What should be on your Website Homepage?

Building your website homepage: the key elements you need to include

Establishing a strong online presence as a business in this day and age is imperative – regardless of whether your business takes place primarily online or in-person.

Your online presence includes any social media efforts, content curation, email marketing, and of course, your website.

Each of these marketing efforts allows you to connect with prospective customers and clients, as well as giving you the opportunity to provide information about your company and your products or offerings.

From here, readers can determine whether to take further steps to work with you, or if your offer isn’t aligned (which, by the way, is equally okay).
I love helping clients with all of their marketing initiatives, but a key place I like to start is with their website.

You can think of your website as a central hub for helping you to be discovered online, engaging with potential customers and clients, and (ideally) converting them into buyers, with your homepage being the center of it all.

Why is there so much focus on the homepage?

Your homepage is often a visitor’s first impression of your business.

It can be thought of like the store window of a physical business – offering visitors a glimpse into your company and what you offer, and helping to influence whether or not they choose to explore further (for example, going inside or clicking further into your website).

With so many options online, visitors can be quite hasty when they’re making this decision.

Alarming statistics illustrate that you have approximately 50 milliseconds (0.05 seconds) to make a good first impression with your website – that’s approximately how long it takes for users to form an opinion on your site and to decide whether they’ll stay or leave.

And unlike landing pages, for which you have some information about the user’s interests, desires, interests and motivations, when someone lands on your homepage you have little to no information about what drove them there.

As such, your homepage needs to be very intentionally designed:

  • It should include a clear company message outlining what you do and how you can help visitors
  • It should utilize your brand colours and fonts so people know they’ve landed in the right place
  • It should allow visitors to quickly develop an impression of your brand
  • It should allow potential clients or customers to connect with you
  • And it should guide visitors seamlessly; helping them find what they’re looking for as quickly as possible

It might seem like a tall order, and in many ways it is. The homepage of your site has a lot of jobs to do.

But if you follow the below framework, you’ll be able to design an effective homepage that fulfills all of these goals and more.

Where do you begin when creating a website homepage?

Creating a new website (or updating an existing one), involves a lot of planning and preparation.

I’ve written an entire blog post about what you need before you dive into the process, which you can find here.

Some of these elements include:

  • Getting clear on your target audience. Remember, if you try to speak to everyone you’re going to speak to no one. Who are you trying to reach? What problem are you solving? What are their pain points? What answers and information are they looking for? This is who you’re going to be building your entire website around.
  • The goals you have for your website. Are you hoping to simply inform your audience of your company and company history? Build your email list? Facilitate online orders? Encourage people to book consultation calls? These questions will help you structure your website and create clear calls-to-action.
  • Your visual branding elements. This includes your logo, fonts, colour choices, and overall tone and style of your company.

In this blog post I’m going to assume that you’ve already taken the time to explore and finalize these elements for your company so that we can dive directly into the implementation of them onto your homepage.

What elements need to be on your homepage?

QUICK TIP: It might be helpful to build a quick website wireframe on a scrap piece of paper as you move through this blog post! From here you can share this document with your web designer, or use it to build out your website on your own.

1. Logo

Your logo should appear in the top left-hand corner of your website and should link back to the homepage.

This is a common website practice, and is something most users are familiar with, making it a simple but important feature to support user experience.

2. Navigation

In my website content checklist I outlined the importance of your navigation bar. This will appear at the top of every page of your website as part of the header, and should include 4-6 main links clearly directing visitors to different pages of your website.

A thoughtfully designed navigation bar helps to direct traffic, allowing your audience to find the information they’re looking for quickly and easily (and therefore making it more likely that they remain on your website).

3. Heading and subheading

“Above the fold” refers to the part of the website that users see when they land on your website, before scrolling. In this section, include a heading and subheading which clearly represent your brand.

This is your opportunity to let visitors know what you offer and how you can serve them.

On my website for example, my heading is, “Grow your business with effective digital marketing solutions.” My subheading is directly underneath, “Ditch the overwhelm and get results.”

Immediately it’s clear that I provide digital marketing support for people who are overwhelmed trying to navigate the space on their own.

