Website Design
Website Design

Today we live in a fast paced, give me what I want, society where most our interactions now with brands are online and not in person.  If you own a business and you have a website, then you have already opened your digital storefront.  I get asked a lot, “why is my homepage design so critical?”  In our experience, companies and small businesses alike are unaware of the immediate impact their website has on their business and reputation.  I ask that you look at your own online behavior as a guide.  

Let’s say for example you meet with a consultant or for a potential business partnership.  If you’re interested after the meeting, do you take that person’s word for it or do you look them up on Google/Facebook/Instagram?  If you find them and get directed to a basic and/or outdated website, with an obscure message, and stock photography, how does it make you feel?  Are you still excited to do business with this person or company?  Chances are you’re not and chances are people you’re meeting with draw the same conclusion if “you” haven’t taken the appropriate amount of time to improve or rebuild your own digital storefront.  Today we are defined and accredited by our online reputations and it’s critical that you’re always on top of your own.  Don’t hide from it. 

Here are the 5 key reasons your website homepage design is so critical and some pointers on how to improve each.

Your design represents your service/product

Want people to think you have a shitty product or service- offer it up through a shitty website.  Today’s web browser wants quality and convenience.  We’re not all created equal.  Hire a designer, ask your friends, and take the time to make sure you have a clean design that helps emphasize the quality of your product or service.  We’re all living in the world that Google and Apple created.  Follow their lead and keep your design simple, sleek, and to the point.

Here are some pointers:

  • Make sure your images match your audience.  If you offer products to families, don’t show happy millennials.
  • Don’t use your homepage branding to draw in a new customer type.  Stick to your lane and use internal pages to introduce new ideas and revenue opportunities
  • Be clear about what you offer, but keep it brief.  
  • Make sure your colors match your logo and branding.  People relate to colors and associate brands with colors.  Think about how you’re positioned.

People need to know immediately what your company does

We skim from left to right, we don’t read.  It’s very common for companies to spell out all of their services and offerings right at the top of their homepage.  Unfortunately, when you do this, the main content is typically overlooked.  When people land on your site they ask themselves- 1) Where am I?  2) What am I getting here?  3) What is this going to cost me?  Answer these questions and be concise.  If they like what you have to say, they’ll dive deeper to learn more.

Here’s an exercise to help you improve your visitor’s understanding:

  • Take out a pen and paper
  • On your desktop, quickly skim your website from left to right, write down what you read
  • Now on your mobile phone, quickly skim your website from left to right and scroll 1x, write down what you read
  • Do your notes align with what you want visitors to know about you or your company?
  • Do your notes match on desktop and mobile?  If they don’t, you have some work to do.

Get customers even if they’re not ready to buy

We have experience training and operating fairly large sales teams for some of the Hungry Media portfolio.  One simple concept we always train on is, “never show up to a sales meeting without the contract!”  Even if you’re confident the meeting will not result in a  close, there is always a chance that it will and not being prepared can delay revenue or worse, give your customer a chance to change their mind. 

Every session on your website should be treated like a potential customer ready to buy.  Call out solutions to common problems with your copy and make it easy for your customers to convert to a sale.  Today’s web browser has their payment information saved, their mobile wallet in front of them, and can easily be swayed by shiny objects.  

Here are some shiny object examples:

  • Case studies/Success stories
  • Engaging information/content will encourage users to share your page 
  • Provide additional materials (i.e. downloaded information, videos)
  • Opt-In forms/Lead capture
  • Remarketing (so your brand follows them onto other pages through ads) 
  • New products or limited time offers

Build credibility and trust

Simply put, you have at most, 15 seconds to establish your brand, your product, your credibility and build enough trust to keep your visitor for another 15 seconds.  It’s important that your visitors feel a sense of trust that you can deliver 

  • Create a lasting impression that brings customers back 
  • Case Studies/Success stories
  • Professional design. Quick loading.  Easy to navigate.  No spelling errors.  Ensure links work correctly. (There are websites that will allow you to test these items – Pingdom, Woorank)
  • Videos of products build confidence and trust in the product
  • If you have a great backstory, include it.  This will engage customers and encourage them to purchase.

Control what Google displays

  • Leaving a website stagnate can have search engines rank your page lower
    • Google mobile first indexing.  IF you have a mobile version of your website, Google will display that on smartphone searches. IF NOT, they will link to the desktop version but it is important to ensure your desktop version is mobile friendly.
    • Test desktop/mobile page to be sure it user friendly for mobile users
    • “search features depend on many factors, including the search device type, location, and whether Google thinks the feature would provide the best search experience for the user.”
    • Determine the type of result you want users to see on Google (though they don’t guarantee it will always show up that way) – result types include: breadcrumb/basic result, carousel,  rich result, enriched search result, review snippet) 
  • Structured data guidelines to control search results view
  • Present your content in a manner that it is readable by crawlers and bots
  • Perform regular content audits to track success (analytics metrics, SEO metrics, sales and loyalty)
  • Keywords are imperative to getting the correct traffic directed to your site.  (This will also affect conversion of traffic to sales)

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