You have 5 seconds to capture a visitor’s attention when they first click through to your website. If your website is too messy/too confusing/too formal, you can quickly lose a potential customer.
You want your visitor’s first experience to be a positive one. Here are some examples of homepages that have perfected their first impressions.
Key features of an engaging website
- Headline – Keep your headline clear and simple. The visitor should know what you site has to offer within a couple of seconds.
Hulu has the perfect Headline. “Watch thousands of show and movies, with plans starting at $5.99/month.” It tells you exactly what they are providing and for how much. It answers the basic questions the customer wants to know in a single succinct sentence.
- Navigation – The 3 click rule (The visitor should be able to get to your product or service in 3 clicks or less)
Apple’s navigation menu is a perfect example of the 3 click rule. The menus are laid out in an intuitive manner, that clearly categorize all its products in easy to find locations. Clicking any of these top navigations gets you within a click or two to detailed product information.
- CTA – The goal of every website should be to encourage your visitor to perform some specific task. These call to actions or “CTAs” should be visually striking and should grab the visitors attention. Keep the copy brief and action-orientated, enticing the user to your goal.
Spotify’s CTA is front and center, and basically the only thing on the homepage. “Listening is everything. Millions of Songs and Podcasts. No credit card needed” “Get Spotify Free”. This is a great example of a headline supporting a strong call to action. Why wouldn’t you sign up?
- Supporting Images – Most people are visual in nature. Imagery and video are an important part of getting emotion and action out of your visitors. Use images that capture your companies brand, I always prefer actual photos from your company, however stock images can be used in the right situations, but try to avoid the cheesy corporate stock photos.
Poise Pilates + Barre has a great homepage that not only has a very professional video, showing what the customer will experience as they enter the studio. But also has professionally taken photos that showcase the studio. This imagery really captures the feel and vibe the studio wants to portray to its clients.
- Content – Your website should always answer the questions of what you do and why you do it. Listing features and benefits on your homepage is critical to giving people more of an understanding of the products and services your business has to offer. Keep the content brief and easy to understand.
Dropbox clearly lays out the features and benefits of using its product. It has a very creative list of benefits featured on the homepage that can be expanded with additional details, and a corresponding picture on the right side of the page for each benefit. I really understand how Dropbox is going to improve my life.
- Social Proof – Nothing is more powerful than real people giving honest and credible reviews. Adding names and photos give testimonials even more of a personal touch.
On Elite Fitness Center’s homepage, we are using an app from Mindbody to pull client reviews that automatically post to the homepage. These are always up to date, and build trust that your place of business is active and thriving.
- Success Indicators – In addition to customer success stories, both awards and recognition can also help inspire a good first impression. Is your company a critically acclaimed restaurant? Were you voted best of in your local town? Let your homepage visitors know of your accomplishments. Like social proof, it’ll give your business more credibility to those who don’t know you.
Zapier is a great example of a company that partners with many other big companies as part of its service offering. They have done a great job of featuring some of these companies on the top of their homepage as a way of gaining credibility with their users.
Loading Speed – Every website should strive to meet The 5-second rule. 2 seconds is the optimum loading speed, and an additional 3 seconds to understand what the site is offering. I encourage you to show your website to a friend or potential client for 5 seconds and then hide it. See if they can tell what the purpose of the site is?
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