The Major Must-Have Elements of a Website Homepage
A website is your home and should be the best salesperson you have, working around the clock. On that end, your homepage is your moment to shine. Are you harnessing your moment with all of the key elements that can do the work for you?
Let's talk about the absolute MUST-HAVE elements of a website. These are non-negotiables that will level-up your site from a website to a salesperson that works 24/7. I am going to break them down for you into 10 items. To be clear, this is not the only items you can have, but each of these should be included.
1. Clearly stated value proposition - A value proposition is a statement that answers the ‘why’ someone should do business with you. It should convince a potential customer why your service or product will be of more value to them than similar offerings from your competition. You know why your company is great, but do your potential customers know what sets your brand apart?
This example of a Value Stated Proposition (above) by Apple for their Macbook is so simple, It speaks to the lightweight element of the Macbook and the fact that it is years ahead of its competition.
2. Professional photography - do you know that once a potential customer is on your site you have about 30 seconds to hold their attention? This is your moment to shine. And, the lackluster photos that you edit yourself are not necessarily going to say what you want them to say. Even if you think so, i am here to tell you that you are wrong. The visual nature of a website speaks for you. It says, I am worth the money. I value my company and myself. I invested in my website because people already pay me.
3. Simple navigation from homepage to other pages, and ability to navigate back easily - The number one reason why people leave a site is because of the complexity of a site's navigation. People get lost. Making your navigation simple -- with lots of opportunities via buttons and highlights -- is so important. You need to play with this often. Have people test it for you.
4. Contact information - Guys, one of the #1 mistakes that businesses make on websites is to not have their contact information readily available. What I mean is, sometimes people are searching you on their phone, sometimes a tablet, sometimes a computer. Navigation functions change and are not always simple on different screens. Making sure someone can email you and/or call you from every page is really important. Add this information to your footer so it is on every page, and additionally have a contact page.
5. Calls to action: multiple. This is where you are giving clear and intentional direction to your potential client. What do you want them to do? Add a "book a call" button, a "Learn more here" button, "follow me on social media" button. Add a pop-up and invite them to join your email list. The point here is: remember that people are just learning about you and taking in the information you offer. The tour of your website needs to be directive, and communicative. If you don't ask them to take action, often newcomers will find themselves floating away from your site and never booking even if they actually did connect with the site or business.
6. Testimonials - About 88% of the time, client testimonials are regarded as highly as a personal referral, according to consumer reports. That is a lot. If you are not using your testimonials you are missing an opportunity to: speak to objections, let someone else rave about you, and create trust. Testimonials can often be value stated propositions and do the work for you in telling someone WHY they should work with you.
7. Invitation to join your email list - email lists are the strongest touchpoint in digital marketing to lead to actual conversions. Far more than social media, more than paid advertising. Offering several opportunities to join your email list from your site is a HUGE must. One option to simply "join my list" on your homepage -- if not in the footer on each page -- and another by way of a valuable freebie.
8. A brief breakdown of your services / products - So, what is that you even do? There should be a breakdown or a clear statement so your potential customer understands that this is in fact for them.
9. Any awards and certifications - Squeeze these in somewhere on your home page, and again on your about page. Awards, where you were published, small icons. Pointer: do NOT link to that award on a different website and help people to leave your site.
10. Links to social media - I love the idea of having a snippet of your Instagram feed on your home page for a couple of reasons, 1) You always want your website being updated for SEO reasons and Instagram plug-ins do that for you 2) It gives someone a taste of your social media. The other option is to just have the basic links to follow you, which are important. It is another way for someone to stay within your brand.
A homepage is really the backbone of your entire site. If it is not on point, the rest is irrelevant. A good homepage will do the selling for you if this is your ideal client. Spend the time to make sure it is a visual and informational representation of your brand. And then we can talk about getting people to the site!