Websites 4 Small Business

Three Tips for a Powerful & Effective Home Page

We've all heard it: “Don't judge a book by its cover.”

But if people didn't do it, the saying wouldn't exist, right? Even though we shouldn't judge a book by its cover, a wine by its label, or a business by its website's home page, we do. So make your home page work for you!

Make your website shine — starting with your home page

1. Your home page has only one function: Convince visitors to “open the book” and look further.

How do you do that? Show them they can get the results they're looking for.

The first rule of marketing is to understand what kinds of results your ideal clients are seeking — especially in their own words. The best way of learning this is to talk with both prospects and your most satisfied clients. Ask questions and listen to what they say about (a) what they're looking for, (b) why they're happy with your services and (c) what they've gotten from your work for them. Think about

  • What problems do you solve for them?
  • What disasters (for them) does your expertise prevent?
  • What results do they hope to achieve through your services?

By using words and phrases from your ideal clients, you'll persuade new viewers to think: Yes, I can get what I need here. This will make your website a “page turner” for your prospects.

2. Less is more.

People don't have time to read lengthy tomes or decipher a cluttered home page. Just like the cover of a book or magazine or DVD, your home page sits smack dab beside a gazillion competitors, and has less than 5 seconds to grab the reader's attention before they click away to the next site on Google's list.

Use the “rule of three” to make an impact and get your message across. For whatever reason, people absorb things easily in threes. The punch line is often the third element of a joke. Think about having:

  • 3 bullet points
  • 3 page elements (such as title, picture, results)
  • 3 short paragraphs

Using only three bullet points in a list of results will force you to choose the most important ones. Emphasizing three main page elements will help you keep the design simple and uncluttered. Limiting your text to three short paragraphs will ensure that you focus on the most vital aspects of your message.

3. Make it visual, tangible, and concrete.

For the most part, people make decisions on the basis of emotions, not logic. Use images and concrete examples to illustrate your point.

  • If viewers want a spotless green lawn, fill the home page with luxuriant grass.

  • If your services are intangible, include testimonials from satisfied customers and links to case studies.

In choosing images and concrete examples, focus on connecting with the viewer's inner child.

In conclusion . . .

You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Make sure your home page connects with your viewers!

—July 2006, Wyn Snow

Innkeeper looks at label on wine bottle