What to include on your homepage
January 14, 2022
No matter what you’re selling, the homepage is probably the most important part of your website. The adage that first impressions matter is a cliché for a reason: it’s true! People are short on time, and want to be able to find information quickly. If they don’t think your product or service will solve their problem—or if they have to do too much digging to work out what you’re offering—then they’ll leave.
We like to approach a homepage as six sections, each serving a different but vital purpose. If this sounds formulaic, don’t worry. There’s plenty of room to make a website your own via design features. Think of the below sections as the fundamentals—the key ingredients in a great recipe.
Section 1: Above the fold
The phrase ‘above the fold’ comes from the days of printed newspapers, when the upper half of the paper’s front page was devoted to the biggest story—meaning that even when the paper was folded and stacked for sale, the important news was still visible.
These days, the phrase is used in web design to describe a similar thing: elements positioned in the portion of the browser visible when a page loads, before a user scrolls down.
If your website is a city, then this is its prime real estate. To make the most of it, we suggest applying the ‘grunt test’. To do this, show someone your website for five seconds, then close the browser and ask the following questions:
- What does the business offer?
- How will it make your life better?
- What do you need to do or purchase to get started?
A visitor to your site should be able to answer these after a five-second scan of your homepage—if they can’t, then they’re probably bouncing elsewhere. After all, we’re short on time and short on attention, and there are plenty more Google search results to investigate.
Section 2: The stakes
In this section, it’s time to outline why you’re the best choice: help the customer to understand what could happen if they don’t do business with you. (Except you’ll make it sound less threatening than that.) To do this, you should identify:
- The problem faced by your customer
- How that problem makes them feel
- Why this is unsatisfactory
Section 3: The value proposition
Here’s where you explain the benefits experienced by your customer when they purchase your product or service. This should be concise and compelling.
Section 4: The guide
Next, it’s time to show you’re ready and willing. This section should demonstrate both empathy (i.e. that you care about your customer’s primary problem) and authority (i.e. that you have the expertise and skill to help solve this problem). A new visitor to your site should feel like they’re in capable hands.
Section 5: The products
Showcase your most popular products—this gives your audience a visual introduction to what you’re selling, and, hopefully, affirms their interest.
Section 6: The explanatory paragraph
For this section, put yourself in the shoes of a prospective customer, and think of the top five reasons why they might choose not to purchase your product or service. Next, write a short statement that overcomes these anticipated objections or barriers. If your product is standing desks, for instance, this statement might be something like:
With over 67% of Australians overweight or obese, traditional desks aren’t doing us any favours. A standing desk fitted for your body can help you to live a healthier lifestyle, improve your posture, and decrease your risks of developing conditions later on.
Long story short
There’s no one-size-fits-all template for a perfect homepage, but the model above covers all the important bases—helping to draw customers to your site, and to drive conversion.
Want to know more? Say hello —we’d love to talk shop.