Five Costly Mistakes to Avoid on Your Website Home Page
I am Jess! Ottawa brand strategist and website designer helping passionate service-based businesses grow with confidence. I usually have a coffee in one hand, scrunchie in another, and will probably use one too many exclamation mark in my emails. You have been forewarned! If you ever want to chat any thing biz, branding, or well - life I am your gal!
Nine times out of ten, your website home page is the first place a potential client will visit when they arrive onto your website and the reality is, they also most likely have 12 different tabs open on their browser when they are looking for a service provider. I mean, come on, you are probably very much guilty of that too! So not only are competing for their attention… but you are also now competing against 11 other open tabs.
Not to mention… studies have shown that it takes only 3-8 seconds to capture someone’s attention before they move onto something else (or worst, exit your website!)
That’s it… 3-8 seconds! I can’t even warm up a slice of pizza in the microwave… let alone melt cheese on toast…
So, to avoid being forgotten or abandoned, let’s ensure your website home page is optimized for higher engagement and conversion to attract your ideal client. Here are five costly mistakes to avoid making on your website!
Too Many Navigation Links
One of the main reasons visitors leave a website at first glance is because there are way too many choices to make. Sounds odd right? But actually, decision fatigue is a real psychological phenomenon that we experience on the daily! Our brains crave simplicity. It doesn’t do well with cluttered information or one too many choices. How many times have you toggled between two or three choices … and instead of picking one, you decided to just walk away instead?
That goes the same for websites, and specifically, your home page navigation.
What I suggest is listing out all of the pages that will be on your website and putting them into buckets that best enhance the user journey. I suggest no more than 4-5 links in your primary navigation! And if there are additional links that are non-negotiable that you would like to add (i.e., language toggle, contact, member login), consider using secondary navigation separate from the primary in a smaller font. This will separate the information in a clean and cohesive way without overwhelming the visitor at first glance while still allowing you to have everything that you need within your navigation. Anything other web page links that are secondary or not as important can go in your footer!
Vague Headline on Hero Banner
Okay, let me back up for a second. What exactly is a hero banner and where is that on your website? A hero banner is that wide section at the top of each website. It’s usually the first thing a visitor will see when they come across your website home page. Usually, if done right, it catches your attention instantly and moves you to action.
Pretty much, it’s a direct conversion tool.
Meaning… that’s prime real estate on your website. A GOLD MINE! And it’s a shame because there are businesses not using that section properly! And if we are talking about attention span, it can make or break your website.
While it is nice to have a welcome message, your business mission, or maybe your business tagline on there… it’s a 100 x more strategic when you are using that space to speak to your visitor’s desires or pain points. What is it that they want and how are you positioned to help them? Remember what I said above… you have exactly 3-8 seconds to convince a visitor that they are in the right place and should continue scrolling to learn more. So… why are you trying to beat around the bush with a nice welcome message?
Here are some examples of businesses using the hero banner creatively and strategically:
Speaking to Everyone
There are two questions that are burning in your visitors’ brains when they land on your website home page: “who are you” and “are you for me”.
I have said it before and I will say it again… your ideal client should be your first and utmost priority when you are writing anything copy-related. So, of course, that means your website too!
The purpose of your website is ultimately FOR your ideal client. It’s not a place for you to dump your entire resumé on there and to talk about YOU. While they do want to get to know who you are, they are more interested in learning about how your service will benefit them! Therefore, it is important to ensure your website copy is speaking to them directly no matter what.
Take Apple for example They know their ideal client so well that they have mastered their messaging and language – from a 13-year-old to a 60-year-old. They aren’t trying to please and convince everyone to buy their computers or devices – they really wouldn’t care less. What they care about is solving a problem for their target audience… you know, the ones that value simplicity and ease of use. In doing so, they have created custom “ideal client avatars” to really get to know each of their users down to the core. Simplicity is what their customer desires, therefore, it is reflected in everything that they do – marketing, product, design, and more. They avoid industry (and technical) jargon in their marketing and use simple words to describe HOW their product will make their life better. Rather than listing specs, they inject real-life examples as to where their product will fit in your life. The iPhone isn’t JUST a smartphone… it holds the power of an Apple computer right in their pocket.
You see what I mean?
Poor Image Quality and Relevance
First impressions matter. At the end of the day, you and I are visual beings and we judge a book by its cover more often than we would like. Our brains are driven to take action visually, so when we come across imagery that is poor quality, blurry, or pixelated, we are instantly turned off. Even if your website has the best copy written in the world, imagery can make a visitor doubt your expertise.
I often say a high-converting website is made out of three things: design, messaging, and imagery. That is the trifecta. When implemented strategically and beautifully, it will turn heads like no other. It’s an investment that will always have a high ROI for your business.
At the end of the day, running a business requires a high level of professionalism. Investing in branding photography will help elevate your brand and communicate to your visitors effectively and emotionally. If you are interested in learning more, I have created a step-by-step guide to help plan and coordinate a successful brand photoshoot for your business for you to download!
And if your budget is tight, at the very least, invest in a stock photography membership! Here are a list of my favorite stock photography websites:
Last but not least, every website needs to have call-to-actions strategically placed on the home page to guide your visitor onto the next step. Tell them what action they should take next if they want to find out more information. Don’t leave them hanging or questioning what to do next. Otherwise, all of that important work we have done above has now gone to waste!
Take your visitor on a journey through your website. Yes, that magic carpet journey experience I am talking about. Anticipate their needs, inform them with just enough information, and guide them through the transformation!
There’s a lot that goes on creating a high-converting, strategic, and impactful website and it starts all right on the home page. A website is no longer a “nice to have” for any business, it is absolutely crucial and when designed properly, can be one of your most powerful marketing tools.
Working with a professional can save you time, money, and energy in the long run. if you are interested in elevating your online presence, let’s chat!