Your homepage is one of the most important pages on your website as it is likely to be the first touchpoint a user has with your brand. Making sure you’ve fully optimized your homepage is the key to converting users into paying customers. But how exactly should you optimize your homepage?
Clear, concise navigation
It’s been said that all pages on your website should be no more than 3 clicks deep in your navigation. While there are arguments for and against this in the industry, it’s something you should bear in mind.
Your website’s navigation is one of the most important factors in optimizing your homepage. It’s likely to be the first thing a user will see and use to find the answer to their pain points. If your navigation isn’t clear or is overloaded with 10s of links, a user is likely to become confused and frustrated, opting to leave your site in search of a more user-friendly website.
Good navigation is essential for a positive user experience as this can make or break your click-through rates and conversion rates.
Focus on SEO best practices
SEO best practices aren’t just to please Google and help your pages rank highly on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). By following these tips, you’re also ensuring your website is optimized in the right way for users when they land on your page.
Ensure your homepage is structured correctly using appropriate heading tags. For example, your page should have a Heading 1 (H1) tag at the top of the page and any subheadings should be using H2s, H3s, and so on.
This is what allows Google to read your pages, understand its structure and use this, along with other factors, to determine your ranking status. Ensuring all headings on your website are appropriately tagged is essential for optimization.
Meta titles & descriptions
Your meta titles and descriptions are what users see in a search engine results page (SERPs) and will be the determining factor to whether someone will click through to your site. It’s important to include your primary keyword in both of these as this will help Google match your page with a customer query and likewise users will see your page as a helpful resource. How you go about this will look slightly different depending on the CMS you’re using. For example, the Umbraco CMS ensures there is an SEO-specific area for you to fully optimize your pages with the correct meta titles and descriptions.
Whilst you need to ensure your meta title and descriptions include a keyword, it’s essential the keyword you choose is accurate to what a user can expect from your page. For example, if you intend to rank for the keyword “inbound marketing sales process”, but your page content is actually discussing what inbound marketing is and doesn’t mention the sales process, this will negatively impact your bounce rate as you won’t be answering the question users are looking for.
Include Call to Actions (CTAs)
Your homepage needs to have a purpose. It shouldn’t be a content-rich page that overloads a reader with who you are and everything your company does. That level of detail is what product or service pages are for.
Your homepage is an entry point and is likely to be the first time a user has interacted with your site before. That’s why your messaging needs to be clear, but concise and ensure you include relevant CTAs (call to actions). Likewise, it's important not to clutter your website and direct users to too many pages as that can be confusing and create a bad user experience.
It’s best to choose 1-2 pages you want to push a user towards and ensure you include these CTAs throughout the homepage. There’s no point in having a CTA at the top of the page and the rest of your homepage is full of content and no links.
Similarly, you don’t want your CTAs to be in the middle or bottom of the page and not at the top. Keeping your design templates simple and making sure you’re consistent throughout is key to having a fully optimized homepage.
Design for a good first impression
It goes without saying that if your website looks visually unappealing or confusing, you’ll see a high bounce rate as users go elsewhere. Users don’t trust a poorly designed website, whereas compelling design elements can capture attention and keep visitors on the page long enough to learn more.
Things like layout, images, font, and mobile responsiveness, all play a role in making a well-designed website. As a general rule, keep it simple. Stay away from over-the-top design elements, utilize white space and keep the content stripped back so as to invite the user to want to learn more.
Designing for mobile first has huge benefits, working towards improving your ranking in SERPs as well as generally providing a better user experience, as most website traffic now comes via mobile.
If you feel like the design of your homepage or modules is causing issues when it comes to aiding conversion on your homepage, you may need to consider how you can improve elements like the layout and structure. If you have a flexible CMS that allows you to make changes easily, you can try different combinations and see which looks better.
Your homepage should make it clear what users can expect to find on your website and feature your unique selling point. With relevant links to the most important pages and a focus on SEO best practices, you’ll have a fully optimized homepage in no time. Fundamentally, it might be time to consider a new website if the existing design or layout is out of date or incohesive. An Umbraco agency like Prodo can help you solve these challenges and design a website that better suits your business needs.
A big thank you and H5YR to Umbraco Gold Partner, Prodo for sharing their tips on this topic!