When we search for businesses online, we don’t cut them much slack for website design.
Difficult navigation, outdated appearances, horrible formatting, mobile UNresponsiveness…in general, the more of an aesthetic horror show a website is, the less likely we are to stick around and buy from that business.
So, I ask you…
Building a site with a focus on user experience and visual appea is one of the best investments your business can make. In particular, your home page has a big impact on how favorably customers see your brand, since home pages are one of the most visited pages on your site (in most cases).
But what makes good home page design? How do you know if your home page isn’t quite up to snuff?
Great home page design boils down to three elements:
Keep reading to see these elements in action, and see how you can put them to work for your own site.
Your home page acts as your business’ digital receptionist, serving up the perfect first impression for visitors, many of whom have never been to your site before, or even know who your company is.
Suffice it to say that poor home page design is like having a receptionist who sleeps on the job. All day.
While the home page isn’t always the place where conversion happens, it’s often the place that leads to conversion (eventually). Having bad home page design puts a lid on your conversion funnel and that’s not good for business.
Your home page should be fulfilling three purposes:
Simple, right? Now let’s take action.
Keep these six points in mind as you design your home page to deliver the results you want.
Many home pages either pull in too many directions or say nothing at all. To see the most benefit, your home page should nail three things.
Your homepage should:
Creating a design that is unique, or otherwise having a memorable look for your homepage is important to motivate visitors to return to your website later on.
Unless your business has been around for a while and already maintains a sizable following, a complex home page is just not a wise choice.
Overdoing design with tons of widgets, CTAs, links and clutter causes distraction, and distraction leads to the almighty “back” button.
Don’t make visitors work, or they’ll find a site that’s easier to use. Instead, build home pages with:
Provide users with vital info as quickly and painlessly as possible, such as hours, your address, a clean logo, and attractive visitors.
Above the fold simply refers to every part of your page that’s immediately visible in a web browser right after the page loads. In other words, the “above the fold” section of your home page is everything viewers can see without scrolling—the very first impression of your brand.
And remember—what counts as above the fold on a laptop might be drastically different than on a phone, so your design must be responsive to cover all of your bases.
Believe it or not, but the type of font you choose can have a drastic effect on your visitors’ mood and buying habits. Font changes brand impressions and can either influence or drive away business. Picking the right font means knowing your business inside and out, and finding a typeface that fits perfectly with your brand.
In addition, avoid using too many font types—go for legibility and simplicity over anything else. If you want to get text read, make it easy to read. Simple.
Logos and special cases might be more suited to use flowery or ornate font, but generally these types of niche fonts are unacceptable for general use.
While font can have an effect on your visitors’ browsing habits, so too can color schemes. Colors that clash or offend the eyes are likely to drive away customers. Other color faux pas are using too many colors (like too many fonts), using harsh contrasts, or using colors that make text difficult to read.
Always remember—white space will never go out of style. Better to look a little more “boring” than too “exciting.”
Modern websites are highly visual tools, and utilizing images and graphics that synchronize with your brand is much easier to do than solely using words. Using videos and pictures that perfectly encapsulate your brand identity is a fantastic way to forge bonds with customers on your home page.
Don’t use images that are obviously stock photos—some stock photos are actually quite good, but the rest look cheesy and cliche. When a customer spots a stock photo, they automatically assume your brand is generic, too.
Higher-end clothing companies like Ralph Lauren often make use of close-ups of their clothing on the home page to emphasize superior fabric and craftsmanship, jiving perfectly with their brand identity.
Outstanding home page design is definitely important for the success of your website and your business.
Delivering immediate customer appeal, a super-simple navigation experience and breathtaking visuals are some of the keys to creating a lasting impression that leads to more sales and better business.
Only through deliberate use of these design principles is that possible, and the rewards are well worth the effort.
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