What to include in the Home Page Layout of your website
What should be included in the Home Page layout of my website?
Your website ‘Home’ page layout is really and truly your shop window, so you want to include everything that is important and nothing that is just taking up space. This is a hard balance. But remember that the aim of the page is to answer the search query, to engage in simple English and convert the ‘right’ visitors to potential clients. The Home page is your main menu, a way for you to signpost people to get to the page they really want.
Therefore, there should ideally be just one single main CTA, call to action, on the top part of the page, ‘above the fold’, if that is feasible. Try not to confuse people with choices. Besides, people move on after 3 seconds, if you do not ‘hook’ them. Google rewards you in the ranking, if visitors to your home page actually click on a link, as in you seem to answer their question. And if they do click on a link, you have achieved the objective of the home page, to help visitors get to where they want to go.
Now, where do they click to from the home page? You will now have to optimise that page too, in order to ensure that you are giving the visitor what they want. If you keep engaging the visitor, you should be able to drive them through a ‘funnel’ to make a purchase or enquiry. It is much like greeting a visitor to a physical store. Avoid annoying pop-ups, which are like over-eager salespeople on a shop floor asking you ‘How can we help you today?’ – let the visitors browse. Not only are pop-ups annoying, they also reduce the speed of your page, so leave them out. The website should load fast – check the FREE Google speed test HERE. Even Chat Bots can be annoying. Just because you can install one, does not mean you should do it. Imagine putting a Bot on your shop floor to answer questions – would that work for you?
What can you do in 3 seconds to engage a visitor to your home page layout?
Tell your visitors what you do and who you do it for, and explain the benefit of dealing with you. Try to do that in one sentence, like a tag line. “We help Solicitors engage with prospective House buyers in Dublin to provide Conveyancing services“. “We help commercial builders find ambitious retailers in Dublin“. “We connect financial advisors with people in Dundalk who want investment advice“.
Then show them proof, samples of your work or offer a link through to a bigger portfolio. Also, show them who you are working for and what these people think of your service in Google reviews or testimonials or case studies – social proof. Make sure that the visitor can see your phone number, email, quick contact form (and maybe instant chat), so that they can engage with you immediately in any way they choose to do so.
Most people do not want to read all about the little details of how you do things, the specifications and features. Avoid all the technical ‘jargon’ you might use. Although having this on the page for ‘Google’ can be good for search engine optimisation, which is a different topic. Visitors do not want to read all about how great you are either. Save that for your About page, this is the place for all your history and team photos, etc.
Once they see that you provide the product or service they require and have happy clients like them, they will call you. Unless you have not yet convinced them that you are indeed a good choice. In which case they will ‘bounce’ off your page. A high ‘Bounce’ rate is obviously a bad sign. You can A/B test your pages, to find out which layout or content works best. See the results in your Google Analytics dashboard – this is a great source of data from your website. Remember you will not want ‘everybody’, only the visitors you want to engage with going forward.
Design Prototype Review questions to include:
Colours are on Brand?
Menu covers main preferred focus services
USPs Unique Selling Points are clear
CTAs Calls to Action are good and specific
Heading 1 and Heading 2 are good
Does it clearly state what problem you solve, for whom and in which geographic location.
Deep Bottom Navigation is all inclusive
NAP Name Address Phone number is right and is same as Google Business Profile
Language being used is easy to understand and not technical
Will it pass the Mom test? As in show this page to anyone and within two seconds they will understand what you do and who you are.
Above the fold – make that valuable space count in your home page layout
People generally look at the ‘above the fold space’, that part of the page that they can see when they land on the website. It is like eye level in a shop window display. They do not want to scroll on a desktop, so get them engaged at the top of the page. If they do choose to scroll down, you can provide good quality original images of your products or services, with some independent testimonials and Google Reviews to provide Social Proof, maybe even TripAdvisor or Trust Pilot. Add client logos to show who you work with, if they are well known.
Make it slightly different for a mobile view, by getting rid of any full width large hero images and instead make everything ‘stackable’. This is so that people can browse in a mobile view, but see all the images and text in a legible format. Again the page should load fast in a mobile view and be mobile responsive.
In the Main menu have a link to your individual services pages or products pages and to your about page. Avoid using ‘sliders’ which are old style, slow down the website and visitors do not want to wait and watch for the next images to load. The website should deliver within 3 seconds, ideally in under two.
See the infographic from www.leadforest.com that shows a good example of a website home page layout. Or see a good live example at www.solicitorwebsites.ie
What is Webucation?
Your website can be used to educate or inform your clients or potential customers, with useful information about your company, your products or services and your conditions – hence the definition of Webucation or prequalifying.
Typically this would include items such as:
1. List details of offerings, be it services or products
2. Blog items that can help inform people and highlight your prowess in any given area or field of endeavour.
3. Manuals which can be delivered via your website, that are editable digital versions for you, so that they can be kept up to date.
4. FAQs – lets you answer the obvious questions and keep them updated at all times.
5. Forums – allow clients or potential customers ask questions and debate online. Typically this service is now covered in Facebook Groups.
6. Calendar – of events or launches etc, which can inform the market where and when you are doing something.
7. Results – Publicise results, financial reports or notes, where they can be seen by all, as in full disclosure.
8. Members area – create a digital space for members to see their “stuff” or engage with each other.
9. Instant chat or feedback – allow visitors ask questions and get answers back immediately.
10. Present education in the form of text, images or video to help train or explain.
A well managed website is the most useful tool for educating your audience, as well as promoting your company. Done properly, you can help to ensure you prequalify callers, by giving them all the answers online, before they call to place an order.