We could write an entire book about what you need on your website homepage and still feel like we aren’t telling you everything. And what’s funny is that other designers, developers, and SEO strategists might give you a different list. However, we’ve compiled five of the most important elements you should include on your homepage that are listed most often by industry experts.
A value proposition or a picture of success
When potential clients visit your website, they shouldn’t have to look far to know what you and what success with you looks like. The best way to get this information across is to include a value proposition. In just a few words, tell your visitors what problem you solve for them and how you do it better than the competition. At Rise, the value proposition we offer is:
In a world surrounded by digital clutter, we help you share your message so it stands out to your customers. We use our expertise in digital marketing, search engine optimization and social media management so you can spend your time doing what you do best, providing a product or service that only YOU can offer your customers.
We identify the problem of digital clutter, which refers to the fact that consumers are inundated with information about products and services available to them all day, everyday. We say up front that we solve this problem by making our customers’ messages stand out. How do we do that? We offer expertise in digital marketing, social media management, and search engine optimization that frees up time for these business owners to concentrate on the parts of their business that they offer to their own customers.
This information needs to be positioned “above the fold.” This phrase calls back to best practices in newspaper printing, when editors would put the most important information on the part of the paper that faced up toward readers on stands and in stores. These headlines would catch attention and influence purchases, and that’s what your value proposition should do!
Include specific services
So now that your site visitor knows what problem you solve, they also need to know what specific services or products you offer. This information doesn’t have to land above the fold, but it does need to appear and be specific and engaging. Nothing has changed about the notion that a picture is worth a thousand words, so it’s not a bad idea to include images of products, as well as satisfied customers using those products or enjoying your services. Show your potential customers what success with you looks like!
Include clear calls to action
Visitors to your website need guidance, and it’s perfectly fine to be bossy. Tell people exactly what they need to do and where they need to go to work with you. On our site, for example, calls to action include “Learn More,” “Work with Us,” “Contact Us,” “Start Today,” and other similar imperatives. These are clear and direct calls to action, based on the context of the information surrounding them. Your website is not the place to be vague or shy.
Calls to action should also stand out. While simple text links to your contact page or sign-up form are functional, they may not be as effective as you would like them to be. When possible, format your calls to action as buttons or full CTA blocks!
Include customer reviews
You know how wonderful you are at providing your products and services, but customers want to hear it from someone other than you. Including customer reviews is absolutely the best way to convince new people to work with you. When possible, lead your previous clients to what kinds of information they should include.
Rather than having them say something like “Working with Bob was great. He was a big help,” have them be specific. A review like “Bob’s Tree Service saved the day! When the storm blew a tree across our driveway, Bob’s was out in no time and got the debris cleared quickly,” is so much more powerful.
It’s also a great idea to imbed Google and Facebook reviews on your site so that new entries populate automatically, and you can’t be accused of hand-picking the best ones out of the bunch.
Keep an eye out for our upcoming blog on getting more Facebook and Google reviews!
Include basic SEO formatting
While you may have a designer or developer doing the heavy lifting for your website design, there are a few things you can do to your content to be sure it’s carrying its own weight. And if you don’t touch a single thing on your site, have a conversation with your web person about these elements.
Use first, second, and even third level headings in your content. Search engines look for these H tags when they are crawling your site, and you rank better if you have them SOMEWHERE on the page. Also, make sure your photos and images also include keywords you want to rank for in the file names and alt descriptions. “Bobs-Tree-Service-Atlanta.jpg” is friendlier than “IMG254.jpg.” Alt descriptions and tags are generally used by screen readers for visitors who may have vision issues, but they are also read by search engines. When you upload your images, make sure you atl tag them with clear descriptions and information.
SO much more, but so little time
Again, we could write for ages and ages and not feel like we’ve given you enough information on this topic. However, we feel like this is a good starting point. If you have questions about any of this information, feel free to reach out to us. (See that call to action, even in a blog?) We offer lots of guides and tutorials to our customers, and we love seeing people and their businesses succeed. That means that if we’ve already shared a video or blog or any other resource with one of our existing customers, we may have it handy for you to look over, even if you aren’t working with us yet. And, of course, we also offer website development services if you don’t feel like taking on those tasks yourself.