Always keep in mind that every new visitor will always follow these steps. Well, let’s always assume that they do because that might also be something you yourself will think of if you are in their shoes.

Now, what happens when these thought processes are in the minds of your visitors? You see, everything has a domino effect. Your good proposition won’t matter if you have an awful first impression. It won’t matter how trustworthy you are if your proposition is not clear enough. And it won’t matter if your next steps are if you have not provided reasons for your visitors to trust you.

Following these steps will essentially give you an idea of how things would go in the minds of your readers and visitors. If your homepage fails at either each step, then they will never take the action you want them to.

  1. First Impression

You might have been in an interview. And of course, you would always want to pose a good impression on your soon-to-be employer. So you would want to look confident, good enough (or maybe excellent enough) and allow the company to think of you as someone who is useful to them. First impressions matter; and this should be your outlook towards your homepage in presenting yourself to your soon-to-be clients.

Screen Shot 2015-02-17 at 10.35.25 AMA sample homepage of a web design company in the Philippines

Studies show that website visitors normally form an initial emotional reaction to what they see in just 1/20th of a second. Look how fast that may seem to be!

Website visitors don’t normally read anything during this short time. That would be kind of impossible. However, their reaction would base on the visuals they see.

The initial emotional experience is about meeting visitor expectations: 

  • Does it look professional if they were to expect a service site?
  • Does it look fun if they were to expect an entertainment site?
  • Does it look like a catalog if they were to expect a product site?
  • Does it look like a collection of posts if they were to expect a blog site?

It’s also about demonstrating the best practices for web visitors: 

  • Does your page immediately load its contents?
  • Are the color schemes consistent and comfortable to the eyes?
  • Are your fonts readable and consistent?
  • Are your logo, navigation bar, page content and links in their expected places?

Entirely, it’s not necessary to create a very fantastic first impression but of course, your effort is duly appreciated. What is most important is that your ideal customers won’t repel by creating an unpleasant or unexpected experience.

Providing a coherent experience free of negative surprises is what a best homepage is about.

Reminder: Never give your visitors an emotional reason to leave before they read even one word on your page.

  1. Proposition

That was a good one! And what you did was a commendable one! Your first impression was OK, and you have achieved by having 5 more seconds of your visitor’s attention. What are you going to do with that precious time?

Here is where you insert your proposition. And it has to be swift and clear.

Screen Shot 2015-02-17 at 11.08.22 AMA screenshot of a sample homepage

An effective proposition answers these critical questions:

  1. What can I do here?
  2. How is it special?
  3. Is it for me?

Simple right? Yet you have to clear their minds by answering these questions with a combination of images and brief text. By using well-selected images, you can convey ideas more quickly. The text must also be kept very brief and scannable because remember, the visitor hasn’t yet committed to spending the time required to actually read anything.

Your visitors will likely to leave if you fail to immediately and clearly answer these 3 critical questions. They have the Internet which provides unlimited choices and every visitor knows that if your site does not meet their needs, they would probably find another one that does.

Convincing a visitor to stop looking is what makes a best homepage. It should make them say, “Wow, I get it! This is perfect and is exactly what I was looking for!”

Reminder: Immediately convey your most compelling proposition.

  1. Trust

After achieving steps 1 and 2, your visitors will likely look for reason to trust you, which can be conscious or subconscious on their part.

And if they really like your proposition, they would want to find reasons to trust. And it is your next task to make it easy for them.

Trust is important. Trust can be conveyed in many ways. And by this, you have already earned some of your visitor’s trust by making a good impression and proposition. Professional endorsements and social proof are generally what comprises an additional trust for your visitors, making the latter a more important factor for many businesses.

Professional endorsements include:

  • Professional degrees
  • Certifications
  • Industry awards
  • Press

Social proof includes:

  • Testimonials
  • Case Studies
  • Client logos
  • Social media share counts
  • Other numerical customer claims

Both will help a lot in the “trust” category but it will depend on your business type. But in most cases, testimonials and case studies are very much valuable and should always be proudly features on your homepage. It is something that you can always brag about and have your visitors see what you really can do. Including pictures and names will also make them more believable.

Screen Shot 2015-02-17 at 10.36.50 AMA section of the portfolio from a web design company’s webpage

Giving your visitor clear reasons to trust what you promise in your proposition is what make a best homepage.

Reminder: Compelling trust-building page elements will substantiate your proposition claims. 

  1. Action

You’re almost there! Now that we’ve effectively fulfilled your visitor’s needs, it is now his turn to fulfill your needs. With this, it would mean he would now be ready and willingly engage further with your site. What do you want him to do?

A call-to-action.

Next actions that can be benefit both you and your visitor include: 

  • Click-throughs that would begin a flow (or a virtual assistant) that promises helpful/needed/fun personalized experience
  • Click-throughs that would navigate to another page that answers further questions or provides more details about how you address their needs
  • Giving them an access to a helpful download in exchange for their e-mail address submissions
  • Letting them subscribe to your social media page such as Facebook or Twitter
  • Submitting a form to request further engagement
  • Making a purchase

Decide on what actions you want your ideal customers to take after landing on your homepage. A single action is best. Next best is a single emphasized action with additional de-emphasized actions.

Screen Shot 2015-02-17 at 10.37.01 AM

A call-to-action section from a sample homepage

You might be wondering why a singular action focus is important? It is because choices often lead hesitation and confusion, which may lead to clicking the dreaded “back” button. You don’t want that to happen, right?

Imagine yourself being surrounded by a lot of choices; chances are you will end up confused and thinking twice. This is something you don’t want your visitors to do. They do not want to be offered a buffet. That is not what they need. What they need is a very ideal experience, and you will lead them to it.

Providing a single, clear, and compelling call-to-action button is what makes a best homepage.

Reminder: Know the action that you want your visitors to take and lead them clearly to it.

Summing it up, best homepages should:

  • Provide a coherent experience free of negative surprises
  • Convince a visitor to stop looking for other sites
  • Give a visitor clear reasons to trust what you promise in your proposition
  • Provide a single, clear, and compelling call-to-action button

By religiously following these steps, you will surely capture your visitor’s visual preferences and expectations, give them the solution that you are what they are looking for, trust you with your expertise and give you the engagement you desire.

It will be a win-win situation!

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