Your website homepage is like your digital storefront. Ideally, it’s clean and inviting – yet eye-catching – otherwise customers are just going to walk right by. Oh, and you can’t have anything blocking the doorway, either.
Incorporate Mobile from the Start
Whether you adopt a responsive website design or a simple, separate, landing page for mobile users, at least have a plan. With browsing statistics consistently showing growth in mobile users, any new website design needs to have a home for this user-base. Because a website is always evolving, even after it goes live, a website often becomes more difficult over time to overhaul. Consider the cost of overhauling a huge site into being mobile friendly, as oppose to the cost of designing one from the start—the pay-off to start things right becomes clear.
Takeaway: Mobile devices are everywhere, be ready for them from the start.
In business, first impressions are everything. You know that, but it’s especially true on the Web, where attention spans are short and a universe of links are vying for your already-distracted potential customers’ attention. With that in mind, how does your landing page stack up? Here are some things to keep in mind for designing a great homepage.
Make an impression, fast.
The easiest thing a user can do is click away. Most research shows that your page has about 7 to 10 seconds to capture and hold the viewer’s interest before they navigate to another website. A splash page – with a clever animation or captivating photo – can be one way to grab a customer’s attention, but it needs to be good enough to compel them to click through.
A safer bet is a well-designed logo and one or two dominant images that quickly convey the theme and message that your business is attempting to get across.
Takeaway: Ask yourself, how much can you convey about your business in a single glance?
Keep things simple.
Avoid large blocks of dull, grey text. They’re not only boring to look at, but homepage visitors probably won’t read them. Other parts of the site can be used for more complex information. If visitors spend time browsing your website, you’ve already won their interest. A logo, a few carefully selected images and other multimedia, plus basic information are a good place to start. Also, don’t forget to use white space.
Takeaway: Design with an eye toward simplicity. If it’s not absolutely necessary, think about cutting it.
Don’t be annoying.
Use common sense. Clashing, garish colors, music or videos that play automatically, flashing text and other Web 1.0 gimmicks should be strictly avoided. Solicit feedback whenever possible. There are a number of sites that offer feedback via live user tests. Seek them out.
Takeaway: Be nice to your visitors.
Focus on your goals.
A good homepage is designed with your site’s purpose in mind. If your goal is to sell products online, a product showcase with the week’s hottest items might be a good front-page feature. If it’s to drive referrals, a contact form or another way of capturing sales leads should be front and center. Make it easy to do what you want your customers to do.
Takeaway: Always be thinking about what you want to accomplish through your website.