Sure, your website’s About page might cause the most angst, but usually, it’s the Home page that does the most damage. Why?
Because most people have no idea what their Home page even does. Sure, it’s your website’s welcome mat-- but what does that actually mean?
I’d like to take the mystery out of your Home page, because really? It only has one purpose and that purpose is pretty damn clear:
Your Home page’s goal is to keep the right people on the page.
Simple enough, right? So let’s look at how to do that.
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1. Use a header that shows what you offer
Think of your home page as the front door of the raging party that is your website. When a visitor lands on the welcome mat and rings the doorbell, what happens?
Does the door swing open to you welcoming them in, offering them a glass of bubbly, pointing out the food table and introducing them to someone they can talk to so they don’t feel awkward?
Or do they have to open the door themselves, tentatively peer into the throng of people and wonder if they’re in the right place? (If you said option #2, remind me to never come to one of your parties.)
Here’s the thing:
When a new visitor lands on your home page, they have one question and one question only: Am I in the right place?
And you need to answer that immediately. How?
Use a header that shows your key value proposition: what you offer and-- more importantly-- why they need it.
A strong, purposeful headline should help your target audience know right away if you have what they’re looking for. It should draw them in, show them what they’ll get if they stick around and compel them to want to know more.
Which will help keep them at your website party.
2. Use a sub-header or short text to give them a little more info
Your header shows them they’re at the right party, but sometimes your audience needs a little more information to know whether or not to stick around. But this doesn’t mean writing paragraphs of text about who you are and what you do.
One of the most common home page mistakes is overloading it with text.
Remember, your visitor literally JUST walked in the door. She still doesn’t know whether she wants to stick around. The last thing she needs is to be cornered by some oversharing motor-mouth who monopolizes the conversation with his entire life story before she can even get a damn drink.
So lose the paragraphs of text and use a sub-header or small blurb of text instead.
The goal is to give them just enough info to help them understand what you do, while also piquing their curiosity to make them want to click around and learn more. Intrigue your audience just enough at the start to get them wandering around the party to see what else there is to discover.
3. Guide them with clear calls to action
Now, when I say we want your website guests to “wander around,” I definitely don’t mean they should wander around confused and lost until they find themselves opening a closet door when they’re just trying to find the bathroom.
Don’t do that to your guests.
Help your website visitors explore your website by guiding them where they need to go.
Know they’re thirsty for information? Show them to the bar-- I mean your blog-- and recommend a post just for their tastes.
Do they need a solution to their problem right this second? Gently but firmly lead them to your “Work With Me” page.
It sounds a little controlling, but believe me, they’ll appreciate the guidance. Remember, they’re new here and the more you can help them have a good time, the longer they’ll stick around.
4. Build trust by being helpful, not pushy.
Now, I shouldn’t have to tell you this, but your home page is not the place to go in for the hard sell.
Sure, you can introduce your new visitor to offerings that might interest them, but it should be in a guiding, helpful way-- not in a “Hurry up and buy before you click away” way.
Because again, they just walked into a new place where they don’t know anyone. How weird would it be for you to come running at them and ask them to stay for the weekend??
Trying to hit a brand new visitor to your website with a hard sell is exactly like that.
Remember, people will only buy from you if they Know, Like and Trust you-- and that takes time.
This is a real relationship you’re trying to build, not some creepy pick-up tactic. Don’t just tell your audience you want to help them, show them you care enough about them to let them take the time they need before asking them to commit.
Play it right and you’ll have plenty of other opportunities to sell to them.
But play it wrong?
And they’ll be sneaking right back out the door before you can even offer them a drink.
How's your Home page party doing? How do you guide your guests around? Tell us in the comments!
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