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Six Steps To Homepage Optimization

What kind of first impression does your homepage make? It should be a place that promotes your business well, attracts customers, and generates leads. Since the homepage is the gateway to the rest of your website—and your homepage_optimizationbusiness—homepage optimization should be a key part of your marketing strategy. Here are some best practices for making your homepage the optimal entrance point for potential customers:

  • Make your message clear. Studies show that the average visitor only spends 10 seconds on your home page before leaving if they don’t connect with your marketing messages. Craft a marketing message that’s compelling and direct, and make sure visitors to your site can grasp it immediately. Ask yourself, “What is the most important thing visitors should know about my company?” Then make that front and center in the copy, layout and design. One best practice is to place this important marketing message “above the fold,” or at the top of a page where visitors can see it without having to scroll down. Pixels above the fold are viewed an average of 84% more than the pixels below the fold. So write a message that captures your key sales points, then put it front and center above the fold to draw the most attention.
  • Back up your words with good design. All the great copy in the world won’t matter if your page is cluttered, confusing or clunky. Great design is key to attracting customers’ attention and keeping it there. Make sure your page flows from top to bottom in a logical fashion, keeping in mind the way that a reader’s eye travels. Emphasize important information with design elements. Use compelling images and fonts. All these things will create a good user experience for potential customers and help the look of your site reinforce your message.
  • Give calls to action that visitors can respond to. If visitors like what they see, they’ll wonder what next steps they can take. Point them to content they can download, email newsletters they can sign up for, or ways they can contact your company. Don’t let a positive interaction fizzle out—turn it into a lead. You can embed CTAs within copy or create clickable buttons or images. Some research suggests that because of the way people scan and read text, CTAs are most effective in the lower right-hand corner of your content.
  • Optimize your site for mobile users. Google has begun penalizing pages that aren’t mobile-friendly, dropping them down in mobile search rankings. The reality is that many users will access your site on a mobile device. If your site isn’t mobile-friendly, you will lose their business. Whether it’s through responsive design or a separate mobile version of your site, be sure that your site looks as great on a phone or tablet as it does on a computer.
  • Make it easy for your customers to get beyond the homepage. Your homepage should point visitors to the rest of your website by linking to content and landing pages that answer questions or dive deeper into a topic they may be interested in. It should have a clear navigation menu so visitors can easily find any pages they might be looking for. And, of course, it should have your contact information displayed, in case they want to reach out to you directly. 55% of customers eliminate a vendor from consideration if they can’t easily find contact information on the vendor’s website. Embedding a contact email or phone number at the top of the page will ensure that customers know exactly how to reach you.
  • Don’t neglect SEO. Many customers will find you via organic search, so it’s important that your homepage ranks well in Google. Create a keyword strategy for your homepage and include that keyword in your content and page structure. With the help of Google AdWords, you can find the keywords that best represent your company’s offerings.

Homepage optimization helps attract and keep customers, as well as promoting your marketing message and business qualities. These best practices can make your site stronger.

Image credit: Rock1997 (Creative Commons)