Without a doubt the most critical single element of a website, and yet the most neglected, is the home page design. First impression mean a lot, your website’s home page has to accomplish several different tasks and do them well in a short period of time or your visitors will leave. These tasks are:
- Capture visitor’s attention: Your home page is like the cover of a book, it has to grab attention and encourage people to explore deeper. Your usual “Welcome to our site” copy is not enough, you have a very brief period of time to make this impression, it must be made graphically or lots of people will leave before they have time to read anything. Balance is required in the area of home page graphics, balance between eye-catching images and download time since a fast loading home page design is also important. This does not mean that your home page should be all images and no text, it needs to have both, images to catch people’s eyes, text to explain what you’re all about and for the search engines to index since they can’t read images.
- Direct visitors to the content they want: The home page is not just the cover of the book, it also needs to be the table of content. The best way I know of to get web visitors to leave your site is to make it difficult for them to find what they are looking for. The days of the Flash intro page are long gone, visitors expect to see the global site navigation on the first page of your site. The site navigation should be obvious, simple and intuitive, give them that and they may stay around long enough for you to tell your story.
- Establish the credentials of your business or organization: While grabbing visitor’s attention and helping them find what they are looking for is important, it all means very little if your website leaves the impression that your teenager made it during summer vacation. The professional image of your home page design is as important as the professional image of your office and your dress. Visitors form opinions about your company based on the image portrayed by your website, make sure that it is as polished and professional an image as you can offer.
Creating a successful home page design requires a delicate balance of eye-catching design, ease of use and professionalism. If your website’s home page is able to grab peoples attention, make the content of your website easily accessible while portraying a professional image you are sure to reap the benefits.
If you have any doubts about your current website’s home page, we would be glad to talk with you about it to offer our professional advice or a bid on what it would cost to improve.