The chances are extremely high in 2018 that your website is going to be the first point of contact for most of your potential customers and business partners.
This means that your homepage has to work flawlessly, sharing key messages about your business instantly to each of your audience groups and presenting your brand in its best light.
To ensure you make the best first impression possible and convert those prospects into customers, here are six experts tips guaranteed to help optimise your website’s homepage.
Tip #1: Define Your Goals
Before you do anything, you need to know the purpose of your homepage. Are you trying to educate your audience or get them to purchase a particular product? If so, do you need to incorporate a range of calls to action and link out to specifics parts of your website?
A clear understanding of your goals will give your homepage a purpose that can be reflected in your buyer’s journey and overall user experience. If a clear direction isn’t built into the website from the beginning, no matter how much you try optimise your homepage, it’s destined to fail.
Tip #2: Benchmark Your Performance
Now you have a clearer idea of your goals, it’s time to ask yourself how your homepage is currently performing. By asking this and doing an honest assessment, the future work on your homepage will be guided by strategy rather than a general idea of what you think will get you better results.
To get a clear understanding of how your website is performing, you’ll need to delve into an analytics platform (most commonly Google Analytics) and start tracking critical data and metrics. Doing this will help you build a story about how your homepage is being used, including where it needs improvement and what is already working well.
Tip #3: Rethink Your Content
Now you’ve studied your goals and current performance, the next step is to assess how the content of your homepage is either failing to or helping you succeed.
Is the language and overall message clear? Are your CTAs weak? Is it difficult for your visitors to understand in which direction they should go?
Don’t be afraid to pursue some professional opinions at this stage. Copywriters are specialists in creating content that fulfils a purpose, not least because they look at your business from the outside and write from the perspective of the user.
A graphic designer will also be able to help you think about how your content is presented and formatted on the page. They’ll help you with questions such as: Am I making the most of the real estate that’s available to me at the moment? Could my images be used more effectively? Could the content be better arranged to help visitors navigate more effectively?
Tip #4: Think About SEO
Your homepage is only as useful as it is visible. Even if you have a homepage with the clearest goals and the best content, without the visitors to interact with it, it’s as good as useless.
When rethinking your content and developing new strategies, it’s important to start thinking about SEO. The best copywriters, designers, and web developers will do this as part of their working process as today, SEO is all about relevance, performance, and functionality.
Working with an SEO professional will also help you develop keyword and ranking strategies. These are crucial if you are to target your homepage to a specific audience and ensure it caters to their needs.
Tip #5: Perfect Your Above-the-Fold Content
Above-the-fold content is defined as the content that appears on a screen before a user has to scroll down. In other words, the most important stuff that needs to load quickly, engage your reader, and encourage them to read on or take action.
There are technical techniques that can be used to make sure your above-the-fold content loads before anything else, such as lazy loading of assets. You should use these techniques to optimise your website’s homepage as efficiently as possible, as well as study attention-grabbing techniques such as how to harness certain cognitive biases.
Tip #6: Watch People Use Your Website
If you can’t see a story emerging in your analytics data, or you feel your content is already working very well, maybe it’s time to do some A/B split testing, get a small focus group together, or even just watch a friend or colleague use and navigate your homepage.
It’s surprising how much you can learn by doing this. You will get a new appreciation for the way other people interact with your homepage, leading to some fresh insights and discoveries about which parts really need optimising.
Never stop Optimising
Your homepage should be continually evolving to keep pace with new trends and developing consumer habits. It’s probably helpful for you to look at your homepage as always being in a state of change: it’s never quite finished and there’s always another tweak or technique that could engage your visitors more.