May I ask you a favour?
Please don’t put ‘Welcome to our website’ on your homepage.
Honestly, I see that on so many homepages and just think, “Really? Is that the best you can come up with?”
Let’s start at the beginning.
What’s the purpose of your homepage? …
But the correct answer is: The purpose of your homepage is to get your visitor to Page 2.
Whatever Page 2 may be.
Because once they’re on Page 2, you’ll find out why they’re really there.
Your homepage is NOT to ‘welcome’ someone to your website or tell them all about yourselves (remember the early blog posts? Nobody’s interested!).
The thing is, if you’re doing marketing the Vicky Fraser Way, the vast majority of your traffic will come from adverts, links, or URLs in printed material. In other words, most of your traffic should be targeted and directed by you to your various landing pages.
People will generally only arrive at your homepage through random Googling or because they’ve seen you or heard of you offline and they’re checking you out.
Those people will be wanting to know what you can offer them.
With that in mind, don’t waffle. This is not the place to go into your company history. You can do that on your about page, if you really must.
Less is more here: if you overwhelm people, they’ll leave.
Your homepage should make it immediately obvious that your visitor is in the right place because it should state clearly that you understand your visitor’s problem – and that you can solve it.
That means using a headline, and the headline should be written from the customer’s point of view. Just like any other headline. What does your customer want? How do you give it to her?
Then your homepage should steer your visitor in the direction of that solution with simple, clear, easy-to-follow navigation.
Tomorrow, I’ll walk you through your about page.
Now, though, you’ve got some homework: have a good look at your current homepage. Be critical. Try and put yourself in a stranger’s shoes: does it do the job? Is it obvious what you do and why somebody should go to Page 2? Is it easy to find out what to do next?
If the answer to all those questions is yes: well done. Grab yourself a gin and tonic. If it’s no: get busy!
PS When I work with clients to create a new website, they often tell me they want a “great website” – but when I ask them what that means, they don’t know.
So I’ll answer the question for them, here, on behalf of all customers everywhere: “I want to find what I’m looking for, and I want to find it quickly.”
Bear that in mind when you’re planning your website or creating your homepage.
Vicky Fraser is a copywriter, author, and entrepreneur. She really did run away with the circus… but when she’s not swinging from a trapeze, she’s showing other copywriters and small business owners how to work with better clients, make more money, and stop missing bathtimes, first words, and dinners with angry partners. In fact, she wrote the book on it. Get your copy here.