Then websites appeared and, in the early days, they were basically the electronic equivalent of that brochure.
Back then, the home page of a website was key – as it was the first page any visitors would see. Today a website home page is still important but, more often than not, it isn’t the way they come in.
A majority of people will discover a website via a Google search or via a link to a landing page and they will be directed to the page most relevant to them. If somebody is searching for an ‘orange chair’, Google will deliver pages for companies offering these types of chair. Regardless of whether they make a purchase or not, that visitor might never see the home page at all.
That said, home pages are still vital – and you’ll want one which absolutely shows your business in the best light. If you are very clear on what your company offers, then this is fairly easy to achieve. If you are a more complex business with a variety of potential visitors, then it’s more difficult.
A typical business might be welcoming a variety of customers looking for a raft of products and services; they might be your suppliers, the media or even investors. That home page will need to speak to them all. Of course, your competitors might be ‘popping by’ too and you want to create a good impression for them too. This is hard to achieve without making your home page confusing.
You won’t want your home page to be packed with information – as this will confuse people. Instead, you should include your key messaging, being careful to strike a balance so that all your audiences relate to it.
It’s sensible to consider your business goals. Are there particular consumer groups or audiences you want to attract? Remember this when you’re creating your home page, as you’ll want them to be engaged. However, you also want to communicate with your existing customers.
All your clients and potential clients are on a buying journey. They will be at different locations along that route and your home page needs to engage with them all. Some might be keen to learn more about your offering, while customers who have already purchased, might be looking for support or to book a service. It can be tricky to strike the right balance.
Added to this, consumers will already expect certain elements to be on your home page, so they need to be incorporated. These include the usual navigation menu, links to social media and a contact us section etc.
Some of the larger retailers go a step further and rather than having a standard home page which all visitors interact with, they will create home pages which are different for every customer. For instance, if you’ve got an Amazon account then the home page you see will be tailored for you alone. You’ll be welcomed back by name and, as you travel around the website, the retailer will gather information you your buying habits and what you are searching for. It will become increasingly personalised and will highlight items it thinks you’ll like.