I hate to start with an industry cliche but it really is true what they say; your website serves as the front door to your small business.
It’s often the first point of contact potential customers have with your brand, making the design and content of your home page critical to conversions. As a website designer, I understand the importance of creating a captivating and effective home page for small businesses but I also know you might be so focused on the aesthetics, you’re overlooking five key elements which are imperative for making a lasting impression on visitors and to drive business growth.
And I promise, they are super easy to implement.
One: A clear and engaging headline
One of the first things a visitor should see on landing at your home page should be a clear, short and engaging headline.
According to a study by Nielsen Norman Group, users spend an average of 5.59 seconds looking at a website’s main headline.
This headline should cover what you do and who you serve but note the word engaging. A well-crafted headline helps visitors quickly understand what your business is about and encourages them to explore further.
Instead of “wedding florist, sussex”, work in some lovely adjectives and emotion into it: “immersive wedding florist for the wild at heart. Serving sussex and beyond”
If you’re a seasoned small business owner you’ll likely remember our obsession with “above the fold” when it came to our websites homepage. These days, above the fold isn’t hugely relevant so whilst you don’t necessarily need your headline to sit above the fold, it’s a good idea to ensure it sits within the first swipe/scroll down. This will allow your visitors to either build a connection or move away. Remember your brand isn’t going to be for everyone; your website should be built to hook in dream clients only.
Two: Straight forward navigation
Your website should be designed with your ideal client at the forefront, not designed to how you like to browse a website, which is why hiring a website designer with experience of working within your industry is recommended as each industry can see different behaviours when it comes to using websites.
A well-organised navigation menu is essential for guiding visitors through your website. It’s the digital equivalent of a road sign, pointing visitors to key areas of your website.
Your menu should always be at the top of the page (ok, fine I’ll allow it to sit at the bottom briefly as long as it snaps to the top on scroll) and contains clear, descriptive labels. Don’t hide away key pages – if a visitor has to hunt around for the information you will lose them.
Three: Call to Actions
Call to actions (CTAs) can be a button, a form, or a piece of text that encourages visitors to take a specific action, such as contacting you, signing up for a newsletter, or making a purchase. Your homepage should have multiple call to actions to allow you gently guide your visitor on a journey throughout your website.
HubSpot reports that websites with CTAs which guide users toward a desired action have a conversion rate that’s nearly four times higher than those without CTAs.
Four: Focus on the finer details
Visual content is a powerful tool for engaging visitors. High-quality images and a beautifully designed layout will create an emotional connection with your audience.
Don’t opt for imagery which doesn’t align with your brand aesthetics. If your brand is all about a moody, evocative vibe, don’t use pretty light and airy imagery – opt for dark, luscious brand images. In addition, aim for using photography which has a similar editing style, better yet invest in a brand shoot.
For the design, remember your ideal client is visiting multiple competitor websites so yes, they have most definitely seen that website template you were considering using from WIX before. Opt for a bespoke approach, ensure your brand typography is structured cohesively, your colours used consistently and every tiny detail of the website design is thought out. Remember you’re not a website designer so whilst a DIY approach is tempting, a professionally designed websites generate a significantly higher ROI.
Research by Adobe found that websites with relevant images receive 94% more views than those without. Furthermore, 38% of visitors will stop engaging with a website if the content or layout is unattractive and websites with a better design and user experience can have conversion rates that are 400% higher than poorly designed websites.
Five: Trust builders
Building trust is crucial for small businesses, especially in the online world where certain demographics are incredibly wary of online businesses. Incorporate trust-building elements on your home page, such as testimonials, certifications or awards.
One really easy way of building trust is to make your point of contact clear and upfront. Having to hunt around for a contact form or email address can be a huge red flag for your site visitors. Ensure your contact page is listed within your menu, including in CTAs and within your footer.
To wrap up
Your website’s home page is like the friendly face that welcomes visitors to your online world. Getting it right is crucial for connecting with your potential customers. By incorporating these five key elements, supported by user behavior statistics, you’ll create a home page that not only captures your audience’s attention but also inspires them to take action.
If you’re a small business and ready to transform your online presence, I would love to hear from you!