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Is your homepage content doing its job effectively?

Your homepage is probably the most important page of your website as it is likely to be the page that gets the most web traffic. This is because search engines such, as Google, tend to index homepages more than other pages of a website. With the majority of prospect customers being driven to your homepage, it’s imperative that you consider its content carefully, as it will be the first impression of your company.

What is the job of the homepage?
The job of the homepage is twofold:

  1. To communicate your primary message and offering to your prospect customers
  2. To include the main keywords your website is targeting that are needed for search engines to help the site’s SEO.

Why is it so important to get the homepage content right?
With so many potential customers arriving at your website, your homepage must clearly communicate that they are in the right place, and your company will help them solve the problem at hand. If your homepage falls short, it is likely that prospect customers will leave your website, never to return.

Your homepage should serve as a teaser, giving a top-level overview of what you have to offer and how that will benefit your audience. It’s important to recognize that prospects arriving on your homepage are in the early stages of the buying process. At this point they want to learn more about what your company offers but are probably not ready to spend. Your homepage should therefore direct prospects to other pages on your website where they can find the information necessary to take them further into the purchase funnel.

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What shouldn’t I do on my homepage?
Although it may be tempting, it’s not wise to mention more than one or two benefits your company has to offer on your homepage, and the same rule runs true for your keywords. When creating your homepage, be sure you’re focusing on the customer and solving the problems they have as opposed to communicating all of the features of your company. Always bear in mind your customer’s next step and make it easy for them to complete that action.

How can I analyze my homepage content?
The first step of analyzing your homepage is to assess whether you clearly communicate your business’s value to your customers. Your value proposition is a “positioning statement that explains what benefit you provide for who, and how you do it uniquely well.”

Here we analyze some of the key elements of a homepage content so you can see how yours are performing:

Headline: The purpose of your headline is to communicate your company’s primary value proposition. Ideally it should be eight words or less and should be clear and concise. Try to avoid using adjectives and prepositions (e.g. and, a, the, of). You may want to include a or  keywords in your headline and also be your <h1> tag, which is extremely important for SEO.

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Sub header:  As with the headline, the sub header should focus on benefits rather than features. The goal of the sub header is to back up and add further clarification to the headline and should explain the value proposition in more detail. The sub header should sit directly underneath the headline and is likely to be your <h2> tag. Be careful not to say too much in you sub header as it can dilute the message. Keep it clear and concise and no more than a sentence.

Copy: For the rest of the copy on your homepage, use the same concise language as used in the headline and sub header. Resist the temptation to use long sentences and try to convey your point quickly. Keep your language simple and try to avoid using complicated words.

Copy should be presented in a clean and easy-to-read way. For larger blocks of copy, be sure to use sentence case and avoid all capitals which are hard to read and come across as if you’re shouting. Consider using bulleted or numbered lists to make it easy to scan and to break up the monotony of text. Emphasize the key points you want to communicate by bolding, underlining or italicizing parts of the copy, but be sure not to overuse these.

The content of your copy should focus on the benefits of your product or service rather than features. To give an example, instead of listing the spec of your product, concentrate your copy on the problems you help solve with your product. When writing benefits-driven content, keep in mind your customer personas. Write copy that speaks to them directly and also addresses any objections they may have.

An important part of your homepage is to build trust with your customer and to communicate that your business is credible. There are many ways to create trust building content but an easy way is to communicate why your company is uniquely qualified to provide the products or services it does. For example, your product may have been produced somewhere locally or you may be an expert and highly qualified in your field. Third party recommendations such as customer testimonials or third party seals are also great ways to communicate legitimacy to prospect customers.

Images: Using images on your homepage is a great way to break up copy and tell a story. Real photos tend to look more credible and work better than stock photos. If you have used stock images, ask yourself if they look natural, authentic and modern.

Navigation and CTAs: A simple question to ask yourself when analyzing your homepage navigation is “Do you make it easy for prospects to take the next step?” Your navigation should be clear and easy to understand. Also use call-to-actions to link through to other parts of your website for more in-depth information about your offering. Think about your users’ next step and always make your contact information easy to find.

The best way to test your homepage is to ask someone to scan the header, sub header and CTAs of your page. If they understand what you’re offering, chances are your homepage content is well structured and working effectively.

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