Creating an amazing homepage is both an art and an exercise in self-discipline. When you are first setting up a website, it can feel like your homepage is just sitting there like a blank canvas, waiting for you to fill it with “all the things” that make your business the bee's knees.
Rookie mistake, friends.
Unfortunately, people on the internet have the attention spans of gnats. They have a hard time focusing on anything noteworthy for more than a handful of seconds. That short attention span is made even worse when they land on a page that’s cluttered and doesn’t give them clear information and guidance on where to go next. They become paralyzed by all the muchness they find and wind up clicking away, off to find something less confusing to capture their eye.
While this attention span reality is a little sad, it doesn’t mean you can’t overcome it. That way, when people land on your homepage, they won’t get distracted, and they’ll know exactly what it is you want them to do.
So what’s it take to make your homepage sparkle like a diamond amidst the seas of chaos? Keep reading!
Define Your Homepage Purpose
Granted, a homepage isn’t quite the same as a landing page, which has a singular purpose. Convert. Your company's homepage is an experience, full and robust. It's a grocery store filled with aisles and offerings, but each user has to instantly understand the purpose of "that one thing" which they are being asked to do (sign up, download, read more, call), and the design and layout are the roadmaps.
For instance, if your goal is to get visitors to sign up to your email list, you would want to make your sign up and lead magnet the most prominent thing on the page and place it along the upper fold. If you want visitors to search your inventory, that search feature should be the first thing they see. If you want people to watch a video, make that video the feature attraction.
That doesn’t mean you can’t put other things on the page as well, but all other things should be minimized and not distract from your main goal. Keep the main thing, the main thing!
Make Navigation Clean and Simple
Remember that your navigation menu is how people will find their way around your site. If it’s confusing, they won’t even bother. Keep it somewhere visible but not distracting, preferably above the fold as well. Use drop downs if necessary, and try to keep your number of navigational pages under 7.
Use it for key pages like your portfolio/services, contact, about, blog, and whatever else may be relevant to your business. If you need more pages, use drop downs to nest them under the key page that makes the most sense. For instance, if you have a contact page, you could nest pages like your disclaimers, TOS, and/or FAQs pages beneath that. Arrange your pages so that they make logical sense and keep them as simple and direct as possible. It’s also important to stay vigilant about broken links, as they can turn people off quickly if you don’t catch them.
Sure, widgets, advertisements, and a gazillion things in your sidebar can seem like a helpful idea, but the reality is they usually aren’t. More often than not, it’s just clutter, and it will distract visitors from doing what you really want them to do. So curate the things you place in your sidebar very carefully, and if a sidebar doesn’t fit the aesthetic of your site and branding, don’t be afraid to ditch it altogether.
Sometimes those things that are often placed in sidebars may work equally as well in your footer and be a lot less distracting to visitors. Don’t be afraid of white space in your layout and design because it can actually improve user experience. A better user experience means more potential business for you!
Other important considerations include making sure your business logo is visible and that any content and messaging on your homepage communicates to your audience clearly and succinctly what your business is all about. Brevity on your homepage is a virtue; wordiness is not. However, regardless of content length, make sure what you’re saying is not just noise. Every image, every color, every word, and piece of content should communicate your brand message and make it clear exactly what your business has to offer.
A well-designed homepage simply works. Remember that when designing and staring at that blank canvas, you don’t have a lot of time to hook visitors. You can’t afford to confuse people because they will just click away and find another business to serve their needs instead. Clarity should be your top priority.
Looking for a homepage that keeps your user in mind? StellaPop can help design your homepage to make their user experience simple and clear.