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Website Design Best Practices: Top 8 Tips for Captivating Visitors on your Home Page

You only have 3-10 seconds! That’s how long it takes the average person to decide whether to stay on your website. Your website is the hub of your online presence. To put it bluntly, it needs to be good, or your ideal customers and clients may feel alienated and leave.

Keep reading to learn eight easy tips to improve your website homepage so it captivates your customers in the first few seconds. By applying a few website design best practices, you're likely to see more visitors to your website and more clicks to take the next step!

laptop open on desk showing a small business website

1. Understand your audience

Designing or writing a website is impossible without knowing who your customers are and what they need from you. If you haven’t already done so, write a detailed customer persona. 

In addition to basic demographic information like income, geographic location, and marital status, here are some questions you should know about your customers before designing or writing your website homepage:

  • What are their main pain points?

  • What’s motivating them to buy?

  • What is their reading level? (If you are writing for ESL or those with low English skills, your copy and content will vastly differ from writing to a group of ideal customers with PhDs.) 

  • How do they prefer to consume information? (reading, video, audio)

  • How much do they already know about your niche?

2. Have a clear, concise headline

Often, the first thing someone will see on your homepage is your title (second to any banner or header graphics you may have). This headline may be the most crucial textual element on your page!

Effective headlines communicate three things:

  • Who you are (your company name)

  • What you do

  • Who you serve (who is your target customer)

You may also need to include an SEO keyword (more on that in tip #8 below) and geographical information if relevant to your business. 

The goal is that after reading this main heading (and its subheading, if necessary), a website visitor will have enough information to determine whether you have what they need. 

Here’s an example:

[HEADING] ABC Corporation - Providing compassionate legal services for families

3. Break up text with subheads and images

We’re willing to bet that 99% of your website visitors don’t want to read a wall of solid text on your homepage (if they did, they’d grab a novel from the library). They want quick information about how your business can solve their problems. 

If someone is quickly scanning your website to find something specific about you, they will scroll and scan the headings to find it. That’s why breaking up your homepage into short sections with clear and concise headings is critical. 

Depending on your brand, don’t get too fancy or creative with your headings. Make it quick and easy for someone to understand what’s in each section.

4. Clear USP

What makes you stand out from your competitors? There are likely many people who do the same thing you do, but there is always something that will set you apart. Showcase that Unique Selling Proposition (USP) on your website. 

It could be as simple as “Unlike the other guys, ABC Corp includes [insert USP here].”

5. Benefits

People always want to know why they should buy from you. Many customers will appreciate a list that clearly describes the benefits of your product or service and how it solves a problem or makes their lives easier. 

To make it more attractive, consider listing the benefits in a bulleted list (this helps break up the text) or in a grid pattern with images or icons representing each benefit along with a short descriptive text.

6. Social Proof

You could say (nearly) anything you want about your company on your website…but that doesn’t mean your homepage visitors will believe you. That’s why social proof is critical to building trust with new customers. 

Social proof is a fancy marketing way to say testimonials or case studies. Place a few good ones on your homepage to help build that third-party credibility right away. Ask your web designer about plugins that automatically pull testimonials from Google or Facebook for your website. 

7. Steps to buy

Make it as easy as possible for people to buy from you. You set expectations at the start by explaining how to buy from you on your homepage. It also creates an excellent opportunity for graphics for each step to help make the page more visually appealing. 

It could be as simple as:

  1. Contact us for a complimentary patio installation estimate

  2. Review your itemized quote

  3. Sign the work order, and we’ll start your project

  4. Enjoy your new patio!

8. Use SEO keywords

If you can only optimize one webpage for SEO, it would be your homepage. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is partially based on choosing a keyword phrase that people search for in Google when looking for a business like yours and including that keyword phrase throughout your homepage. 

Choosing an effective keyword phrase is a complex task that requires nuanced research. We strongly recommend seeking support from a web or SEO agency to ensure you use the most effective keyword phrase possible. Once you have your chosen homepage keyword phrase, use it in about 2% of your copy (you can use a free online keyword density checker to check). Also, ensure it’s used in your main title and at least one subheading. 

How to captivate website visitors on your homepage 

By implementing our top 8 website homepage tips, you can create a homepage that’s on brand and helps weed out the “lookie-loos” from the serious prospects. It provides just enough information for people to know what you do and who you do it for. 

If you’re still feeling overwhelmed with designing and writing your homepage or website, the Small Town Girl Promotions team can help. We have web design, SEO, and copywriting experts to help you captivate your visitors within that 3-10-second window. 

I'd love to hop on a phone or Zoom call to get to know you and your business better. Book an online coffee chat to get started today. 

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