When designing your home page, first consider why your user is coming to your site. Thinking about what they are looking for is the first step in designing your site.
What to include
Different types of websites should have different elements on their home pages.
An e-commerce site focuses on selling products but still needs to show your user that they can trust you.
An e-commerce site may have products and product categories on the home page rather than stories about the business. However, the e-commerce site must include enough information about the business to allow visitors to trust them enough to make a purchase.
In contrast, a brochure site is focused on providing information about your business but must also show your visitor they can trust you.
The home page for a brochure site may focus on the value and story of the business so that visitors can get to know and trust you, but it must also ask for the visitor to do something. Even if that action is to make a phone call, submit a form, follow on social, etc, it is similar to a sale in that the user must trust you enough to take the next step.
What is your visitor looking for
Your home page should make it easy for visitors to know they are in the right place, to find what they are looking for, and to take the next step in working with you.
For e-commerce sites – mix your products with your story as you move down the page. If you have multiple categories, make sure they are listed in a simple structure so your visitor can move easily from one category to another.
For other business sites, show your value, credibility, and how to work with you. Again, start with a clear statement about what you do and get more detailed as you move down the page.
Sections on a home page
If your page is long enough, divide your content into sections.
Some examples are:
- A header section with a graphic, catchphrase, and call-to-action.
- An offer section where you briefly describe your offer.
- An about section, especially as a small business or service provider
- An email newsletter signup form section
If you have different categories of offers, I like to have sections or a 2-3 column section for those categories or offers.
Make it really clear how to take the next step and what a visitor should expect from you after that.
Make sure you address your value, what makes you different, and some social proof if you have some.
Put some effort into considering each element of each section of your home page. Start with telling your visitor exactly what you do, then continue to lead them further into your story. Make it easy for them to work with you, purchase from you, sign up for your newsletter – or even binge-read your blog.
Need tips on general website design? Check out this post: Top 10 Website Design Tips
Reference: here’s a blog post from Donald Miller on home page layout
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