Creating a Homepage that Builds Your Brand

shutterstock_148195292 Think of your website as an interactive business card. Often, it is the first place that prospective clients will go to learn about you and your brand. It has to draw the viewer in and make them want to learn more about you. While there is no one right way to present your business online, it is vital to create a website that effectively delivers information to viewers in a concise and engaging way.

Putting together your website is like writing a solid short story: you must select the best wording, images and resources, and present them in a way that will appeal to your target audience. Your website is an excellent place to present your purpose and showcase your personality.

Prospective clients and casual browsers alike will likely land on your homepage first. Obviously, this is the most important page on your site. Your homepage has to be visually interesting, user friendly and engaging enough to inspire visitors to continue browsing. This can be a delicate balancing act. Enough information must be presented to pique their interest in delving deeper into the site. But don’t overwhelm the reader with too much.  If you are using a tool like Google Analytics and find that a lot of people are bouncing from your site once they have viewed the homepage, then you aren’t being clear and engaging.

When creating an effective and powerful homepage for your site, you must ask yourself two very important questions:

  1. What is the ONE thing you want visitors to do when they come to your site?
  2. What is the outcome people receive from working with you?

One of the most important things is to capture a name and email address for your list. As service professionals, many of you are trying to grow your tribe and create a community around your brand. You want to offer an incentive – a special report, checklist, audio recording etc., for people to sign up with you.

You also want to be VERY clear about what it is that do, and most importantly, what is the outcome people achieve by working with you. Will they attract more clients, make more money, get more organized, create and implement a strategic marketing plan, etc.? This must be front and center and easily accessible on your homepage.

Here are eleven points to remember when creating a compelling homepage:

  1. Don’t overwhelm people with too many directives and things to do
  2. Ask yourself question #1 above and focus on this one action step
  3. Tell people exactly what to do – for example, tell them to sign up for your special report and they will get your weekly newsletter on office organization tips
  4. Tell people exactly where to go – once they have signed up for your report and newsletter, direct them to another area of interest on your site, such as your blog or office organization service packages
  5. Use logos, colors and images that are in keeping with your brand personality
  6. Don’t get creative with names on your navigation bar – keep it clear and simple
  7. Make your copy personal and conversational – you want to engage and connect, not sound stuffy and corporate
  8. Save the soliloquies for Shakespeare – remember that people scan, not read, online and have VERY short attention spans. You need to get to the point quickly and concisely
  9. Choose your words carefully
  10. Whenever possible, “show it, don’t just say it” – images will set the tone for what it’s like to work with you and your company
  11. Keep them coming back for more.  While you don’t want to overwhelm clients with information, putting short updates on your homepage to announce new products, services, and media coverage will keep your website fresh.

©Liz Dennery Sanders 2013

 

 

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