Your website's homepage carries an immense amount of power. It can be a critical deciding factor in the way that visitors perceive and interact with your business. Although you might understand this basic truth, your homepage could be missing essential design elements. This can mean the difference between new customers and lost opportunities. Don't fear because we're here to help you understand how you can leverage the power of your homepage!
We've identified the 5 best design practices you need to have on your website's homepage. These will help you be successful online, provide users with a positive experience, and generate new sales. If your homepage is missing any of these key features, you need to get in contact with a web designer. They'll be able to help you properly optimize your homepage for better results.
1. Click to Call Phone Number
A homepage without contact information is like asking a friend to meet you without telling them where to go. It's silly, frustrating, and inconvenient! If your contact information is even the slightest bit difficult to find, you're quickly putting your business at a disadvantage.
The longer it takes users to figure out how to get in contact with you, the more frustrated they'll become and the chances of them going to one of your competitors increase significantly. With more searches being conducted on mobile than ever before, you have an extra responsibility to make your contact information accessible to mobile users.
That's where click to call phone numbers play a valuable role on your website's homepage. By simply tapping the phone number on your page, mobile users can connect with you right away. The best placement for a click to call phone icon is in the header where users can immediately see and use it. The footer is a second placement option if there is limited screen space in the header on mobile devices, and it will be the second place that users look for contact information. Including the phone number in either the header or footer will allow users to immediately place a call to you from that link.
Most modern web browsers will automatically link any phone number detected to allow for click to call, but it's good practice to convert all phone numbers into the tel: scheme in your code. (<a href="tel:+15555555555">555-555-5555</a>) Using 'href='tel:' on your phone numbers by default will place a call when someone clicks on the phone link, giving the visitor a convenient way to reach you instantly.
2. Clear Calls to Action
People crave direction. Whether your site is selling a product or a service, collecting emails for campaigns, or providing information for download, you need to provide your users with clear guidance on what their next step should be when interacting with your website. That's where calls to action come in!
A Call to Action, or CTA, is any method of encouraging a site visitor to perform a specific action, such as calling you or submitting a contact form. Calls to action are usually signified by large headings or buttons that demand to be clicked. If a visitor arrives to a site with no clear call to action, they might leave feeling lost and confused. When you include CTAs on your website, you assist dramatically in the buyer process, resulting in a streamlined conversion process for the visitor and more customers for your business.
Most calls to action include a couple of words with a link or button such as "Start Your Free Trial" or "Create My Account." They are usually placed in a prominent position, often over a hero or banner image, using large text and buttons to help catch people's attention. Including personal words such as "you" or "my" in your calls to action can also have a dramatic impact on conversion rates… as in a 202% performance improvement over non personalized CTAs.
3. Trust Signals
Think back to the last time you went out to eat at a new restaurant. When you were researching where to go, you most likely read through the reviews of previous customers, looked at the ratings of the restaurant, and maybe even asked one of your friends if they had ever eaten there before. If this situation sounds familiar, trust signals played an important role in your buying process.
Trust signals are subliminal cues to site visitors that communicate brand credibility, instill trust, and encourage users to engage with your company. Trust signals can come in the form of social media icons, website SSL encryption, testimonials, certifications/awards and many more.
Some trust signals, such as encrypting your site with SSL, should be a standard so that you serve a secure site to all of your users. Trust signals, such as social media icons, testimonials and certificates/awards, are all dependent on the specific needs of the company. Some companies won’t be able to feature testimonials and certifications/awards because they simply don’t have any. If you don’t have any, start asking customers to provide testimonials for use on your homepage through a Reputation Manager campaign. Incorporating trust signals onto your home page will help communicate that your business is a valid choice for visitors.
4. Social Media Icons
Integrating your social media onto your homepage helps promote your online brand, establish your credibility, and expand your online exposure. Placing social media links on your site and linking them to their respective social media page not only gives you the potential to grow your audience on social media, but it can also help Google identify the relevance of the user’s search to your website.
When integrating social media onto your site, there are a few best standards to follow. First, icons and buttons are a great way to link to social media because they are easily recognizable and relatively small. Second, these icons and buttons should be present in the header or footer on all pages of your site (not just on the home page). You also want to make sure that these links are configured to open in a new tab so that users can easily navigate back to your website.
Finally, make sure that you only link to the social media accounts that you actively manage. Nothing can damage your credibility more than guiding users to a Facebook page where your last post was in 2012... talk about embarrassing! Users want fresh and relevant content, so don’t feel bad about excluding a social media platform if your company isn’t active on it.
If you want to be more active on social media but don’t have the time to, we can help manage and grow your social media presence.
5. Clear Navigation Bar
The navigation bar serves as the map for your website. It provides users with clear directions on where they should go in order to find the information they’re looking for. Creating a simple and clear navigation bar keeps your visitors engaged and helps them find the information they are looking for quickly and easily. In order to create a clean and simple navigation follow these tips:
Placement of the navigation bar should remain consistent across the site and located in a standard position, either at the top of the page in a horizontal fashion or on either side of the web page in a vertical fashion. Because these locations (vertical and horizontal) have become such a standard on the web over the years, users habitually look for navigation in these areas. By having your navigation outside of the normal positioning, you can cause an interruption to your users’ normal flow and cause them to leave your site.
Using the correct order and naming convention in the navigation bar will help your visitors understand, stay engaged, and find the information they are looking for quickly and easily. You’ll want to use as few words as possible and common naming conventions to describe what the link will contain. The order of your menu items should be from most important to the least important, with the ‘Contact’ page at the end of the navigation.
How Many of These Features Are Missing from Your Home Page?
Now that you know some of the key features your visitors are looking for on your homepage, look over your own home page to identify any that you are missing. By incorporating these best practices, your site is going to look more professional, create a positive first impression, help visitors find the information they’re looking for, and guide them towards taking meaningful action on your site.
Ready to harness the full potential of your homepage to capture visitors and turn them into loyal customers? Contact us today to start incorporating these best design practices into your own website!