While people who don’t need digital marketing support might be turned off by that headline, it’s going to speak directly to the potential clients who do, helping us to collect higher quality leads.

Curate your heading and subheading intentionally, using keywords that will boost your SEO, while still speaking in plain language.

When well-written, these elements should provide visitors with the confirmation that they’re in the right place, as well as a basic overview of what you offer.

4. Your value proposition – offers, benefits and/or features

While your heading and subheading lay the groundwork, they likely aren’t going to be able to paint a full picture of what you do.

Using my website again as the example, from the headings you know I work in digital marketing but that’s still quite vague. Visitors need to know how specifically they can work with you in order to better inform their decisions.

That’s why, in the next section of your homepage I recommend providing a more specific overview of your offers or product features, in a creative way.

Consider that your ideal client has landed on your website looking for solutions to their pain points. Speak to them directly as if you’re guiding them, helping them to determine their next step.

What are their pain points? What are they struggling with? How will working with you or purchasing your product alleviate those frustrations? What can they expect from working with you? How can you differentiate yourself from other companies offering something similar? Why are you the best choice for them?

Visitors tend to scan websites, so it can be helpful to utilize bullet points or icons here to break up the content. On my website, I opted for a series of short questions users can quickly scan to see if they apply to them.

Here are some other examples:

National Capital First Aid

Furry Tale Cat Rescue

Use simple language, avoid clutter, and utilize white space to make this section easy-to-read and user-friendly.

Note: it’s quite possible that you have a number of different ideal client avatars if you have multiple customer segments. In this case, I would recommend adding a section on your homepage where you allow users to filter themselves based on the product or concern they’re interested in, or which audience segment they fall into.

5. Consistent call-to-action

Focus your homepage on one main call-to-action so as to not confuse visitors. One of these calls-to-action should appear in the upper right corner as part of your header (but in a distinct button form).

The others can lie throughout the page, appearing after each section where you share more about your company or services. Don’t overdo it though! 2-3 more throughout the page is more than enough to encourage conversions and funnel traffic.

This call-to-action should be based around the website goals you established at the beginning of this process. “Shop now,” or “book a consultation call,” are common choices.

I also like to recommend my clients include a checklist outlining the next 3 steps users can take to start working with you, followed by your CTA.

Make it as easy as possible for people to take the next step with you by giving them clear direction.

6.Visual elements

Images and/or video can add to the visual appeal of your website, encouraging longer session times and helping your audience get a better feel for who you are and what you do.

Use visual elements that are likely to trigger emotion in your viewer. This can support the storytelling you’re doing on this page.

7. Additional guides or resources

Most people who land on your website won’t be ready to buy immediately.

Offering additional support in the form of guides, resources, blogs, or case studies towards the bottom of your homepage can help extend visitor engagement time, simultaneously boosting your credibility.

Capturing an email in this section, or in a pop-up on the page by offering a free download can help ensure you stay connected with this visitor, even after they exit your page!

8. Testimonials

Social proof is also key for boosting credibility. Collect testimonials whenever you can, and use a few of them on your homepage to showcase results that others have seen.

Keep these on the shorter side on your homepage – we don’t want to overwhelm people with too much text. You can always include the longer version on the landing page specific to the offer they’re in reference to.

Where you can, add photos of these people to show their transformation!

9. More social proof: stats, partner logos, or awards

If applicable, adding notable statistics or recognizable logos of companies you’ve worked with in the past can further boost credibility and trust.

Trillium Family Chiropractic

10. Contact information

Depending on your business, include your phone number, email, and/or physical location in the footer of your website.

Give people the opportunity to connect with you further if they’re interested!

You won’t be able to speak to every single question or concern on your website. So, for those who don’t find what they’re looking for online, having your contact information readily available allows you to still capture those customers.

Looking for support?

I know this is a lot. Like I said at the beginning, website builds require a lot of intentional planning and preparation but they’re worth it!

I’m here to support you along the way. Whether you’re starting from scratch or you want to level up your current website and digital marketing, I’ll help you pick the right approach to meet your business needs.