Hi! My name is Ollie, I'm the director of Lightly Salted. Today I want to talk to you about your homepage or as some call it, your front page.
For many websites it is the homepage that receives the most traffic. We can harness this traffic if we understand where it comes from and why.
I'm hoping that with this advice you will start to understand the role of your homepage in 2020 and how to improve it.
Back in May 2020 I wrote a comprehensive blog post. I called it, 'The Ultimate Guide to Small Business Websites.' Dramatic, I know!
In this post I talked about how website owners used to, and still do, view their homepage.
'In the past homepages were a competitive place. Businesses would pack them full of every service they offer in great detail. They would list latest blog posts, events they were running and everything else. Most small businesses still do...'
Why is this a problem?
In packing your homepage full of lots and lots of information and content, your users may find not end up clicking on anything at all. As Sheena Iyengar, a professor at Columbia Business School said,
"Too many choices can overwhelm us and cause us to not choose at all..."
To audit your homepage for 'information overload' yourself try to aim for:
- 1 main button (call to action) at the top of your page, followed by 2-3 secondary buttons
- Around 300 words
Like road traffic, your website can come from lots of different places. Most of the traffic on a small business's. website usually comes from a search engine or a social media post.
Organic traffic - This is likely the most common source of your homepage's traffic. Organic traffic is from search engines, like Google, DuckDuckGo or Bing.
Referred traffic - This is likely a common source of your homepage's traffic. Referrals are usually from social media like LinkedIn or Facebook.
Direct traffic - Handed out any business cards lately? When someone enters your website address straight into their browser's address bar this counts as direct traffic.
Now, let's get into the mind of someone who gets to your website through a search engine. This person has searched for the name of your business or keywords around your business. Your website has come up in the search engine results page - great!
This person has either clicked on your website because:
- They are looking for your business and want to learn about you
- They are looking for a product or service, that you provide and so your website was relevant
With the above in mind we can create a homepage that satisfies these intentions.
I talk about this in greater depth in this post, that I mentioned earlier, but here's a set of to-dos that you can work through.
- Explain your business in a concise, clear and visually compelling way
- Prove that your small business is an expert in your sector
- Answer some frequently asked questions about your brand or services/product - this grows trust and credibility
- Include one main call to action (CTA)
- Allow your brand's personality to shine through in a natural way
- Build trust
- Make the page centre around your prospects and the benefits of your business/services/products to them
The best way to share your website on social media is by being specific. For example, if you wanted your audience to read your latest blog post you would probably give them the direct link to the blog post on your website, rather than your homepage.
Your homepage is sometimes called a 'landing page', because often its purpose is to push your users further into your website.
Referral traffic is still a way that your users will reach your website, but it's not as common. This group of users don't need as much of our attention, it is better to focus on the expectations of our Organic Traffic.
That said, the following to-dos will still benefit all users of your homepage.
Ensure that the homepage is clear in explaining your business. Make sure it pushes users into the next action (next page or maybe a form to join your mailing list). If you do refer a link to your homepage, or someone else does, the user landing on your website will now know what you do and what they should do next.
When someone types in your website address in their address bar it will be recorded as direct traffic and they will land on your homepage.
For these people, we would treat them in a similar way to your referral traffic. These users are going to your website to learn more about you and the product/service you provide. Action the to-dos from the Organic Traffic and Referral Traffic sections above and you Direct Traffic will be happy.
We've looked at optimising for different types of traffic coming into your homepage, but what next?
Once people land on your homepage, we must help them to make their next action one that we want them to take.
We don't have long attention spans, we need to work with this simple fact, not against it.
When a user lands on the homepage we need to make sure that we give them a clear call-to-action, which sends them to another part of your website or to a conversion goal.
We could encourage them to look at your latest offer, go to a sign-up form, or maybe just learn more about your services.
By optimising your homepage you can encourage your prospects to take action, to learn about your brand, to sign-up to a list.All of these actions can in turn lead to prospects becoming clients.
First we talked about understanding some of the common problems facing homepages in 2020. We understood where the traffic will mainly be coming from (organic, referrals, direct). I set out some to-dos for you to work through. Finally we looked at the important of a call-to-action (CTA) to get users to do what we want them to do.
Thank you so much for reading. If there's anything else that should be here or you have any questions, please do reach out to me.