You started off with creating great useful content for your website but did not enjoy the expected results & and wondering why.
While having good content is very important, a website also has to be usable for visitors to find it attractive and spend more time.
The homepage is without doubt THE most important page of your site because this is the first thing that all your visitors set their eyes on and first impressions do matter. It has to be impressive enough for a visitor to continue browsing the site and all you have is a few seconds to convince them that this is where they want to be and that your site has something that is of interest to them. It is the home page that decides where your visitors go: explore your website or leave your website to look for other options on the net.
A poorly done home page can destroy all chances of the objectives of your website within a few seconds, and you can be sure your visitors will leave without looking back.
A home page should not only look attractive but also be compelling. Compelling does not mean flashy or loud, it means that it should have all the elements necessary to fulfill your objectives. Whatever is needed to help the visitors make up their minds should be present on the home page. Here, we are talking about graphics that make the right impact, the content that offers appropriate information in the most genuine way possible, and more importantly, the navigation that links the home page with all other important pages on your site.
There is a reason why there is so much talk about home page design and why web designers spend most of their time tweaking the home page.
There are a few simple points to remember when creating the home page for your website:
Graphics: The use of appropriate background graphics or flash introductions on your home page helps visitors understand the topic of your website. If yours is a content-rich website, you will have to let your visitors find the information they need by providing deep links from the home page. But if you are creating an entertainment website, then the use of rich graphics and animation helps attract your visitors and gives them a glimpse of what your website is all about. But using flash heavily on the home page increases the loading time of the web page. Use flash only if it is relevant to your website, otherwise there is a possibility of it backfiring.
The Headline: The headline should be packed with specific benefits and grab the attention of your visitors. Business sites often have headlines that focus on the USP. A headline is very important as it summarizes what your site is all about. Use it at the very beginning so that it draws peopleâ€™s attention the moment they arrive at your website. Visitors these days are not inclined to go through long descriptions, so make your headline as crisp and concise as possible. Headlines are also used by the search engines to identify the subject of the web page.
Your headline should let your visitors know the advantages of being on your site. This could be something that saves them money, saves them time, helps them in their lives, helps them earn, provides them information, and so on.
Place the headline at the top center of your home page and use fonts that will attract attention.
Navigation: Proper navigation gives visitors an overview of the site and helps them find everything easily. They should be able to navigate different parts of your site with a single click.
A website should be simple in design and be unobtrusive without the use of overly complicated functions. Have you heard of â€œclick fatigue?â€
Navigation should be consistent throughout the website, appearing in the same place on all pages, including the home page. The buttons should be labeled in such a way that visitors know where they will be taken upon clicking on a button.
Effective Linking: As mentioned earlier, it is very important to ensure your internal web pages are well linked from your home page. Since the entry point to your site is the home page, search engines also prefer home pages that have a good navigation structure with hypertext links to all important subpages. You can also use thumbnail graphics for page links that you want visitors to notice. Larger graphic links that preview the topic can increase visitor curiosity, if used for important sections of the site.
Content: This is the content your visitors read after the headline and has to be very impressive. It should explain to them in detail what your site is all about. Making it clear and short ensures your visitors read it. Since the web is evolving constantly, it also helps to keep your website up-to-date. Keep all the text and content on the home page fresh. If you have a product website, then all the new arrivals should be given top priority.
Contact Info: You can have your contact information on a separate page. But make sure you provide a link to the contact information page from the home page. In fact, it is a good practice to have the link to the contact page from all the pages of the site. If you have any merit badges, display them on the home page, as it helps increase credibility.
Search Box: Including a search box helps visitors find what they need easily. Most professional websites have a search segment that allows multiple word query search.
Your intention must be visible on the homepage. You should be clear where you want your visitorsâ€™ attention to be focused. Visitors should not be overwhelmed with too many distractions, not knowing what they are supposed to do. In short, your home page is the blueprint for the success of your site. Everything else is organized around this one page that acts as an entry point.