When creating a homepage on any website it’s important to make a good first impression. But what’s the value of a good first impression?
Throughout this article I’m going to walk you through why a first impression is vital when creating a homepage and what you can do to optimise your homepage to its full potential. We will be looking at the use of how menu’s and call to action buttons can create more conversions.
Your homepage will be the beginning of the journey for many of your customers. So it’s important for your homepage to resonate with your potential consumers. People will land on your homepage for different reasons. Some through a google search, perhaps a business card you’ve handed out, word of mouth, social media. Once they land on your website you’re beginning the process of why they should buy your product. As supposed to hitting backspace and reading what your competitors have to offer them.
Within 2-3 seconds you need to show visitors exactly what it is you are offering them. – Wow. That’s not a lot of time!
If you haven’t read the prequel to this article I highly recommend you do so. (It’s okay I’ll wait.) Learn how you can create a great first impression when creating a homepage. How you can structure your titles, subheading and images.
Why Homepages are vital
Homepages are the face of your website and making a great first impression on your homepage leads to the following.
- Your website becomes exactly what the visitor is looking for
- Builds trust
- Allows customers to jump into different points of the sales process.
Right, Let’s begin.
Your website becomes exactly what the visitor is looking for
When someone lands on your homepage it’s vital that you show the visitor exactly why you’re in existence and on their computer or phone screen! Whether your business is selling a product or a service you want to make sure your message is clear cut. If you’re being vague on what it is you really do then even your ideal consumers aren’t going to be interested in your product or service.
In today’s culture we can get what we are looking for very very quickly. The visitors on your homepage can be one click away from becoming your next customer. But they’re also one click away from closing that tab or one click away from buying from your competitor. If your visitors believe they can find something better somewhere else they will do because they can find it so easily. So you’ve got to capture them quickly! And your visitors will waste no time in making up their minds about you.
Building trust is the most important thing your business will ever have to do. Just because you are selling what someone is looking for doesn’t mean they’ll buy your service – even if it matches all of their needs. You need to show you are delivering value! There are 101 ways to scam people online so people don’t always know what to trust. Your website might just be another way to take money and run.
There are many ways to build consumer relationships – blogging, creating free content, personal customer service, testimonials, meetups, emails, follow ups. Sometimes coming out swing with BUY THIS NOW IMMEDIATELY! Can turn people away. Not because they don’t like what you are selling, it’s just they might not be ready.
Here’s an example from Xero (I use Xero’s homepage example a lot by the way because it’s been designed so well)
See how their green call to action button says “Free Trial” and not “Buy it Now.” Well this is because they know that when people use their software they can gauge how useful it is for their needs. There’s no financial risk for two weeks for the customer which allows their customers to take those two weeks to build up trust in Xero’s product and company before they ask them to hand over their bank cards.
So if your homepage doesn’t pass the ‘trust smell test’ then you have a chance of losing potential customers early on in the journey. But I’m about to show you how you can avoid such things.
Allow customers to jump into different points of the sales process.
Look at this as building trust 2.0. As I mentioned before there are many different ways of building trust. If someone has found your website for the first time using a google search they could be amazed by the product you’re selling. But, they need to be able to trust you before they buy from you. So once you’ve made a great first impression they may want to start looking around your website to see what they can find out about what you have to offer. As mentioned trust can be built with blogging, free content, email lists, free trials etc. It’s important to be able to give your users the option to easily explore the rest of your website from your homepage.
The easier and more appealing you make it for a user then the more likely they are to move around your site, read your content and you start to earn their trust.
So how do we create the ease of access to such things? It comes down to…
Implementing your navigation.
In my last post we looked at what you need in a Headline, a Sub headline and how to use Images well to create a great first impression. Now it’s time to capitalise and be rewarded for all that hard work when creating a homepage.
The thing to remember here is – people love options. When it comes to your homepage people will come from many different places and they’ll come in all shapes and sizes. So it’s important that you can educate themselves on your product or service. You ideally want them reading as much as they need over time before they are ready to click that all important ‘purchase’ button from your checkout.
Menus and call to actions.
Menus are a way of navigating from page to page. Your visitors are allowed to read up on all the information they wish to and this is important because different people will value different pieces of information more than others. The easier your website is to navigate the less risk you run of your visitor heading over to see your competitors latest updates.
A call to action button is primary something you want the visitor to click on. You will probably end up having many of these scattered around the place but how they look and where they are placed is highly important.
Let’s go back to Xero.
They have a very simple menu even though their website is filled with loads of content.
Their ‘features and tools’ go into great detail for the different aspects of how their product can solve problems for the user’s needs. If i’m a small business I may not have too much trouble with invoices, but I may have huge difficulty on paying staff. In this format I can go in and read about this feature to see how it will suit me. Whereas another business may be dealing with other problems. (remember for your homepage your audience will come in all shapes and sizes)
Everything In their menu is designed to build trust. All the content is there to allow visitors to learn more about the product and Xero as a business. The easier it is to navigate around the website then the less frustrated the visitor is going to become and they can enjoy the time to learn about what you have to offer them.
Creating a homepage menu.
- Make menus clear to navigate through
- Easy to navigate to pages that will help your conversion.
Now a Call to Action is a specific link to a page or piece of content within your website. Usually in the form of a button. A call to action is where you are literally telling the visitor to do something. “watch this video,” “subscribe to our mailing list,” “enter your details.” These are actions that you want your visitors to take. The action you want them to take do have a benefit to them. But they also have a benefit to you.
Having someone subscribe to your email address means you have permission to send them content and information directly. Having someone sign up to a free trial allows the user free access to your product in exchange for contact information such as an email address, contact number etc.
When it comes to Call to Actions this is a great way to place different visitors into parts of the sales journey.
With Xero’s homepage they have two very clear call to actions. “Try Xero for Free / Free trial” and “Play video”
You command visitors what action they should take.
By playing the video the user will learn more about the product. Xero’s team have spent time, effort and money on developing this. So they want you to watch it. But their free trial is the button they actually want you to click on. Because you want people to click on a particular button you want it to stand out. So by making the colour contrast to the background allows it to be clearly seen. You want your visitors to be drawn to it. There is nothing worse than having a potential customer not knowing what to click next – so make your primary CTA extremely clear.
Call to action buttons can stand out like a moth to a flame. Having your most prominent call to action button available on your site at all times can really help with conversions. Once a visitor has read up on the information they want to they can quickly hit the call to action button to start their journey into your sales funnel. When creating a homepage, I recommend having your CTA in the heading of your menu and setting up the menu to be visible on all pages as the reader scrolls down.
Creating a Homepage – Call-to-action buttons
- Make them stand out (not ridiculous though)
- Keep them visible at all times on your homepage
- offer something to your users
So there you have it. Menus and Call to actions. Helping you make the most of the first impression you’ve made when creating a homepage.