Lucas Miller is a freelance blogger, content marketer and advocate for what he likes to call, "Editorial Entrepreneurship." When not working to strengthen Echelon Copy and Green Splatter, he's busy reading, writing or running alongside the Wasatch Mountains mountains in Provo, Utah. Also, for what it's worth, he claims to have an incredible head of hair.
Like it or not, the quality of your website will often determine the success of your business. Even if your products or services have nothing to do with web design, it’s the first thing customers see. As such, it plays a paramount role in helping them form their first impression of your business.
Because of this, your website’s homepage forms one of the most important parts of your online business—truth be told, it’s a digital storefront of sorts. If your products are the book, your homepage is the cover, and it will usually be what either hooks or loses site visitors.
Remember, people make decisions emotionally, and then justify their decisions with facts. The buying process is no different. Your homepage should evoke enough emotion in your customers to make them want whatever it is that you offer. From there, you can show them the facts and figures on secondary pages once they’ve decided they’re fully onboard with your brand.
Odds are, most of the companies you buy from have effective homepages. A common theme that runs through these successful websites is that the vast majority of them employ some sort of minimalistic homepage design. These designs are simple, but effective. This is because they don’t bombard visitors with products or information; instead, they warmly welcome them in.
Here are a few tips you can use as part of your site’s homepage design:
1) Use Negative Space
It can be tempting to try and fill every bit of available space with information or graphics in order to keep visitors interested. As effective as this might seem, though, don’t do it.
Most successful websites make full use of negative space. The people who design these websites know that, to make an impression, the customer has to be immediately drawn to a core offer.
For example, when advertising a product, that product should be the focal point of the page. It should be the first thing the customer sees, and there should be nothing to muddle or complicate their view of it. This leads us to an important principle of homepage design—blank space is not necessarily wasted space.
* Who’s Doing It Well? Apple
2) Vivid Photography
Your space doesn’t have to be monochromatic—it can be full of pictures, graphics or art, as well. If you feel that miles of blank space, a la Apple, doesn’t fit your company’s style, mood or tone, experiment with visual imagery to fill said space.
This can be especially helpful in giving your customers an idea of who you are and what you represent. Let’s say you make hiking gear, for example. A photo (or photos) that brings about a sense of adventure will get your customers feeling what you want them to feel, and will give them a good first impression of your business—don’t overdo it, though.
Essentially, these photos show your product in the environment that will most powerfully resonate with your customers. They see situations they want to be in, or people doing what they want to be doing, and this makes them feel that your product is the one they want to buy.
* Who’s Doing It Well? Stance
3) Guide Your Visitors
Whether a product or a service, if you’re offering something that might be somewhat new or unique to potential customers, you need to make sure that they know who you are and what you do. You can effectively do this by making your homepage easy to navigate and by using it to bring visitors up to speed on your products or services as quickly as possible.
Negative space helps site visitors focus, so don’t do this by filling every bit of space on your homepage with information. Instead, make sure your visitors know only the most pivotal points of your company’s offering, thus enticing them to navigate onto other webpages.
This can often be done quite simply by just spreading out important information. And don’t worry—it’s okay to have a homepage that requires some scrolling to get through. As long as your content is both concise and reader-friendly, you can tell your visitors a great deal about both your company and offering on one single page.
* Who’s Doing It Well? SellMax
Needless to say, as you follow the tips mentioned above, you’ll draw visitors in and get them to take the emotional steps necessary to purchase your products or services—they just need some well-deserved breathing room to make it happen.
You’ve worked hard to develop a product or service that can help make people’s lives better. Don’t let that hard work go to waste by pairing it with an ineffective homepage—do this right.