A high-quality homepage is a thoughtful marriage of form and function.
As much as your website homepage needs to be bold and captivating, it also needs to serve a purpose for your business.
Your homepage is the landing spot for the majority of your incoming internet traffic. It has to speak to a variety of visitors, help segment them based on what their needs are, and lead them into the sales funnel. It also needs to be a standard-bearer of your brand, quickly convey your core message, and entice visitors to engage further with your company.
That’s a lot of responsibility. And with these design principles, your homepage will do all of it well!
Captivate above the fold
The proverbial “fold” is the section of your homepage that can fit in a web browser window without the user scrolling down (the term is appropriated from a newspaper’s fold, above which the lead stories and headlines are placed).
This is the spot for your strongest imagery and most compelling, brand-encapsulating phrase.
A variety of header conventions can be effective. A single image/text/call-to-action combination is the simplest way to convey your message and lead your visitor further into your website. Businesses with multiple products and services, as well as restaurants, travel-related organizations, and those where photography is a strong point, do well with a sliding carousel header of multiple images.
Outfit each image with its own unique call-to-action to funnel different types of visitors to the appropriate parts of your website. Carousel headers are also a great way to quickly showcase different aspects of your business without requiring new page loads.
An emerging trend in header design is the autoplaying video header. While not appropriate for all websites - it may be overkill, for example, on a homepage for a digital marketing agency - video headers are something to consider.
Bear in mind best practices, such as getting the file size and file type right and making sure your video plays without sound. But with internet speeds on the rise, web browsers can increasingly handle quick loads of video-header homepages. It’s unmistakably engaging when you type in a web address, hit return, and a homepage video begins autoplaying instantaneously.
Check out these award-winning examples.
Below your header, there are more opportunities to speak to each type of visitor your business attracts and lead them into the appropriate section of your website.
Do you offer a variety of services? Do you sell multiple distinct products? Create a visual call-to-action for each of your primary products and services.
These buttons will provide shortcuts - outside of your traditional top-of-page site navigation - to give your visitors a quick path to the website content that you have created for them on your inside pages.
Other important inclusions
Strive to keep your homepage design simple by focusing on user-friendliness and including only the key elements that make the page the digital doorstep of your brand. Some of those elements include:
- Your contact information in multiple places - Site visitors shouldn’t have to load a separate “Contact Us” page to find your email address, phone number, and physical location. Make this information prominent at the top of your homepage as well as at the bottom, waiting for those visitors who have scrolled through the entirety of the page and now want to get in touch. Don’t make them scroll back up!
- Multiple calls-to-action - Complement the call(s)-to-action that you’ve embedded in your header imagery with secondary calls-to-action farther down the page. Link them to the same place as your header CTA(s), or use the real estate in the middle and bottom of your homepage for CTAs that link to different parts of your site.
- Social buttons - like your contact information, links to your social feeds are most effective when they appear both at the top and bottom of your homepage page.
- Testimonials and blog highlights - If you have strong customer testimonials or blogs that have been particularly well-received, showcase them on your homepage. These elements create a certain robustness on the page without overwhelming site visitors unnecessarily.
A great homepage encapsulates your brand and serves essential functions. Follow these design principles to build a homepage that does both!
Thanks for reading,
Breezy Hill Marketing is a Vermont web design company specializing in marketing strategy, social media marketing, and building beautiful, optimized, and mobile responsive websites. We work with clients in Vermont and throughout the United States.