Check out these five must-have homepage elements that will help you craft a consistent and clear, client-focused homepage that effectively communicates your brand message.
I like to think of the website’s home page as the 30,000 foot view of how someone can engage with your business. However, it can be challenging to understand what exactly should be included on the page in order to make it, well, you know, effective.
Yes, a beautiful looking website is important.
But it won’t matter how pretty it is if it’s confusing to use and/or doesn’t clearly communicate what the viewer needs to know in order to engage with you and your business.
Because at the end of the day, your website is a marketing tool that fulfills a specific set of goals. And your homepage is often the most viewed page on your site – so, is it helping you or being more of a hindrance?
In This Article
>> A Note on Website Strategy
>> Client-Focused Website Header Statement
>> Call-to-Action Above the Fold
>> The Client’s Main Problem and Your Solution
>> An Overview of Your Services
>> Client-Focused About Section
A note on website strategy
Before we jump on into the must-haves for an effective website, you first need to understand the big picture and have a plan.
Enter: your website strategy.
Your website’s strategy is the game plan for how your website will function and communicate, using various elements like content, layout and design.
As I said above, it’s not just about having a pretty website, but rather, a website that supports your business. So, make sure you first take into consideration who you’re targeting, why you’re in business, how you want a visitor to feel when they are on your site and, most importantly, what you’re selling. These four elements will have an effect on the overall style, layout and design. And when taken into consideration, will help you create something that’s actually effective and helps move your business forward.
Okay, now onto the must-haves.
Client-focused website header statement
The function of the header statement on your home page (and really, on any page) is to let the visitor know within a few seconds whether or not they’re in the right place. That you’re the right business to solve their problem. The way you do this is by crafting a compelling and clear statement that speaks to your ideal client and the transformation that you provide.
If you’re familiar with the Storybrand Framework, Donald Miller says this statement is effective if it can pass the ‘grunt test’. The idea being that if a caveman were to look at your website, would he be able to understand who you serve and how you serve with a few grunts.
Put another way, a visitor should know within five to ten seconds if they’re in the right place because your header statement is quick and clear.
As you can see in the example above, there’s one main sentence with a subheading for additional explanation.
In short, a good header statement is quick to read, easy to understand and tells your visitor if you can solve their problem.
Call(s) to action above the fold
A call-to-action is a button or line of text that quite literally calls someone to take an action. It can be something like, “Book Now” or, “Schedule a Consultation Call”. The idea is that it’s clear and it is above the fold. Meaning, it’s visible before someone starts scrolling down your page.
Why do you want it at the forefront?
Because if your header statement does its job right, your visitor should know within five seconds whether or not you can solve their problem. If the answer is, ‘yes’ and they want to take action right away, you better make sure it’s clear where they should go next.
The client’s main problem and you’re solution
Part of communicating your brand in a clear and consistent way is making sure you’re telling visitors what exactly you can help them with; the problem that you will help them solve.
If you don’t clearly communicate what you’re helping them overcome, they have no way of knowing whether or not you’re the right person for the job.
This can be as simple as stating, “Hey, I know you’re struggling with X, Y and Z.” The goal is to show empathy and understanding so that you build trust.
In the above example, Karissa talks about her ideal client’s main problem as not having a photographer who puts them and their experience first. And, she calls out that she loves working with both unconventional and traditional ideas.
By speaking to her ideal client’s pain points and problems, she’s able to build trust and authority. She’s letting readers know that she understands what they’re going through and what they’re struggling with, positioning herself as the expert to take them from their struggling point A to a successful point B.
An overview of your services
As I mentioned above, the homepage is the high level overview of what you have to offer your visitor. Part of that overview includes how people can work with you. So, it makes sense then that you need to include your services and offerings.
When it comes to how much detail you provide on the actual service, think about the functionality of your homepage. It’s to get the reader curious and click to learn more. From that perspective, I’d recommend writing one or two sentences that gives an overview of the service. Then, you can link directly to the specific service page where you dig deeper into the details.
Use the services section to not only call out what you can do but reiterate who you are a good fit for.
Client-focused ‘about you’ section
The number one problem I see on a website home page is the ‘about’ section being completely author and/or team-focused.
Now, this seems counterintuitive, I know. You are after all positioning yourself as the expert and selling your services, so why wouldn’t the section about you talk about… YOU?
The problem with making your about section solely about YOU and your story is that you aren’t showcasing why you’re the best person to solve the visitor’s problem.
Your home page is the 30,000-foot view of your business and brand. So, it should highlight the most important aspects of your brand to pique curiosity and get the reader to dig further. They don’t necessarily care that you love hot chocolate or that you are an avid runner – that’s information for the about page, after you have established credibility and expertise.
What a reader wants to know is why you’re the right person for the job and whether or not you’re someone they could hire to help them reach their goals.
Take the example above: Hi, we’re Artisan Row. A group of food loving industry pros who would love to help make your vision a reality. We’ve been in your shoes; running teams, cranking out new products while managing office politics and ALL the things! How can we bring some calm to your product development storm? And create some delicious food along the way, of course.
They communicated their expertise but only in relation to how it would help the reader. They talked about the problems they could solve and who would be a good fit for their services.
And, did you see that they were still able to bring their personality into the mix? Just because you don’t mention personal details in the about section, doesn’t mean it’s void of any and all personality.
The homepage plays a very important role in effectively communicating your brand message. It’s not just a pretty design that will get you results – your website also needs to clearly and consistently call out your ideal client, their specific pain points and your expertise.
Crafting an effective page isn’t something that will happen overnight. Play around with the language and layout – just make sure you have these five elements somewhere.
And remember, your brand is ever-evolving. It’s okay to update and change and pivot. As you start to learn what works and what doesn’t, don’t be afraid to change it up!
All my best,
Rather watch than read?
Read more about what a website strategy is in this post.
And this post talks about five simple ways to brand your website.