This page is your company’s virtual front door and is responsible for most of your website traffic. Despite its prominence, many companies struggle to optimize it properly.
You can see that your home page has to wear a lot of hats. Instead of treating it like a special landing page rebuilt around one specific activity, it should be designed to serve a different audience of different backgrounds. And in order to do that effectively, it needs to be built purposefully. In other words, you need to add elements that drive traffic, educate visitors, and drive conversions.
To improve your website’s performance, look at the elements that every website should have.
12 critical elements that every website website must have
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What you should add to the website design of your website
Within three seconds, the website must tell visitors what the company offers. There comes your title. It may be just a few words, but it is one of the most important pieces of copy for your website.
There are many types of people who can visit your website and you have a hard time finding a word that works for everyone. Instead, write your headline to target the third of people who are most likely to be happy with your product.
Keep the title yourself clear and simple. DropboxThe title is a great example: “Everything you need to work, all in one place.” It’s simple, but powerful – no need to decode jargon to understand what Dropbox actually does.
Your subtitle should complement the title by providing a brief description of what you do or offer. You can do this effectively by zeroing in on the usual sore spot your product or service solves.
Here is an example of a great subtitle Mirror: “Hidden visible.” It enhances the main point of sale of the mirror hall: it is a complete home gym, personal trainer and training plan that are all comfortable in your home without taking up a valuable square meter with equipment.
To optimize your titles For mobile devices, use larger fonts to provide a better experience for your visitors. Small fonts can force mobile visitors to tweak and zoom to read and interact with the content on their site. Our advice? Use your page editor’s title options. H1 headers are ideal for page titles – a page should have only one H1. Subheadings should follow the order of the hierarchy H2, H3 … H6, etc. There may be several of these titles, just make sure they are in order. For example, you don’t want to jump from H1 to H3 – choose H2 instead.
3. Initial calls for action
The purpose of your website is to force visitors to dig deeper into your website and take it down the funnel. Add two to three calls to action that take people to different stages of the shopping cycle – and place them in easy-to-find places.
These CTAs should be visually striking, ideally a a color that contrasts with the color scheme of your website however, matching the overall design. Keep your copy short – no more than five words – and action-oriented so that it drives visitors to click on whatever you offer. Examples of a CTA copy are “Register,” “Agree an appointment,” or “Try it for free.”
After school headquartersThe website has two CTAs at the top of the page, both aimed at program directors who are interested in promoting their after-school programs to families on the site. A note under the longer “Create Your Free Profile” CTA gives visitors the boost they need to create an account – the first step in becoming an Afterschool headquarters provider.
4. Supportive image
Most people are visual. Be sure to use a picture (or even a short video) that clearly shows what you have to offer. Use pictures that capture emotions, guide activities, and visually tell the story you are writing about.
To optimize images for mobile users, use high-quality images with smaller file sizes. (HubSpot customers don’t have to worry about this, because images uploaded to HubSpot software are automatically compressed. Otherwise, tools such as TinyPNG does the trick.) Also always add alternate text to your pictures make them more accessible to visitors using screen readers and take your SEO efforts up.
The 4 river smoke house The website is a great example of emotional images: it contains a series of short, high-definition and snack videos that can be played behind a simple title, subtitle and primary CTA:
It is important not only to describe what you are doing, but also why your action is important. Prospects want to know about the benefits of buying from you, because that’s what forces them to stick with it.
Keep the copy light and easy to read and speak the language of your customers. Evernote does a great job of listing the benefits of your website in a way that is compelling, visually pleasing, and easy to understand:
6. Social proof
Social proof is a powerful indicator of trust. Your product or service may be the best in the world, and it’s okay to say that – people just can’t believe you if they can’t hear it from other people. And that’s what social proof does.
Only add some of the best (short) quotes to the home page and, if necessary, a link to the case studies. Adding a name and photo gives these testimonials more credibility. Lesson nails it to its website with glowing testimonials from real customers.
The design and content of your website navigation can mean the difference between website conversion and bounce. To reduce the impact rate, give your visitors a clear path to the pages they need right from the home page. Make the navigation menu visible at the top of the page and organize the links in a hierarchical structure.
No one knows your website better than those who helped design it, so for sure perform user tests to make it easy and intuitive for visitors to find what you’re looking for on your site. If possible, add a search box. (You can find more information about navigating the website in this blog post.)
Here is an example of a clear, well-structured navigation plan Slim & Husky’s Pizza Beeria home page:
8. Content Bidding
If you want to generate even more sales leads from your website, use a really great content offer, such as a white paper, e-book, or guide. People who may not be ready to buy may prefer to download an offer that gives them more information on an interesting topic. If you need inspiration, there are several different content types to choose from.
9. Secondary calls for action
With secondary CTAs on your website to provide additional conversion opportunities to potential customers who are not interested in your main goal Think of them as an emergency plan: they offer a new opportunity to visitors who are not yet ready for something as dedicated as you want.
Although your primary CTAs should be higher than the top of the page, place secondary CTAs at the bottom of the page to give visitors things to click on when they scroll down. For example, below folding on top SpanxOn the website, you will find three clearly marked invitations to action that give people who have scrolled so far a few more clicks. These secondary CTAs are designed for two different types of conversions: one on the left side is $ 20 cheaper and the other – buy now to explore the online catalog.
In addition to the benefits, list some of their key features. It gives people a better understanding of what your products and services offer. Again, keep the copy light and easy to read. Dropbox for businessesFor example, don’t be afraid to show the matrix directly on your website, under the flap.
Again, most visitors to your website aren’t ready to buy yet … yet. Provide a link to a resource center for people looking for more information, where they can browse relevant information. This will not only keep them longer on your website, but will also help you establish your credibility as a thought leader in your field.
Lovesac adds a source link to the footer under the fold. Note how all of these secondary CTAs cover several stages of the buying cycle: a credit card link to help customers buy their furniture easily, a fabric sample guide for those who are still looking for the perfect color before making a purchase, and a web directory for people in the new furniture market. but not yet ready to make a purchase.
12. Success indicators
In addition to customer success stories, both awards and recognition help to make a good first impression. Is your business a critically acclaimed restaurant? Were you voted the best new app of the year? Let your website visitors know about your accomplishments. Like social proof, it gives your business more credibility to those who don’t know you.
On top Calendly ‘On the website you will find, for example, the names of these well-known organizations Gartner and Dropbox.
A website worth visiting
The homepage of your site is the first introduction that every visitor to your business receives. Before they decide to become a customer, they will review your website to get an idea of what you are selling, why it is important to them, and how they can benefit from what you have to offer.
Make a first impression with a website that contains the above elements. And for inspiration, check out great examples on the websites by downloading the free search book below.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in January 2012 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy and completeness.