Having a company website is crucial for marketing and running your business online yet many marketers make these homepage mistakes.
Even if you operate in a local, brick-and-mortar store, having a site will help you stay connected and engaged with your target audience. Not only is it a place to share information and update your target audience and customers, but it can also be a powerful tool for attracting new business.
However, merely having a website isn't enough. If your page doesn't accurately portray who you are as a business or it is difficult for your visitors to engage with, your website may be hurting you. In particular, if your homepage isn't up-to-speed, you may find that it does very little to attract new attention or keep past customers coming back for more.
Today, your website is usually the first thing a potential new customer will see when investigating your brand. That means your site can determine whether or not that individual ultimately becomes a customer. To convert as many visitors as possible into high-quality, paying customers, you need to ensure you're developing a robust online image. [toc]
Your homepage is the foundation of your entire website. As a landing page for all of your website traffic, you can't afford to make mistakes with your homepage. Unfortunately, many companies are guilty of homepage mishaps that may be costing them their business.
To help you improve your online image, here are four major homepage mistakes you may be making, as well as some tips you can use to enhance your image and please your visitors.
1. Your Website Design Is Overwhelming or Outdated
The overall design of your website sets the tone for your page. As the framework for how your content, information, videos, and images are displayed, the design of your website needs to be up-to-date and easy to absorb. If the first impression of your site is that it is difficult to read or does not look modern, visitors may leave immediately.
No matter the industry you serve, your target audience probably spends a lot of time on the internet. That means they engage and interact with dozens of websites every day. They know the new forms of technology and the features different websites may have, and they've come to expect a certain level of standards whenever they visit a new site. If you're not meeting their expectations, it may hurt your authority.
Think about what happens when you visit a website that is outdated. If the design looks old or appears as though you haven't uploaded new content in quite some time, the site will seem abandoned. If you're not maintaining your website, visitors may assume you've gone out of business or you don't care about the impression you're making. Because of this, they may turn to a competitor.
However, having a modern website doesn't mean your page needs to be busy. If you're trying to include too many features, pop-ups, videos, images, and text boxes, you're going to overwhelm your visitor. If they're not sure what to look at first or what information is the most important, they may close out of your site.
When designing your website, always be sure to keep your user's experience in mind. Think about what information they may need when they land on your page and be sure to present it to them in an eye-catching but not overwhelming way. Update the overall design of your website every couple of years and be sure to keep up with the changing expectations of your target audience.
2. Your Visitor Can't Understand Your Navigation
When a new visitor lands on your homepage, they're going to be looking for the information they need to move forward. If they already know which page they'd like to go to, their first thought is to go to your navigation, but if it isn't easy to locate or is difficult to use, this can drive your visitor away from your page altogether.
Many business owners try to get overly creative with the way they design their websites. While they want their page to stand out and be memorable, these artistic choices can sometimes make it difficult for their visitor to explore the site quickly. When the visitor is unable to find the information they're looking for, they may become frustrated, creating a bad impression on your business and brand.[bctt tweet=”While marketers want their page to stand out and be memorable, many artistic choices can make it difficult for their visitor to explore the site quickly.” username=”nicolasfradet”]
Many visitors will expect to see your navigation on the top of your website; sometimes, including it along the left-hand side of the screen can also be acceptable. However, be sure that it is displayed prominently. If it is hidden or needs a unique trigger to appear, this may be too difficult for your visitor to find or understand.
The design of your navigation isn't the only problem you may experience; you also need to ensure the pages within it are labeled. While original labels can help grab attention and create a strong impression on your visitors, you don't want to try so hard that your content becomes confusing. If you're going to go down the creative path, then be sure the labels still clearly tell your visitors where it will lead them.
Keep your navigations simple and to the point. While you want to make a strong impression on your website, there are some other areas to include your creative influence. By filling your customers' expectations about your navigation, you can ensure they find the content they need to move further down the sales funnel.
3. You're Not Telling Visitors What To Do NextWhen a new website visitor lands on your page, they may already know where they'd like to go. However, more often than not, your visitor is unsure of what their next step should be. If you're not providing them with some direction to help them figure out what information they need, they may become trapped on your homepage.
Many companies create their homepage to tell the story of their brand. While this information is essential and can help you build lasting relationships with your target audience, your customers need first to understand what you can do for them. That means you need to focus on their needs before you begin talking about yourself.
Your homepage needs to describe how you can help your various customers. If you offer different packages, services, or products, your homepage should help direct your visitor toward the path that can help them best, which means the page needs to serve as a directory for everyone who lands on your page.[bctt tweet=”Your homepage should help direct your visitor toward the path that can help them best, which means the page needs to serve as a directory for everyone who lands on your page.” username=”nicolasfradet”]
Consider the questions or concerns your visitors may have when they land on your homepage. When you know what your target audience is looking for, you can design the right plans to help each visitor find what they need. Depending on the products or services you offer, you may have one solution, or you may need to direct your audience members in a few different ways.
When trying to find the right way to connect with your target audience on your homepage, always be sure to track and measure your results. Make small shifts and changes and gauge whether or not your audience reacts positively to those changes. The better you can understand your target audience, the stronger your homepage will become.
4. You're Trying to Include Too Much Content
When a visitor lands on your homepage, they need to decide whether or not you're the right company for them. That means they will evaluate the content that you've shared and determine if they believe you're capable of solving their problems. If they don't find what they're looking for, they'll leave your site and check out your competition.
Unfortunately, the fear of losing visitors often pushes business owners to put as much information as possible on their homepage. Because they fear the visitor won't leave the homepage to check out other sites, they try to squeeze as much content as they can onto the home screen. However, this often affects the visitor adversely.
Just as a too-busy homepage design can push a visitor away, a homepage with too much content can make it more difficult for the visitor to find what they need. With their eye pulled in a million different directions, they may become overwhelmed. If the information they need is lost in a sea of text or is otherwise difficult to find, they're likely to turn away to find a simpler solution.
Your homepage should be an overview of everything that is on your site. Instead of trying to squeeze all the details onto the home screen, focus only on what is important. Your target audience member is probably expecting to need to browse around a bit, but it needs to be easy for them to find the links, videos, downloads, or other content that they're seeking.[bctt tweet=”Your homepage should be an overview of everything that is on your site. Instead of trying to squeeze all the details onto the home screen, focus only on what is important.” username=”nicolasfradet”]
Remember that your website visitors also like to scan. If you're putting too many long paragraphs on your homepage, you probably won't have many visitors reading your content. Instead, stick to bullet points, strong headers, and short paragraphs that your visitor can easily skim. Then include appropriate links to additional reading materials so your audience can learn more.
Your homepage needs to be a strong representation of all that you can offer. As the first and potentially only page a new visitor will view on your website, you need to ensure it is well crafted, concise, and up-to-date. Don't allow one of these four major mistakes to hold you back from becoming more successful.