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How To: Make a Better Homepage

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The world’s most visited homepage is also most likely one of the simplest. And it’s no coincidence that the guys responsible for revolutionizing the search engine also understand the importance of a sleek , clutter-free design.

In fact, in June, Google once again redesigned its homepage, simplifying an already minimalist Web page, and adding a sleek black bar across the top that brought social networking into the mix with the launch of Google+.

There are four implicit things Google (and the following four companies) understand about homepage design that everyone should take to heart. A great homepage has a clear call to action, concise messaging, an element of stickiness and integrated social media.

Clear calls to action

Blue Fountain Media

According to a report from research firm Econsultancy, companies whose conversion rates have improved over the past year are using on average 26 percent more methods to improve conversion and 50 percent more ways to segment their visitors and customers than those companies whose conversion rates have not improved.

In other words, as the world of digital becomes more competitive, and marketers get better at conversion rate optimization, it is becoming harder to improve on these conversion rates.

So it’s even more surprising that a consistent mistake of businesses online is not providing visitors clear calls to action in order to take the next step in the conversion process. Our designers obviously got the message. there are several obvious steps that can be taken including: request a quote, view our work and a phone number.

Improving Your Message

It seems our fractured, hyperactive attention spans demand more from less these days and clear and simple messaging is a great way to deliver on both ends. According to several studies, the average attention span for a visitor online is about 8 to 10 seconds. So it is important to deliver  your central message on the homepage quickly and then create paths to the internal landing pages that best serve the needs and interest of the visitors.

Zappos

If you're expecting to turn these visitors into customers you MUST deliver your central messages clearly, quickly and convincingly. (See above)

How to be like Zappos.

  • Keep your message simple.
  • Keep paragraphs short on a homepage.
  • Use sparse copy and large fonts.

One key point that Zappos clearly understands is the use of large fonts and sparse copy with clear paths to the appropriate internal pages (“Huge selection”, “Gloves”, “Jackets and Coats")

Integrate social media into content

Nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of adult Internet users in the United States now use a social networking sites like, Facebook, LinkedIn or Foursquare, according to the The Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project.

So why would anyone neglect integrating social media into their homepage? Surprisingly many businesses don’t to use social media effectively on a company website.

Zipcar

Zipcar understands all these lessons and integrates their social media button right in the middle of the pathway leading to an internal landing page.

Stickiness

According to the International Telecommunications Union, 79 percent of Americans, or 243 million, surf the Internet. That's a whole lot of attention you're fighting for and its going to take hard work and a certain level of creativity to get them to visit just once. So after you've put in all that hard work to get them there Once you must provide good reasons for  them to come back because studies show  visitors  rarely convert the first time.

Barhappy
Have a visit to barHappy's website any time and you'll find a ton of great content including practical articles providing information of real use to your visitors such as where to find the best 70's music or the most extensive Belgium beer menu.

Other keys to barHappy's stickiness:

  • Regularly updated content.
  • Incorporating videos.
  • Leverage user-generated content.
  • Provides sign up to newsletter and RSS feeds.

 

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Comments on this post

  1. Geoff West said:

    Those are great, classic examples. there is nothing worse than a heavy-handed home page design. It drives my batty when I can’t figure out immediately what the website is providing. Thanks for the informative post. I really enjoy this blog.

  2. Aaron Quest said:

    Zappos really does it the best. Clean design with crystal clear calls to action. Very true.

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