For many businesses, website design can be more important than the design of their physical store or office space. And the front page of your website is easily the most important part of that design. As the primary entryway into your site, it serves as your online storefront, providing that irreplaceable first impression.But many home pages are found wanting. In the effort to make an attractive front page, some designers leave out what should be essential elements. If you are redesigning your website, or looking to improve the design you have, here are five things that you should include on the home page:
- Your contact information. Sure, you have a separate “contact us” page, but you should make it as simple as possible for people to contact you. You want them to call you, send you an email or drop by your location, so don’t make willing prospects jump through the hoop of having to load another page or searching Google for your address.
- Links to your social media profiles. Again, you want people to connect with you. You want them to engage with you, “like” you and “share” you with their friends. Some people even prefer to use tweets or Facebook messages to contact people, in lieu of a phone call or email. So, along with your traditional contact information, include links to your social media pages.
- A way to register for email updates. As with any landing page, you want your home page to have a call to action. Including an email signup box gives them an easy first step. More importantly, it helps you capture contact information from your online visitors, so you can follow up with them after they leave your site.
- Clear and easy navigation. Most home pages do include some kind of menu, but that menu is not always clear. “Mystery meat navigation” is a common slang term for website menus that are difficult to see or understand. Mystery meat navigation is often the result of developers trying to be too creative or “cute” with the menu design, creating links out of images or symbols that do not clearly state what the link is for. A good menu should be instantly visible and understandable, without requiring the user to mouse over a menu image in order to see its description (though having drop-down sub-menus is a commonly accepted practice).
- Relevant images. You want your front page to quickly and clearly convey what your company is about and what it can do for the customer. Pictures are generally the best way to do that. Besides potentially making the page more attractive, photos or other graphics can tell your story in an instant. You’ll still include text on the site for the details, but that initial image or images will let the visitor know that it is worthwhile to read on.
Including these elements on your front page still leaves you a nearly infinite array of design options. But by making sure you don’t leave out anything important, this simple list will help ensure that the design you choose is effective at drawing in new customers.
*Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net