You know that feeling. You’re look’n fine, having a fantastic hair day, and wearing your favorite little black dress.
You’re strutting along, humming your favorite song, and you realize… all eyes are on you.
You have their attention. Everyone is intrigued and wants to know you. You get a huge response from everyone you pass by. You almost feel the need to take a bow.
They are worth a million bucks and only come along once in our lifetime several times over.
Because you only have one shot, it’s one of the most important times in many instances.
It can make or break being asked out by that cutie from across the room.
It can make or break you getting that huge deal that would increase your company’s profit.
And it can make people feel warm and fuzzy and welcomed or leave them feeling lost, cold and undervalued.
Welcome to your homepage – The first impression of your website.
In case you haven’t received the memo – Whether your audience is online or you’re a brick and mortar shop… if you’re breathing, have a pulse, and own a business… you need a website.
I know, it can feel daunting.
Especially if you’re a business owner wearing a kajillion other hats. It’s not like you need one more task to keep you busy.
I want to help eliminate some of your feelings of “website overwhelm” today.
If you are in the startup phase of your business (or you’ve been in business a while) and don’t have a website up and running yet, all you need to have in the beginning is a kick-ass homepage.
You don’t need to launch with a full blown website that includes a blog, press page, free community, etc.
Feel like you can breathe a little easier now? Great!
Today, I am going to help you walk away with a plan to create an outstanding homepage. Let’s get started.
Website Homepage Essential #1: Answer The BIG THREE
If people can’t identify what it is you do within 8 seconds, they won’t stick around for long. It’s essential that you clearly answer the following on your homepage:
- Who I am
- What I do
- What can you (the visitor) do here
Website Homepage Essential #2: Use Copy That Speaks Directly To Your Ideal Customer
You need to know your customers inside and out.
What are their pain points and challenges?
Your homepage needs to speak to these. This way, when your ideal customer visits your site they think “Hey, this business can help me!”.
Someone who does a fantastic job of this is my friend, Lauren Pawell of Bixa Media.
When you land on her homepage she clearly states “Want more business from your website?…”.
Lauren chose this copy because she:
- Identified her target audience as entrepreneurs
- Knows this is a challenge a lot of entrepreneurs face
- Offers services that can help solve this problem
When entrepreneurs who need business from their website land on her homepage they immediately know “Hey, this chica can help me out!”.
Pssst… If you are still trying to figure out who you’re talking to, check out my previous article on How To Find Your Ideal Customer Profile In 3 Easy Steps. Trust me, you’ll keep from wasting time and effort if you research your ideal customer.
Website Homepage Essential #3: Think About The Layout
The layout of your homepage should flow and guide the reader’s eyes throughout the page. You want to make it easy for people to see what it is they should do next.
This all comes down to the design of your homepage’s layout.
Here are some tips to help you:
- Your homepage should include your business’s logo. The logo should be appealing and professional.
- Visitors should be aware of the product or service you’re selling upon landing on your site. They shouldn’t have to search to try and find what the site is about. Don’t make your audience have to use their brains – if they end up having to do this, chances are they won’t stick around long enough to figure it out.
- Images on your homepage (and all other pages) should be optimally positioned and mobile-friendly. When adding images to your site, make sure you also check out the layout on a mobile device. Because so many people are on their cell phones more than they are on laptops and desktops, optimizing for mobile is not a luxury, it’s a necessity.
- Your homepage should also include a site navigation bar, letting people choose which page or area of your website to go to next.
Note: if you are in the beginning stages of your website, you may opt to not include a site navigation bar (or you can keep it simple with a “Contact Us” and “About Us” page).
Website Homepage Essential #4: Optimized For Email List Building
In the section above the fold (this is the area the visitor sees when they first land on your website, before scrolling down), you need to highlight a compelling opt-in incentive.
This could be a quiz, access to a resource library, a free consulting call, or a download.
Whatever it is you want it to add tremendous value to your visitor. You want them to feel that they just won the lottery… or hey, at least close to it.
Let’s look at Lauren Pawell’s opt-in incentive on Bixa Media.
For other opt-in incentive ideas, check out me previous blog post on How To Grow Your Email List When You’re Starting From Nada. There is an image in the article that highlights 21 Types of Content Upgrades. Score!
Looking for an easy way to grow your email list? Try ClickFunnels! Their software makes it super easy for you to add forms to your website with landing pages and ClickPops. Since I am a ClickFunnels affiliate, they’ve agreed to give my friends (that’s you!) a free 14-Day Trial. Click here to grab yours.
Website Homepage Essential #5: Make Sure Your Design Is Compatible Across Devices
When you build your website homepage, make sure it is compatible on desktop and mobile devices.
In a 2017 report released by We Are Social, they found that mobile devices now account for 50% of all web traffic.
If you design your website on a platform like WordPress or Squarespace, they have design templates that take device compatibility into account for you so you don’t need to stress.
Just make sure you are:
- Using a website template that is compatible on different devices.
- Keeping image and font sizes in mind when you’re creating your content.
- Previewing your content on multiple devices.
Website Homepage Essential #6: Pay Attention To Your Website Speed
We live in a world full of microwaves and we want everything now! Including our fries.
Same goes for websites.
Have you ever been to a website that took forever to load? Did you stay and wait for it to load, or did you abandon it and head somewhere else?
I usually go somewhere else.
Make sure your homepage loads fast (or at least the section above the fold does). According to data collected by KISSMetrics, if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load, you’ve already lost 40% of visitors. Pretty cray, cray, huh?
To solve this, here are 3 main things you can look at:
- Call your hosting company and upgrade your services.
- Fix the images on your site that are taking forever to load.
- Remove plugins that are slowing your site down.
Website Homepage Essential #7: Include Social Proof & Press
Ask for testimonials from your customers and add these to your homepage so people can see from the beginning what others are saying about you.
By doing this, you establish credibility with your audience.
Showing where you’ve been featured in the press also shows that you are a thought leader in your space. So, highlight this information on your homepage and you will instantly be ahead of others in creating trust.
Website Homepage Essential #8: Add Analytics to Track
Now that you have accomplished all of this hard work and have a kick-ass homepage for your business website, you need to measure how many people are coming to your site, what they’re viewing and how they are getting there.
Just like in business, if you don’t know your numbers, how are you going to know what’s working and what’s not working?
So, before you start driving traffic make sure you have Google Analytics installed on your Website. It’s super easy to do. Check out the following tutorials to learn how:
- For WordPress: How to Setup Google Analytics & Install on Website by WP Smackdown
- For Shopify: How to add Google Analytics to your Shopify Store by Measureschool
- For Squarespace: How to add Google Analytics to Squarespace by Cat Crawford
Let’s review – So, when putting together your homepage:
- Answer the BIG THREE (Who I am, what I do, what can you (the visitor) do here.
- Speak directly to your ideal customer.
- Create the perfect layout.
- Optimize your homepage for email list building.
- Make sure your homepage (and website) is compatible across all devices and browsers.
- Your homepage should load FAST. If not, review the three main things I listed above you can look at and tweak to solve.
- Include social proof and press information.
- Track your numbers!
First impressions are your time to shine. You’ve got this!