The homepage of your website is the most important page of your site. It’s where the majority of visitors enter your site and you only have a few seconds to grab their attention and connect with them. It’s key that visitors like your site and can find what they’re looking for quickly and easily. If not, they move on to another site and you’re out of luck.
To make sure that doesn’t happen to you, we’ve included the following Website Checklist for Your Home Page with 10 “Must Have” Items to help you make the most of your website.
1. Logo and Brand Identifier
Include your company logo and tagline at the top of the page so visitors will instantly know what website they are visiting. Also include other branding elements (i.e. tagline, color scheme, key selling points, etc) so that you are consistent across all marketing vehicles. Include images that clearly communicate and relate to what your business does.
2. Phone Number
Feature your company’s phone number prominently in the upper right hand corner of the home page as well as every page of the website. You want to make it as easy as possible for clients and prospective clients to get in touch with you. While most traffic will enter your website through the home page, they are many gates to entry for your site and you don’t want people to have to search for your contact information.
3. Contact Us
Include either a contact us page in the main navigation bar or an email link directly on the home page. Again, you want to make it as easy as possible for people to contact you without having to search for your contact info. Avoid including your actual email address on the website as this will increase the amount of SPAM in your inbox.
It’s a best practice to use a contact form where you can collect basic information from the person so that you’ll have better insight on them before contacting them. Keep it short (around 5 data fields or so) and in addition to basic contact information, ask them to indicate what product(s) or service(s) they are interested in, how you can help them and how they heard about you so that you can track the source of your leads. If you have a brick and mortar business, then also include the hours and days of the week that you are open. Finally, include a “get directions” link.
4. Clear Navigation
Include a simple navigation bar either across the top of the page or down the side of the page with working links. If your site has numerous pages, then incorporate a drop down menu instead of trying to crowd too many links in the main navigation. Also, be sure to test your links regularly or use Google Webmaster tools to make sure that they are working. Broken links will lead to incomplete orders or traffic navigating away from your site.
5. Compelling Headline
Include a strong headline that stands out and conveys why your audience should use your product or service. In other words, what you can do for them? Following the headline, include key marketing messaging via bullet points and focus on what sets you apart from your competition.
6. Call To Action
What action do you want your visitors to take? Do you want them to register for an event, sign up for a free trial or place an order or learn more about a product or service? Incorporate a clear call to action that stands out from the other content on the home page. We’ve seen too many businesses that simply try to put everything including the kitchen sink on their home page. Nobody wants to spend time to have to read through the muddle, instead keep the content on the home page limited to only the key marketing communications. You have an entire website to house the majority of the content so keep the home page clean, simple and concise.
7. Company Overview
At a glance, identify the products or services that your company provides. Avoid going into too much detail on the home page because before you know it, there will be a ton of content on the homepage which visitors will not read. Instead the idea is that you want to provide an overview which will hook the reader to want to learn more, therefore clicking through deeper within the site where you provide more details on a particular product or service. Include a “read more” link where the reader can learn more. Also remember to include your keywords within the content of your website.
8. Email Opt-In Form
Include an opt-in form on your home page as well as every page of the site for the reasons outlined above. Be creative and provide reasons why a visitor should sign up to receive your company newsletter. For example, include an overview of the type of information that is included, the frequency or include a special offer like a discount on their first order or maybe a free download as a thank you for signing up. If you are using an email service provider like Constant Contact, the entries will automatically be added to your email database which will generate a welcome email that you can customize (i.e. include the coupon or link to download, etc.).
9. Social Media Icons
It has been reported that only 20% of small businesses feature their social media icons on their website. Whether your company is on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Pinterest, you want to promote your company’s social media presence and provide a direct link to the social media site. Essentially, you want to give your audience a choice for how to connect with you while making it as easy as possible for them to do so.
10. Google Analytics
Have your webmaster incorporate Google Analytics on every page of your website. Google Analytics is free and provides an incredible amount of comprehensive data including metrics like: how many visitors were on your site, what percentage of the traffic was new (never been to your site before), how long are visitors staying on the site, what are the traffic sources, and what are the top content pages.
For any business, it is critical to track and measure metrics so that you can determine how effective any marketing initiative is performing. It is no different when it comes to your website. You want to track your website stats to determine the effectiveness of your website. By tracking your website stats, you’ll be able to see what’s working and what is not. It’s a great way to test different content, offers or incentives to see which is best converting for your target audience.