Having a website for your company isn’t good enough anymore. Your website needs to be optimized – every page of it – to see the kind of ROI you want.
Although your site may have dozens or even hundreds of pages on it, website optimization begins with your homepage.
4 Website Optimization Techniques to Use on Your Homepage
In many ways, when people talk about conversion optimization, what they’re really talking about is website optimization. Your website is how most potential clients will first meet your company. If it isn’t optimized, there go your chances of a new customer.
While every page is important, it’s tough to argue that your homepage doesn’t bear the greatest burden. After all, this is the first one most people will see when they visit your site.
Use these four website optimization pointers to ensure you make the right first impression.
1. Make Your Message Loud and Clear
Visitors should have no doubt what your company does the moment they show up on your site.
This is especially true if you’re a startup or small-to-medium-sized business and lack the same kind of brand awareness that bigger companies have.
Later on, we’re going to cover how to attract your visitors’ eyes, but it’s important that you draw it to a message that will answer the question, “What does this company do?”
To make this even easier on yourself, simply tell the visitor what problem you solve.
For example, if you’re a personal trainer, you help people get in shape.
A lot of people don’t like working out, though. That’s another problem.
They don’t have a lot of time or money to spend on getting in shape, either – more problems.
Nonetheless, you want to address all of these right where the visitor is going to see it when they land on your homepage.
2. But Keep It Concise
This is why it’s important to be concise.
“Get in shape and have fun for just $25/class twice a week.”
Does that tell your whole story?
But it does immediately tell your visitor what it is you do and the problems you solve. This will buy you time, gaining enough interest from them that they’ll begin looking around your site to learn more.
This brings us to our third tip.
3. Don’t Make Your Visitors Work Too Hard
This is a common problem you see on startup and medium-size business sites. Instead of keeping their UX simple, they go out of their way to impress with a big production on their homepage.
The problem is that it’s impossible to navigate, or at least, it might as well be given that most people will only spend about a minute on your site before they go elsewhere if they don’t get what they want.
Just like your message, keep your homepage simple. Treat navigability as the main priority.
One really powerful way to do this with returning visitors is by using ecommerce personalization. In short, this technology “recognizes” a returning visitor and immediately puts content in front of them that is relevant based on their past choices on your site. No navigation required.
4. Utilize the Proper Visual Hierarchy
You’ve probably heard that it’s not what you say, but how you say it.
Well, a similar principle exists on your homepage. While it still matters what you write, it matters just as much how you write it.
This means understanding the following visual hierarchy principles:
- Page Scanning – People don’t begin reading when they land on your homepage. First, they scan. They’re trying to decide if it’s worth their time to actually go through the entire thing. For a homepage, they tend to follow a Z-pattern. This means they start at the top left of your page and scan all the way over to the right. Then they scan the center before doing the same left-to-right review at the bottom.
- Character Size – Simply put, people’s eyes are naturally drawn to larger characters. This is self-evident. You saw the title of this blog post before the words below it because their characters were so much bigger. Larger characters will even pull the eye from their normal zigzag scan we just mentioned, so make sure you only use them where they’ll be helpful. As we mentioned in step one, make your message loud. You can immediately communicate what your company is about by explaining it – concisely – in large characters right on the homepage.
- Negative Space – Don’t go so overboard with your attempts at superior UX that you create a cluttered page. Websites that use negative space well draw the eye to where they need it to go.
- Typefaces– Another way to control the eye is to use different typefaces throughout your homepage. This automatically stops the scanning eye – something new! – so if you have an important message to deliver, a different typeface is a reliable solution.
- Color and Tint – Similarly, brighter colors stand out from darker and muted ones. Lighter tints will make objects seem more distant. Play with these pairings, so you call attention to the most important sections of your homepage.
- Direction – Most homepages follow the grid system. This page layout makes the most sense because it puts text along horizontal and vertical lines. As such, you can once again break the scanner’s normal habit – and earn their attention – by putting text at a diagonal. You don’t want to overdo this as it will be difficult to read, but interrupting the grid system for a couple words will work well.
Don’t Underestimate Your Homepage
Every page on your website has its job.
Your homepage’s job is to convince people that the rest of your site is going to be worth their precious time. It’s not a sales page. It’s not the page to tell your company’s story. It’s not even where you show off your products or services.
Before you can do any of that, you need your visitor to believe they’ve found the right site. Use the four website optimization tips we covered above, and you’ll soon retain more visitors and stand a better chance of turning them into customers.