When creating a professional web design the designing effective homepages is one of the most important pages on your site. It is usually your shop window, the door to your potential sales and the place where your users will usually know whether they want to go any further on your site, so you can imagine, its vital that you get this page right, you don’t want to give a bad impression before your users have even entered the site but what is it that really makes for a great ux homepage?
We all need purpose
Everything in this world created by us humans needs purpose and websites are no different. You may argue that there are many pointless websites out there, but even if they are pointless…that is still a purpose, by being pointless, isn’t it? . Your first step in designing a homepage is firstly identifying your website’s/business goal & then developing your homepage’s purpose. Keep in mind that your main website goal is slightly different from your homepage goal.
Is your main goal to sell more of your product or service, create more brand awareness or start communication? Then does your homepages purpose relate to this? Are you wanting to target a specific service that isn’t selling as well, or are you wanting to try and sell a product or a service? Is it purely an information site? Do you want people to subscribe to your blog or gather emails for newsletters and promotions? Whatever the reason is a well designed call to action is vital to influence your website users into taking the action you want .
Call to Actions
What is a call to action? A call to action is a way of asking visitors to do something, take action! Usually, for most businesses it is to close a sale or to at least suggest finding out more information about a product or service that will eventually lead to the close of sale the business wants.Sometimes though, it might not be the goal to sell, it may be to get your visitors to sign up to a newsletter, make contact or subscribe to your blog. Never use “Click here”, “Read More” or “Learn More” these are not good call to actions, they are not informative or appealing enough to entice someone to act. ( 37 Call to Action to Get People to Read, Click and Buy ).
A well designed call to action will entice people with an exciting offer or something that will really appeal to your target audience.
So you have decided what business goal you are going to try and create a call to action for. You want to sell a specific product but saying “Buy this amazing product” is not really going to sell it. You need to put the customer first, customer is king when doing web design and you really need to understand their needs in order to create a perfect homepage. One way of doing this is creating persona’s. A customer persona is creating an artificial customer, someone who might use your site, what they are looking for, even their hobbies and other websites, apps and things they might use outside of work. Here is a website with a quick guide in how to create one ( Website ). I will be creating another blog post on this and a free template to download in future.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, thus whoever your target audience is, the visuals must be targeted to them. Is your market 16-29 ? Then look at design trends for that age group, what are they buying? What are they listening to? What would appeal to this group? Are they 40+ the established professionals? What would appeal to this group? What about your business industry, what is working on the business leaders sites?
Keep in mind your branding colours at all times when designing your graphics, make it identifiable as your company but don’t be too concerned that you make all your pictures match the brand colours, it will make it all just brand in a little too much and be quite a dull page.
No one likes complex navigation. Minimalism is the way forward
Although seeing a pretty graphical website at first does make everyone think oooooooooooooooooooo…pretty, if it isn’t a useable interface people will become frustrated and the pretty pictures will soon become ugly. Websites are about usability. Make sure you can do these three things when accessing your site : –
- Identify the brand and product you are selling instantly by including your logo and company colours from your style guide.
- Make it easy to find the contact details of your company
- Make it easy to navigate to any page that the user wants
Why do this you are asking? Well it has been scientifically proven that after 8 seconds the user will make a decision whether or not to leave.
The content of a book is not on the front page, websites are no different
The homepage is not the place to go crazy on textual information! It is the page to guide the user to whatever it is they need from your site. It is important to include a “brief” description of what your company does with a link to the about page. The home page is not the place to write a long blurb about your company’s history or founders how will that enhance the user experience? It won’t. If the user really wants a back story then that information should be left for the “About Us” page.
Make more than one option and test it
You’ve used the tips i have provided and drawn a few different layouts but how do you know which one would be the most succesful? Google Analytics provides you with a treasure trove of great tools to delve deeply into what pages are working, what is successful and what isn’t. It also provides an extra option called “experiments”. With this tool you can test a multitude of homepages that you have created so that when a visitor arrives on a particular page you the user will be given one of the new pages. Google Analytics will then give you some results to allow you to compare how succesful the new pages have been compared to the others in order for you to choose the best option for you to make the most conversions ( I will be writing about how to do this in the very near future ).
If you have anything else to add please do make more suggestions and best of luck with designing your homage web design.