Digital marketing can get pretty complicated. We're here to cut through the noise and keep it simple. When it comes to optimizing your homepage, you could jump through any number of strategic hoops to hit your niche--but when it comes down to it, you just need your page to do one thing. Working through these 5 steps will give you the clarity you need to define that one thing and ensure that every aspect of your homepage points visitors in the right direction.
Know your goals
What do you want your homepage to do for you? If you can't answer that question right now without giving it a second thought, it's time to do a little digging. Jot down the answers to these questions, and you'll have a road map to guide every step of your home page strategy.
- Who are your users? Are they retirees in the over-60 crowd, moms of toddlers, or executives in the medical technology industry? What problems are they trying to solve?
- Where are your users coming from? How are they getting to your website in the first place? An ad, a social media site, an email list, or search engines?
- What do your users need? If they clicked on an ad, an email link, or a search result, they're hoping you have a solution to their problem. What's their problem or question, and what's your answer?
- What do you want your users to do? Do you want them to fill out a "contact us" form, sign up for a mailing list, come into your storefront, request a quote, or make a direct purchase from your site?
Once you've ironed out the answers to the above questions, you can target your copy to speak your readers' language, demonstrate you understand their need, and position yourself as the solution that just makes sense. When that happens, your CTA doesn't feel gimmicky. It feels like the answer to your visitor's prayers, and it sets you up to knock your conversions out of the park.
Cut the distractions
If your homepage is crammed with text, visuals, and links, it feels more like noise than a breath of fresh air. Your homepage needs just the basics to stand out from the crowd. With an easy-to-navigate menu system, it will be easy for users to dig deeper. But your home page should be a slim, surface-level demonstration that you're the solution your visitor has been searching for. These tips will help you lighten up your homepage and hone in on your message with laser-like focus:
- Keep images highly relevant to your message. Stock photos of a smiling face probably aren't going to touch an emotional chord with your readers; make sure your images highlight your problem/solution focus. Say goodbye to any images that aren't up to par.
- Don't use too many visuals. If you have a great designer (or like working out your own design skills), it can be tempting to fill your homepage with snazzy visuals. But even the most attractive visuals can add competing visual clutter, so make sure the ones you choose to include are highly relevant.
- Keep text short and sweet. No one's going to read a long paragraph on your homepage. Keep text to a sentence or two at a time. Bullet points and white space are your friends.
- Don't incorporate irrelevant calls to action or forms. We recommend having just one call to action on your homepage. If you overdo it with request-for-quote forms, feedback forms, contact-us forms, and email opt-in requests, you'll create confusion that sends visitors running.
Choose one action. Direct visitors there. Hone all your home page content to point toward that single goal.
Add clear value headlines
A key to keeping your homepage copy light and effective? Choose a few brief, clear value headlines that tell your readers that you get their struggle and you're there to solve their problem. The best value headlines are usually customer-focused. Talk about the solution or about your customer and keep the focus there, then follow up with a line or two of text that beefs up that concept.
Headline: Protect your growing business without breaking the bank.
Following text: Go with the local firm that gets you. ABC Insurance has been teaming up with local business owners through seasons of growth and change for over 40 years.
Headline: Unearthly flavor on your schedule.
Following text: Baked goods that could have come straight from heaven's ovens, catered fresh to your next event. Your guests will thank you.
Headline: Your innovations are going to save lives.
Following text: But marketing medical tech isn't easy. You've got the genius; we've got the marketing know-how to get your dreams off the ground.
Focus on one CTA
We hinted on this above: choose one CTA. Keep it focused. But landing on a single CTA that garners as many conversions as possible isn't always easy. Keep in mind that you're in this for the long haul, and don't be afraid to do a few test runs to see what works. Try choosing a couple of different CTAs and run an A/B comparison over a couple of weeks (or months). Track conversions over time to see which CTA performs better, and adjust your strategy accordingly.
If conversions aren't as high as you'd like, you might need to bump your CTA to a more prominent space on your homepage. Make sure the colors, font style, and visual focus of your page points visitors to your CTA; if it's buried at the bottom of the page, it's not likely to hit the mark.
Keep every word on-task
Your homepage content should be short but compelling, offering high-value information and solutions to your visitors' problems. This goes back to the questions you answered in Step 1. Target every sentence to position yourself as the answer to your visitors' problem or question, and link to value-added posts, articles, or relevant pages elsewhere on your site. No matter what outline or strategy you follow, make sure your site has a logical flow. In general, we like to see homepages that follow this basic flow:
- Problem (the issue the user is having/the question they need answered)
- Solution (why you're poised to proved the info or service your visitor needs)
- Credibility (beef up your claims via a brief experience overview, testimonials, or links to highly valuable content)
This format creates a logical flow that tracks well with users to most sites. It's always a good idea to run an A/B comparison with homepage content as well, giving each approach a week (or a few weeks) to test performance and see what generates the most engagement.
It's also a great idea to follow-up with testimonials, case studies, or other data that positions you as the results-oriented solution your visitors need. You do awesome work. Showcase it. Testimonials might be the most brief, valuable cred-builders you can add to your homepage, but you can also link to case studies, galleries of your work, or other online evidence of your problem-solving panache.
Still stymied by the process? Find out how Umbraco can help streamline your content creation and marketing strategy--without breaking a sweat.