Designing a homepage that converts is often a challenging task. After all, with so many similar websites out there, how are you meant to stand out and be memorable?
The truth of the matter is that you should focus less on standing out per se. Instead, devote your energies and efforts to applying some homepage design best practices that will communicate your message clearly and appeal to your target audience. The rest will fall into place afterward.
In this post, we’ll take a look at five of these practices and how you can implement them.
Start with Your Hero
The first thing to consider is how you choose to structure your hero, as this is the first section of your website that a visitor and potential customer will see.
Ideally, you want to distill your core message down to a single sentence or two that you feature here, and choose an image that best conveys it. What is it that you offer, and how does it appeal to your ideal customer?
Let’s take a look at the example of Electric Wheelchairs USA, which has a very nice combination of both. There’s the image of a happy customer, a clear message, and some clear branding. This is the kind of mix you want to try to emulate.
Don’t Mix Messages
The difficulty of designing homepages that convert can often be ascribed to boiling your entire offer down to a single statement of fact. This is especially true if you sell a variety of items, like furniture for every room in the home, for example. How are you expected to market all of your products with one message?
Let’s reach for another example to help make our point: Tortuga focuses their homepage on the fact that they provide packing solutions. Their offer is not limited to backpacks, but they don’t choose to showcase their entire line. They know the message itself will keep people interested and that they will end up browsing.
Provide All the Information
Sure, going into more detail about the various aspects of products or services across different pages is a recipe for success. Nonetheless, you still want your homepage to highlight the most important facts. What is it that makes your products or services special? That’s the question you want your homepage to answer.
You also want to go a bit into detail about the purchasing process, getting in touch with you, and success stories with previous customers. In short, you want to list as many facts as possible that will recommend you to someone right at the outset (i.e., on your homepage), so they won’t have to click somewhere else to get their information.
Gourmesso does this really well. They’ve outlined the key features of their products throughout the page and then boiled all of the key facts down at the bottom, where they are easy to skim and easy to digest.
Make Navigation Easy
To enable your customers to easily find what they are looking for, you need to make your homepage easy to navigate. You’ll want to do that with your entire website, of course, and the homepage is the best place to start.
Create a menu that is clear about everything you feature, written out in clear language. Use terms that most of your audience will understand, especially if you are selling more specialized items not everyone might be familiar with.
By making the menu smaller and more compact, adding any further specificities to the dropdown, you will ensure less clutter and a smoother experience. You can use a mega menu if necessary.
Take the example of Juvia’s Place, which has a simple menu with plenty of extra options. They’ve made it quite easy to notice popular options like sales, but also to browse by category.
Add Some Social Proof
Finally, your homepage also needs reviews, testimonials, or any other kind of social proof your target audience appreciates. Social proof is a way of reinforcing your messages without having to brag about your expertise or the quality of your products.
Reach for social proof from the ranks of your satisfied customers. The closer these customers are to your ideal customer profile, the better. If you know who to ask, you might even go for some high-profile social proof, i.e., from an influencer or niche expert.
Buzzsumo has done this really well. If you are in the SaaS industry, getting a brief blurb from a fellow expert can go a long way.
When designing a homepage, take into consideration what your target audience would like to see. What is it they are looking for when they come to you? How can you help them solve the issues they are looking to get solved when going online?
Monitor how your homepage performs, A/B test it extensively, and patiently work your way towards its best possible version.