Website Design

13 Essential Elements of an Effective Homepage

Rebecca VanDenBerg

by | Feb 28, 2022

“Did you know that “38% of people will stop engaging with a website if the content or layout is unattractive?”

– (Source: Adobe)
It takes .05 seconds for visitors to decide if they’ll stay or leave your website, so its content and layout need to entice them to read and learn more. Here are 13 key elements to pay attention to when crafting your homepage.

1. Goals

Determining your goals is very important. Make a list of everything you want from your website. Why are you designing it? What outcomes do you expect? Identify short and long-term goals, then plan a strategy. Niche, name, logo, title, and tagline all depend totally upon these website goals.

2. Branding

Your website should visually match your brand. Your logo should be present but not overpower. If you’re tempted to make it bigger, don’t. It’s on every page and it needs only to be legible.

3. Clear Headline

What do you offer? Keep your headline clear and simple.

4. Value Proposition

Support your headline with a brief description of what you do and how it will make your visitor’s life better. In other words, why do they need what you are offering? How will your products or services solve a problem that they have? How will using your products or services have them winning in the end?

5. Primary Call to Action

What does your visitor need to do to connect further? Be clear and make it easy. We recommend an obvious accent-colored button that repeats as you go down the page.

The first section your user sees before scrolling—also referred to as ‘above the fold’—is the most critical of your website. Within 5 seconds, visitors need to be able to identify who you are, what you offer, how it will make their life better, and what they need to do to get it. Use simple straightforward language; no need to be clever. Get to the point as quickly as you can.

6. Clear Navigation

Your website should be easy to navigate, with menu items easily accessible from any page. Try to keep your primary header menu to no more than 5 top level options (drop downs are okay). Keep your navigation clear of clutter and make your Call to Action (CTA) the main draw. Put other links in the footer.

7. Product or Service Features

You can expand on your products with bite-size nuggets of information. Remember to use headlines, with short sentences easy for readers to take in.

8. Social Proof

Testimonials, photos of happy customers using your products, reviews, and endorsements are examples of social proof. These help build trust with potential customers.

9. Clear Path

What is the process to get and use your products or services? Lay out clear steps to show the customer the path to take. Use numbering 1 – 2 – 3.

10. Quality Images

Photos of smiling, happy people using or benefiting from your products or services are the most powerful images. Include them on your home page. Avoid using stock images whenever possible. Quality images have the greatest visual impact on your website and quickly communicate your brand and tone.

11. Offer Resources or Alternate CTA

Not everyone coming to your website the first time is ready to buy. To generate leads from your home page, offer a white paper, guide, or book to those who aren’t quite ready to commit to a purchase. Collect their email address and then start building more trust through email marketing campaigns. A resource center can also be a helpful section to offer more information about your products and services.

12. SEO Keyword Strategy

If your focus keywords are not obvious, it is vital to do a little keyword research before planning and writing your website content. Your goal is to be found on “search,” so it’s important to know which keywords potential customers use when searching for your services. What you would use to search for your service may not be what your ideal customer is using.

Your homepage Search Engine Results Placement (SERP) directly reflects your attention to the SEO details. Take time to craft these elements and improve your overall ranking.

Homepage SEO elements:

  • URLs – Should be simple and include targeted keywords when appropriate
  • Page Title – Crafted carefully and between 10-70 characters
  • Page Description – Should be between 70-160 characters and include a call to action statement
  • Set all alt image text
  • Ensure no broken links

Sample SERP results showing page titles and meta descriptions

13. Footer

The footer is one of the most underutilized spaces on a website, and yet it’s where you can place a wealth of information without it getting in the way. Because the footer is at the bottom of the page, it’s a logical location for contact information, social links, and content links.

These tips will help you build a website that effectively communicates with your customers. We have a website planner resource that can guide you through organizing all the elements you need for your website. Download it free today.

You work hard. You deserve a website you can be proud of.

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