While many visitors may enter your website for the first time through a blog post, your Home page is the virtual front door of your website and the main door into your site for the rest of the world. When someone visits your site directly through your main URL, your Home page is the first page of your website they will see.
The Home page represents the very first opportunity you have to make an impression. So visitors need to be able to quickly figure out — in just a few seconds — if they are in the right place, and if your site is what they have been looking for.
Defining the purpose of your website, and in turn the purpose of your Home page is the first step in creating a strategy that will attract your ideal clients and customers to your website.
Your website and your Home page may have different goals.
While the overall goal of your website is to persuade visitors to:
- Hire you for services
- Buy products, programs, or events from you
- Learn from you by opting-in and joining your list…
The goal of your Home page may be to simply get visitors to realize they are in the right place and click past the Home page to your core sales and conversion pages.
Trying to make a sale right on your Home page, is like asking someone to marry you on the first date! It’s probably not going to happen because they don’t know you yet, they haven’t decided if they like you yet, and they haven’t built any trust in you yet, and as a result, they aren’t ready to take action.
With WordPress, there are three different types of home pages you can use for your website:
Static Home Page:
Static web pages load the same content every time someone visits the page, so a static Home page is a home page with content that rarely changes. The page can use a full width page template, or a template with a sidebar, and the content can include text, images, and video.
The examples below are both static Home pages — with content that is always the same:
Dynamic Home Page:
Dynamic web pages typically show new content each time the page is visited. A dynamic Home page has content that changes often automatically, like when the Blog is set as the home page of a WordPress website, and the content changes each time a new post is published.
The examples below are both dynamic Home pages — with content that automatically changes when new content is added to the site:
Widgeted Home Page:
A widgeted Home page is a home page that combines static content and dynamic content on one page. Instead of a single content region, the page is broken up into content regions and/or widgeted areas. Each area can include either static content, or widgets, like the recent posts or recent comments widgets, to deliver dynamic content.
The examples below are both widgeted Home pages — with the content organized into specific content areas/boxes/blocks:
Tips For Creating an Effective Website Home Page
Here are a few website Home page design tips to help you get started:
- Keep it simple and clear.
Don’t try to tell your entire story and communicate everything you think someone needs to know in one, giant, long Home page. Keep your content simple, focused, and crystal clear.
- Use plain English and basic language.
Don’t try to be too creative, clever, or cutesy. Instead, focus on making sure a new visitor can get a quick snapshot of what you do in 5 seconds or less.
- Make it about your ideal client.
Your Home page needs to answer the questions: Is this what I am looking for? Am I in the right place? What are my options? Remember, you want to get them interested enough to click to the next page.
- Treat it like the first step.
Getting people to your Home page and interested in learning more is the first step. Be sure to create clear paths (funnels) through the site to your conversion pages and tell them exactly what to do next with crystal clear calls to action.
- Make your content accessible.
Give visitors more than one way to reach your most valuable content. Include links in your website navigation menu, in the page content, and in the footer or sidebar.
- Use lots of visuals.
No one wants to read an essay online and photos grab attention often faster that text or copy, so use strategic visuals that reinforce your message to add interest to the page.
- Prioritize information.
Everything on your Home page can’t be big and bold and crammed at the top of the page — if you tried that it’s be hideous, and nothing would stand out. Instead, once you have decided exactly what your home page must communicate, prioritize the information so you know what needs the most attention, and what needs the least.
Set Aside Time to Focus on Your Home Page
Your Home page is arguably one of the most important pages on your website. That means you’re going to need to set aside some time to really focus on the page as a whole and what you need to communicate on it.
We recommend at least a couple hours to first get your ideas and messages out on paper and get a rough idea of what your Home page may look like. Then walk away, and come back to it in a day or two with a fresh perspective to refine the page organization, and be sure each element has a clear purpose to move a new visitor past the Home page and into your site.
What about You?
Are you working on creating a website Home page and found this post helpful? Do you have other questions about designing a Home page? Do you have a different perspective or view on Home page strategy? We would love to hear from you in the comments below!
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