An advertiser’s guide to homepage optimisation
So you’ve officially launched your businesses new advertising website, and have taken almost all the necessary steps to ensure that your site will garner huge levels of traffic and is adept at converting them. You’ve meticulously prepared your product pages, you’ve added innovative features to your site to attract visitors, and you have produced a content marketing strategy which you believe will send your company to the upper echelons of its niche. However, upon evaluation of results from analytics, you find that your site is not converting well and visitors tend to leave after coming into it from the homepage.
The reality is that when it comes to conversion rates and site usability, ensuring that you have optimised all the parameters and aesthetics of your homepage is integral to achieving success in these areas. By neglecting to refine your home page whilst creating your site, you are putting it at risk of detracting first time visitors, who might find its poor appearance and navigation ample reason to leave your page and go to a competitor.
As such, it is of paramount importance that you focus on your home page when preparing for the launch of your businesses new site, and ensure that it is optimised entirely so that it is maximally effective at converting visitors and encouraging them to come back to it again.
The following guide will elaborate on certain measures you should consider taking in order to achieve this, as well as outlining what strategies should be avoided, so that the strength of your new homepage is not put at jeopardy.
Elaborate on your identity and the reasons why a consumer should trust you
The market has changed dramatically over the past decade, and it can be argued that there has never been a higher level of mistrust between advertising institutions and the consumer than there has been in recent times. The backlash of the recession and heightened appreciation of the marketing ploys businesses use has meant that many consumers approach interaction with product and service suppliers with a far greater sense of mistrust. As such, it is important that you try and establish a general impression of trustworthiness in all of your advertising activities, in order to break down these new barriers which companies face today, and maximise your return on investment in the future.
There is arguably no better platform to do this than on your home page, and you should be quick to confirm details of your own identity, so that site users are given a name and face to your company. You should also include testimonials on your site, and it is recommended that you use real ones which can be clarified and confirmed by users through an online check, in order to create a sense of trust between your company and the consumer. This can be done by only including testimonials written by people on Twitter or Facebook, which can then be confirmed by people who visit your site.
Another good step you could take when formulating what to write on your home page is asking yourself: If my entire site was removed and users only had my homepage to attain an idea of what my business is about, then what would I put on it? Employing this strategy will ensure that you are more concise with the presentation of your material, and will give you a clear idea of how to shape the content of your homepage. In particular, we recommend that you convey the core values and purpose of your site, as well emphasising the manner in which you conduct business, rather than purely focusing on what you do. This is not to say overloading your homepage and its sliders, but making sure that in short, sharp bursts, you use the appropriate imagery and writing style to give your business credibility and an honest impression.
But shaping the way you write to create an impression of a trustworthy service which cares about its customers. You might also want to consider including money back guarantees and direct links out to your social media pages, so that visitors believe you are an established business and have worked with a number of people in different geographic locations.
Don’t focus on you, focus on what you can do for the customer
A common mistake that many advertisers make with their homepages is using it in order to convey the various merits of the service they provide or the product they are selling. They often choose to load the page with superlatives and mesmerising vocabulary which is suppose to make the consumer feel as if there is no one better than them in the industry for the purpose the user is looking for.
However, taking this course of action is neglecting what consumers actually want to know, which is what you can do for them. They don’t really want to know how good you are; what they really desire to know is how much you can do for them, and how your service can benefit them.
For example, an SEO company does not need to emphasise that it is adept with analytics, and is multi-competent at social media optimisation and PPC management. Instead, it should emphasise that it will get the user maximise return from minimal outlay, and will create a buzz for all businesses through clever social media optimisation. Ultimately, by including promises of tangible rewards, you are giving a consumer a far greater reason to use your business and convert into paying customer, rather than presenting them with the same self-indulgent material that many businesses are guilty of.
Sliders and carousels are not for everyone
We also recommend that if you have a carousel on your site, you seriously consider when it is necessary for your page. Yes, there are many instances when carousels are supremely helpful for users, and also provide you with the opportunity to exhibit multiple elements of your service without using up a large amount of space on your page. Moreover, the supplementary images which are included can also be useful, and a number of templates attach them by default.
However, they can also be overbearing for users, and can often lower your visibility by forcing users to neglect the slider altogether. You will have to analyse how effective your carousel is at converting visitors, in order to ascertain whether it is functioning for your company’s benefit or detriment.
Have visible and intelligently placed calls-to-action
Ensuring that you have clear, visible and well-placed calls-to-action on your homepage is fundamental to improving your conversion rate. Remember, too many calls-to-action will lead to users accessing areas of your site that you don’t want to, so you should choose which primary pages to link out on the basis of which ones stand to make you the most money. Use your homepage as your own personal canvass and have it function as a map for your users to access the pages which you believe will convert the best. This means having both primary and secondary calls to action which will manipulate users into your own conversion funnel.