Most people who visit your site will land on the homepage first. Therefore, this is the most vital page on your site. If the homepage is well designed, it will leave first-time visitors with a pleasant first impression. However, if it doesn’t look good, many people are likely to leave and never return. The following are some tips for a great homepage design.
1. Site identity
When visitors land on your homepage, they should immediately know the name of your site and what it is all about. Don’t make people have to go to the ‘Mission Statement’ or ‘About Us’ page to figure out why your site exists.
2. Site benefits
Besides making clear what your site is all about, your homepage should also show visitors how they will benefit from the site. It would be advisable to display a brief statement at the top of your page mentioning what your site has to offer. Don’t just list the features which are available. Your visitors are more concerned about what they value they will derive from your site, and less about the features.
3. Display content teasers
In the physical world, people design storefronts with the intention of luring passersby to get into the shop. When it comes to web design, the homepage is meant to be the ‘storefront’ of a site. This page is designed to convince visitors to look at the rest of the site. You can use graphics and short ad copy to promote your most popular content or unique features on the homepage. If you have an ecommerce site, you could promote special offers or new products.
4. Fresh content
You need to post fresh content on your site as often as possible, if possible on a daily basis. This will give people a reason to visit your site frequently. Make sure you promote your fresh content on the homepage. Write a catchy, short summary with a ‘read more’ link at the end. Anyone who wants to read the full post can click on the link which will lead to the main category pages.
5. Links to the popular content
It is a fact that some of your posts will end up being more popular with readers than others. You can promote such content by having links to your most popular posts on the homepage. This will make it easier for visitors to find and read such posts, thus making them even more popular.
The search feature is a very important element of any site. This feature makes it easier for visitors to look for specific information on a site without having to go through all the pages. Therefore, you need to ensure that your homepage has a prominently displayed search form. This feature should be kept as basic as possible, preferably a single text box with a submit button. However, for more expert users, you could offer a link to an elaborate search feature.
7. Login or registration
If visitors are required to sign up first before accessing your site, make sure the login form appears clearly at the top of the homepage. However, keep the number of fields at a minimum. If you ask for too many details, some people might get put off and leave. At the initial stage, a name and email address would suffice.