Your Homepage: The trusty introduction of your company website to the rest of the world. As the old adage goes, first impressions are everything. So what is your home page saying about your website, and your company as a whole? If the main page of your website is guilty of any of the following ten offenses, it’s probably time to make a few changes.
Mistake #1: Hiding contact information.
A study conducted by Small Business Trends found that of the 200 small business websites they studied, 70 percent with a phone number didn’t display it in a prominent place. Thirty-eight percent had their email address stashed away in a hard-to-find place. Furthermore, 68% didn’t include an email address on their home page at all. Always make your contact information visible. You want to make it as easy as possible for customers to reach you.
Mistake #2: Not using analytics.
If you’re not using analytics by now, you’re missing out on valuable information about the effectiveness of your website. Analytics show you things like what content is most popular with your readers, the number of inbound links to your site, who is linking to your website, and more. Using Google Analytics is free, and it doesn’t take much effort to set up.
Mistake #3: Autoplay audio or video.
Have you ever visited a website and a song or advertisement started playing out of nowhere? If so, then you know that autoplay media can really detract from user experience. However, there are exceptions to this. Author and mentor Christine Kane has an autoplay welcome video on her website’s landing page. In an industry like personal mentoring, a welcome video can help to convey personality and feelings of connectedness. But for the most part, let your visitors be in control of what they see and listen to.
Mistake #4: Poor navigation.
Your navigation is the gateway to the rest of your website, so making it difficult to use isn’t a good idea. Putting your navigation in a non-standard location, using too many buttons, or having your navigation out of order can have a negative impact on usability. Keep navigation at the top of the page, limit it to only important links, and put your most important items first.
Studies show that users expect the navigation bar to be at the top of a page, and read from left to right.
Mistake #5: No search box.
This is especially critical for websites with large amounts of content. Today’s internet users are accustomed to using search to finding things online. Put a search bar on the top right of all of your pages to make things easier to find for user. This will also offer a valuable metric for you to use later since you’ll know what people are searching for within your website.
Mistake #6: Difficult sign-up forms.
Research shows that the more fields a registration form has, the more it will frustrate the user. Limit your forms to only the most necessary items like first name and email address.
Mistake #7: Not split testing.
Yes, you’re busy, and you might feel like you don’t have time to split test. But split testing gives you a great opportunity to improve on your site’s conversion rates. If you already have a good amount of traffic, you should be split testing home pages.
Mistake #8: Not enough white space.
White space is the space between text and images on a web page. As an analogy, imagine driving home, opening your garage door, and being met with boxes, furniture, and other items that crowd every square inch of your garage. There is no way you’re getting your car in there until you move some things out of the way. When it comes to page layout, most would underestimate the importance of white space on a home page. However, your website can look cluttered and unattractive without it.
Mistake #9: Not capturing emails.
Most internet marketers would say “the money is in the list,” and this is quite true. You’ll have a better time marketing to those who have already shown interest in your website by giving you their contact information. Include a sign-up form on your homepage for people to opt in to your newsletter or updates.
Mistake #10: Poor readability.
Even if you have killer copy on your home page, it won’t mean much to your visitors if it’s unreadable. Avoid using fonts that are too small, and make sure that your background colors contrast well with the text. This is also one reason why testing your website across devices and browsers is so essential. A page that renders well in Firefox may not show up the same in Safari.
Your homepage can either make or break the rest of your website, so make sure that you’re doing it right. Not only is it good for conversions, but your visitors will be more likely to revisit a website that’s attractive as well as informative.