These days, when a great deal of business activity is being carrried out over the Internet, and every capable business works to sustain an influential online presence, the unrelenting competition forces us to think of and initiate more effective ways for attracting customers.
Comparable to a savvy downtown store owner luring passers-by with a smart and creatively crafted signboard, webmasters invest significant resources in the concept of their websites’ homepages. Hundreds of researches on the subject have been made and documented during the last decade alone. And based on the collective experience of the data, the following paragraphs elaborate on proper homepage construction/set-up, its principles, DOs and DON’Ts, pros and cons.
One of the most vital things on a website’s homepage is identification. Spare your visitors from an awkward, unpleasant experience, and allow them to immediately understand where they are and what your website is about.
Place your company name and logo in the most prominent spot, usually in the upper section of your homepage, add a brief entry that would concisely summarize your company’s activity. Next, focus the main message your website is meant to convey in the upper third section which is the most noticeable area on your homepage. Keep in mind that your visitor doesn’t like to be kept waitiong, if he/she doesn’t find the signs of what he/she has been looking for at a first glance, he/she will most probably leave the website for good.
Now suppose you have managed to attract and hold the visitor’s attention and made them linger on your homepage; at this point it’s time to come up with a clever and clear navigation system, do not let your visitors aimlessly wander from link to link in attempts to find what they came for. Be sure your menus are organized and comprehensible.
Finally, help your visitor become a lead, provide tools for contacting the site owner, such as a contact form, an online chat, contact details etc.
While the points mentioned in the paragraph above are of the utmost importance, the following features are geared at improving the visitor’s browsing experience and strengthening your homepage. First and foremost, while building your homepage, try to keep it as simple and clear as possible. Simplicity, clarity, and aestheticism may not only convey the feeling of stability, serenity, and professionalism, but also serve as a neutral background for the relevant content. The content of the homepage must be succinct, specific, and straightforward. Don’t allow the visitor to get lost among pages of irrelevant text, guide and expose them to only the most important information. Strengthen and enhance your content with writing that add up to a call to action, convincing and persuading a potential customer to do whatever you want, ex: fill out a form, enter the store, sign up as a member etc. Display additional contact details: phone number, snail mail address, e-mail. This can help build and establish trust between the customer and the site owner.
It is always in your best interest to do away with practically everything that might create obstacles on the visitor’s way to becoming a customer. Many unsophisticated websites make the mistake of placing an animated intro before the homepage. However, you should consider the fact that the intro is just another several seconds that obstruct the visitor before he/she even begin to realize what your site is really all about. Of course, if you insist on having an intro, be sure it does not distract the visitor, but maximizes their desire to come on in. Moreover, be careful when choosing colors, fonts and animations. Try to avoid multiple colors, bright and intense colors, fonts of different types and sizes on one page, moving elements and animations. All these may distract the visitor and disrupt their concentration on the major goal.
In simple terms, never make your visitor wait purposelessly or feel uncomfortable. Following the previous paragraph, if you do have an animated intro, never force the visitor to watch it all over again, each time they enter your site. Instead always equip it with a “skip” feature.
Furthermore, all images must be fitted to the approved standards. If you think that a background tune might work well with your website (which is not recommended at all, unless your website deals with music directly) never leave the visitor without the “mute” option.
Most importantly invest thought and creativity in your homepage, plan it in advance, receive feedback from your friends, family, and professional consultants; create a successful virtual business card for your brand and your efforts will payoff greatly in the long run.