4 October 2019 | 5 Minute(s) to read
#whattoput on the homepage
The home page is a key page of your website: it is usually the most viewed page and also the entrance page for most visitors. Just like any first impression, you will want to make the most of it. You will only have a few seconds to convince users to stay, and we know this isn’t an easy task. In this blog we’ve put together our tips and best practices for you to know #whattoput on the homepage and how to make it user and search engine friendly.
We build the website and the client provides the content. It’s been the deal on most of the websites Smokeylemon have built since 2001. Our clients know their businesses more than anyone else, but the majority of them freeze when it comes to explaining what they do and why. Writing content is always the stage in the process that causes difficulties and the main reason why many website projects get delayed.
In an effort to make the process smoother and help our clients write or review and optimise their content, we have put together this series of blogs to help you develop website content in an easy and search-engine-friendly way.
Goals of a homepage.
What makes the homepage a tricky page to write is the fact that many people don’t understand what it is for. There is a very common (and wrong) misconception that the homepage’s purpose is to show ‘a little bit of everything’, a summary page of all the content that users can find on the website. This statement was correct several years ago, when the homepage was the only page that people could land on. Now, through different techniques, be it a digital campaign like Google Ads or Facebook ads, remarketing, email marketing, a Facebook post or even SEO optimisation, you can make users land on different pages that are more relevant to what they are looking for.
The Yahoo homepage model being the discovery point for everything on the site (2009).
Unlike the old days, homepages are now straightforward, simple and clean. The goals you should keep in mind when creating your homepage content are:
- Explain to Google and human visitors what your company/product does.
- Facilitate intuitive navigation.
- Give users clear instruction on what to do next.
Must-have elements and best practices
1. Logo + easy navigation menu
Usually located on the top left, the logo strengthens the brand identity. Use a good quality image and it should be placed in the same area across all pages.
The menu should show the top-level sections of your website, giving users an idea of how the website is structured and helping them easily find what they are looking for. Having an efficient site structure is a critical aspect of SEO.
Pandadoc has a great example of what a home page should look like.
2. Explain to users and search engines what you do
Be straightforward and use keywords, this will help your site rank on Google for specific search terms. Focus on a small amount of keywords rather than trying to cover all the terms you would like to rank for. It is very important that you do this naturally and avoid keyword stuffing, which will only affect your rankings negatively. If you are not sure what keywords to use, we can help, talk to us.
Most websites have this information placed in a hero banner, so users can find it at a glance, saving them unnecessary scrolling or clicks.
Xero.com is a great example. You understand what they do by reading the first lines.
3. Appealing design and visuals
Although written content is a key part of your homepage, especially because this is what search engines can read, its design and the experience users get from it isn’t less important. Users will scan your homepage in a few seconds and leave straight away if they don’t find what they need or if they don’t feel comfortable with the look of it. Use good imagery, easy-to-read fonts, make sure the site looks good on mobile and don’t confuse them with too much information. Bad user experiences might result in high bounce rates, lower time on page and many other behaviour metrics that indicate users don’t find your site helpful.
Dropbox.com has some great visuals in their homepage.
4. Call to action
Some visitors will land on your website looking for something in particular and some others won’t have such specific interest. On your home page, you should have a clear, non-ambiguous and easy to spot call to action that guides users on what is the next step to take on your site. The call to action usually takes the shape of a button and could be anything from ‘buy now’ to ‘view our work’.
On the Latitude Homes website, the main call to action is to find your perfect home by using the filter.
How many words should I write on the homepage?
There is no minimum or maximum word count per webpage. We recommend a minimum of 300 words on each page. However, to have optimal results on Google rankings, you need to focus on the quality of your words. Use as many words as you need to cover the items above in a compelling way and don’t try to use more words just to hit a higher word count. Your visitors and Google will do the rest.
In conclusion, your home page should be straightforward, easy to use and beautifully designed to offer the best possible user experience and search engine friendliness.