Homepages are kind of like digital welcome signs that greet people when they visit your site. You need to grab their attention within the first few seconds and then hold it! Having a beautiful design isn’t enough – if you want to keep visitors glued to your website, you need to have a homepage that functions as an uninterrupted environment for them. Here are the basic elements for creating a homepage that draws visitors in deeper.
Keeping your homepage’s layout clean and clutter-free is essential. Site visitors tend to feel overwhelmed if they’re presented with an excessive amount of info and images. You will come off more organized and professional if your site’s content is well thought-out and tidy. Think “Less is More”.
1. Do: Choose a layout that is clean and easy to navigate. Make sure that all of your most important content and images are kept above the fold where your viewers eyes will most likely see them.
2. Don’t: Avoid cluttering your homepage with too many images, icons, clip art, banners, never-ending text and so on. No one wants to sort through a messy page.
A picture is worth a thousand words, right? When it comes to your homepage, this saying rings true. Photos have the ability to let your visitors know what you and your website are all about. Strong images can do the job of countless lines of text – use this to your advantage.
3. Do: Use high-resolution photos that will make your users want to see the other pages of your site. If you are using full width images use a minimum of 1200px wide. Nothing says unprofessional more than a bad quality pixellated pic. Remember many people now have 27″+ HD monitors.
4. Don’t: There’s no need to add every amazing picture you have at your disposal. A few solid images that reflect your brand should be more than enough.
Colours & Backgrounds
These simple, yet important elements set the tone for your homepage and will probably be the same throughout all of your site’s pages. Remember that colours do not necessarily look the same on all monitors! Generally subtle colours work best for backgrounds.
5. Do: Go with a colour scheme and background that work well together and reinforce your brand. If you are unsure of which colours go with which use a colour wheel such as Adobes Kuler. Or utilise an existing colour scheme such as those provided here.
6. Don’t: Steer clear of adding too many colours, generally 3 is enough,and don’t pick a background that will steal the focus from your main images and text.
Not every homepage will have or even need buttons, but if you’re going to use them you should use them right. Your buttons, or call to actions (CTAs), are gateways to other pages, websites, promotional items, product galleries, and so much more. If the purpose is to make people take action and click, you’re going to have to make them tempting.
7. Do: Keep the wording of the CTA as clear and short as possible – do your best to keep it under 4 words. This is good for SEO also!
8. Don’t: Try not to let your CTA go unseen. If you want people to click through, don’t overlook the importance of placement.
You can’t have a perfect homepage without good solid text. Your first objective should be to ensure that site visitors immediately understand what your site is about, ‘the hook’. But remember, you’ll be able to go into more detail on the other pages of your website, so there’s no need to write a novel. For example: writing a biography about yourself on your homepage is just repetitive when you have a separate page titled “About Us.” Getting carried away and writing overly descriptive paragraphs is a surefire way to make your users fall asleep.
9. Do: Keep your text fresh and current. Doing so will let readers know that your website is up to date and a dependable source of information.
10. Don’t: Do. Not. Over. Do. It. In most cases, nobody is looking to settle down for a few hours to read all the text on your website. Be sure not to lose your visitors’ attention by going into way too much detail or repeating yourself when you just don’t need to.
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