There are a number of factors that all pool together to make a fantastic website.
A key element to a great website is a great home page - but how do I create a home page that's going to have a positive, lasting effect on the visitor?
There's a variety of things you should consider when designing a website home page:
As technology has evolved and time goes on, it appears people want to read less and less in the first instance. Because of this, it's important that your home page does a lot of the heavy lifting for the user. You will need to articulately write a summary of your service, product or business in order to "sell" it to the user, and leave them wanting more information. This text should be enough to leave them intrigued and carry on looking at the rest of the home page contents.
In times gone by, a home page would have had a lot of text and not a lot else - this was partly due to internet speeds as dial up connections could not handle large quantities of images and data, so a vast amount of text would be included so that the user could find out everything they needed by reading it all. However, this is no longer the case and people are no longer willing to do this.
If you look at the Cosmic home page, you will see it is very text light - the only text comes in the form of call to action boxes.
2. Calls to action
A call to action is a box or an image which acts as point of interest for the user so they can click on it and find out more information about the subject at hand. These are typically found in a grid layout and will usually have a title, some form of description and either an image or an icon.
You can see examples of call to actions on the Cosmic home page - have a look at the "who we do it for" row and you will see titles, images and a description, and the user is able to click on the image to find out more about that sector.
These are great at driving customers to the right section of your website. The user does not have to read lots of text to find out the information they want; there is a simple introduction which allows them to decide if the link is going to take them to the right place. If it is, they can click and read more information about what they are interested in.
These are an important feature of any home page and these should direct users to your most important content.
3. Quality images
The age-old saying "a picture is worth a thousand words" could not be truer when operating a website. Images are what really sell your product or message, so you should ensure that the photos used on your website are of the highest standard possible for maximum impact.
When a user reaches your home page for the first time, it needs to have a strong positive effect on them - home pages are typically very image-led in this day and age, so ensuring your best, most eye-catching images are used here is very important.
These should be of a high resolution and taken with a good camera for the best possible effect.
Not sure how to get images for your website? Have a read of our handy blog.
It's important to use strong, vibrant colours on your home page to catch the attention of the visitor.
Be sure to stay true to your branding guidelines and use your primary colour, but also try to identify complimentary colours that you could use to break apart sections of your home page to give it some character.
Lots of home pages nowadays use rows to highlight specific pieces of content, just like we at Cosmic do. These sections can be different colours to draw attention to them so that they don't just blend into the background. As you can see from our website, we use our primary blue and white, as well as complimentary shades of blue to flesh out some of our extra sections. This stops the home page from looking too dull - an all-white home page with black text may be functional, but won't catch the attention and stand out to a potential customer.
Make sure you don't overload on colours as this can make the page look too busy - take a look at our home page to see an example of vibrant colours and incorporate it on your website home page and throughout the rest of the pages too.
Your home page needs to clearly and concisely deliver your message and aims to the website visitor. The user should be able to work out what you do almost straight away, so using to-the-point headings and descriptive images will work in your favour.
The home page needs to have a certain level of impact on the user, whether it be on an emotional level (i.e. a charity) or a professional level so that the would-be client will know that you are the best at what you do.
A mixture of points 2, 3 and 4 will lend weight to the impact of your home page - strong images, vibrant colours and easy to understand call to actions will all work together to create a strong impact on the user, and if done well can result in a sale or enquiry!
Consistency is key to a great website. This doesn't just apply to the home page, though - you should be applying the same techniques that you use on the home page to all pages on your website. This creates a consistent, structured experience for the user and they will at all times feel like they are in the correct place to find the information they require.
As a website administrator, you should always use the same colour scheme throughout your website. This is the same for headings, typefaces, font sizes, font colours, types of images (i.e. photograph or illustration) and structure to maintain a uniform on your website. If a user has a completely different experience after clicking from a beautiful home page to a dull internal page, they are likely to leave the website in search of something else, so ensure that your website maintains the same features throughout for the best possible experience.
These should also translate to any other external accounts you have on social networks and your branding - maintain a strong brand image for the best results.
We hope you found our top tips for website home pages useful - if you have any more questions about website management, website development or would like to suggest a blog for us to write, please get in touch with our friendly team and we will be happy to guide you.