First impressions can last forever. This may sound cliché, but this frequently used adage has become common for a reason: it’s undeniably true. First impressions aren’t just important as a part of face-to-face interactions either. We form initial impressions of everything we interact with, and that includes the homepage of a website.
When a potential customer or client visits your website for the first time, it’s key that they have a positive experience. This means the page needs to look professional, and it needs to provide a great user experience.
Here are a few tips that may help you improve your website’s homepage in the eyes of your site visitors.
Keep it Clean
When we stress the importance of a clean website, we aren’t talking about the wholesomeness of the subject matter. We’re talking about clean, modern design. This means utilizing your screen real estate to its greatest potential without overcrowding the page. There is such a thing as sensory overload, and your website’s visitors don’t want to be overwhelmed by a cluttered homepage experience. Whitespace is your friend.
Focus on Accessibility
The importance of accessibility cannot be stressed enough. You are bound to have some visitors with visual limitations, and some of them may even be visiting your website with a screen reader. Always make sure you’re adding alternative text to images and videos. For those with difficulty discerning color, it’s also vital that you choose color schemes that offer a high level of contrast.
Make Sure Your Page Loads Quickly
According to Google, as your page load time increases from one second to ten seconds, the chances of a mobile website visitor bouncing increases to 123%. When a visitor “bounces,” it essentially means they’ve given up on your website and quickly left the page. Your homepage should load as quickly as possible for the best user experience. Here are a few ways to help your homepage load more quickly:
• Compress images
• Reduce repetitive code
• Use a content delivery network (CDN)
Have you ever been to a website that tries to be overly clever and has the navigation links in an odd place? Yeah… don’t do that. Ever. The main purpose of your website is to provide users with the products, services, and information they need to help them solve a problem. You don’t need to turn your page navigation mechanics into yet another problem for them to solve.
If you already have an odd navigation structure, do yourself a favor and fix it.
Tell the User Who You Are
When a visitor lands on your homepage, they should immediately know what your business does. This means it should be very apparent what you sell or what service you offer. Believe it or not, many websites struggle with letting users know right on the homepage exactly what they do. This should be crystal clear, and your visitors should not need to dig through multiple pages to figure it out.
Convey Your Brand Identity
Every brand has an identity. Some brands are very matter-of-fact and business-like, while others are snarky and humorous. Whatever identity you choose for your brand should come through on your homepage. Your copy should be written in a way that communicates who you are. People are much more likely to remember feelings than facts, so make sure your website visitors get a sense of who you are.
Consider Implementing a Search Functionality
If your website has many products or provides a large amount of information, a conveniently placed search bar in the top right corner of your website can be a welcome sight to your visitors. While it’s important to be clear and concise with your web pages, adding a search function will simply help visitors find what they are looking for even faster. Not everyone has the time to read through pages of text to find a bit of information, and you should respect that.
Reduce Your Page Count
Being organized is a good thing. You may think that creating many different pages for each different service or aspect of your business will help users stay organized. However, it can sometimes have the opposite effect. If your navigation menu is filled with dozens of different pages, this can be overwhelming for visitors. Rather than having a separate page for everything, it’s okay to condense your information into a few key pages.
For example, if you offer five different services, you may be tempted to make each its own webpage with its own header on your navigation bar. Instead, consider reducing this down to a single “Services” page and provide a brief section with a call to action for each service within this one page.
Key Takeaway: Pretend You’re the Customer
To improve your website, you need to try to view it through the eyes of your target users. Set aside any biases you may have towards your own website, navigate to your site, and think about how your visitors might feel about it. If you believe any aspect of your own homepage may be confusing or off-putting, then chances are high that your average visitor will feel the same.
Designing a beautiful website with a great user experience can be difficult. If you need some help from a team of seasoned professionals, you can reach out to our team at Camber Creative to help you take your homepage to the next level.
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