29 Apr For a Better Website Home Page, Think of It as a Trailhead
I’ve been seeing far too many website home pages lately that are a hot mess of too much information and no organization. Repeat after me: “I don’t need to put everything plus the kitchen sink on my website home page.”
Say it a few more times so it really sinks in.
Here’s the thing about your home page: You don’t want people to spend a lot of time there. You want them to quickly find what they need and move deeper into your site. As they learn more and become interested, you need to hook them in and direct them to reach out or take the next step.
Think of your website home page as a trailhead
Allow me to compare your website to a trailhead.
If you are a big hiker or mountain biker, you know that the beginning of each trail – or series of trails – is marked by a big sign. That sign marks the spot where you are, and it provides you with directions. Follow the yellow blazes on the trees, and you’ll be on Local Trail A. Follow the white blazes at this one intersection, and you’ll be on the Appalachian Trail. Oh, and here’s the trail map so you can see where the various options take you.
Your website home page is no different. It’s a big sign that provides people with some high-level information and a few options they can explore. They’ll decide where to head based on what they need.
So, what do I include on my home page?
There are no hard-and-fast rules about what to include, so I’m going to give you some options. Use what is applicable to your business and audience.
Who, what and why
You absolutely must include who you are, what you do and why you do it right at the top of your home page. Think people are going to search for that information? Nope. If they can’t immediately confirm what your business is all about, they’re outta here.
So many companies don’t even bother including this info, which really confounds me. If we return to my hiking analogy, it’s like getting out of the car in the parking lot and seeing a trail leading off into the woods, minus a sign that tells you where you are and what trail that is.
Don’t do that. Ever.
Overview of services or products
Now that you’ve established what your company is all about, you want to provide more details on the services or products you sell. Write a brief description – one or two sentences – for each product/service that explains what it is and how it helps people. Then provide a link to the (interior) page that is devoted to that product/service and where people can learn more.
If you have more than a handful of services or products, consider grouping them under a couple of categories. For example, a plastic surgeon could group services under two categories: surgical and non-surgical (or cosmetic and medical).
When you group by category, send people to a landing page where similar to what I describe above. Include a brief description for each product/service and link to the page devoted to that product/service.
Now we’re getting into optional territory. You don’t have to provide company background or other resources on your website home page, but if you do, this is how:
Including some background information on you, your team or your story is up to you. For some industries, like real estate and coaching, it’s expected. For others, like law or accounting, it’s not. Obviously, you would link a brief description to your website’s About/Story/Bio page.
Other useful resources
List upcoming events (webinars, workshops, etc.), free downloads and a snippet of your latest blog post on your website home page. It’s a fantastic way to pull people deeper into your site.
Remember: Because we’re on the home page, there is no need to include all the details. Send people to your event page, free resources or blog to learn more. Maybe they’ll find even more events or articles they’re interested in.
I would be derelict in my duty if I didn’t mention the important role of calls-to-action on your website.
Once someone is on your website, exploring the information that’s most interesting to them, you want them to do something. That “something” could be scheduling a free consultation, contacting you to learn more about a service, buying a product, downloading an ebook or registering for an event.
This is the goal of your website. Use your website home page to get people deeper into your site, help them get to know you and how you help them and then encourage them to connect.
If you need help turning your home page into a useful trailhead, please give us a shout. We help companies of all shapes and sizes create powerful messaging that connects with their ideal clients.