Maximizing Your Homepage

When reviewing Analytics details on a monthly or quarterly basis, most website owners like to check the most popular pages on the site. This makes sense because one of the major benefits of Analytics is using real-world data from your users to make decisions, and focusing on the most popular areas of your website is a great place to start.

One page on the website that is usually viewed at a much higher rate than the others is the homepage. Unless a user has a related search for your services and enters through a specific service or product page, they will most likely hit your homepage first. That’s especially noted for people who have never been to your website.

For most new users, your homepage will be the first impression of your site and your services, so it is highly recommended to make sure your homepage is not only informative but acts as a directory for any users to access important areas of your site.

The average web user has a very short attention span, so here are some tips on how to best maximize your homepage experience:

  • Highlight Important Areas
    • What’s the main purpose of your site? Whether it’s to sell a product, offer a service or supply detailed information, figuring out the goal of the site should always be step one. Put yourself in the place of the user, identify the areas you want users to view and interact with and tailor your homepage layout and information flow to match.
  • Header and Navigation
    • The header and navigation area of your site should contain all the links to your interior pages. Each site has a different amount of pages, so taxonomy will differ for each as well, but the structure of the navigation will help users find what they are looking for as quickly as possible. Too many options can be confusing and not enough options will leave users confused (and then leaving your site), so try to think of how your users will interact with the site.  Tailor your navigation to make sure all users can get relatively easy access to all areas of the site.
  • Home Slides
    • Rotating homepage banners are still pretty common and now videos are starting to be set up in place of banner images. Depending on what your goal is with your users, this is a section of the site that should be maximized as it will be the first real piece of content/marketing they will see. Image banners work well because you can incorporate multiple graphics, each with their own message and link, in a highly visible area. The drawback is that the focus of the site and the direction you want your users to go in can be confusing since there are multiple places to click. Setting up some video content is great as well, especially if you have a focused message for your users. Load time and length of videos can play a huge part in the success of those messages as well, so try to keep the length of the videos as short as possible or even set up some basic video looping to save on file size.
  • Focus Areas
    • What other sections do you feel are a focal point of your company or service? While the top portion of your website should focus on the important aspects of the site from a user standpoint, don’t forget to try to provide details for other areas of your business. Providing company and mission statement information in a focused message is a great way to encourage users to explore other areas of your website or maybe learn more about you and your business specifically.
  • Call to Action
    • Clear and direct calls-to-action in your focus areas are the best way to get a user to the page or product you are promoting in each panel. Using good design aesthetics along with clear messaging (“Contact Us”, “View a Demo”) will give them the simplest path from homepage to the highlighted product or service.

We recommend reviewing the Analytics for your homepage at least once per quarter as well as updating the layout or direction of your homepage every couple of years to ensure you’re engaging not only returning traffic but new users as well.

Having your homepage speak clearly and directly to any current or potential users will drive them to the areas of their interests in the quickest path possible and hopefully lead to happier users and more conversions.