Figuring out what to put on a website homepage can be tricky. Homepages are like digital storefronts – they need to be inviting, informative, and easy to navigate. Your site’s success depends on creating a homepage that accurately reflects what your business is all about and what visitors can expect to find when they explore the rest of your site.
A website homepage should not only include elements like contact information and links to other pages, but also be optimized for what’s called a “user flow.” In other words, it should be easy for users to find what they’re looking for on your website, and take the actions you want them to take.
In this blog post, we’ll outline the key elements every homepage needs as well as some helpful optional extras. So whether you’re just starting out with your website or you’re looking for ways to improve it, read on for some valuable advice!
What to Put on a Website Homepage: The 12 Key Elements
1. A Compelling Headline
The headline is often what appears in search results, so it needs to be attention-grabbing and relevant to what users are looking for. It should also be reflective of the overall tone of your website. The headline is usually followed by a brief tagline or description of what your website is about.
We could write a whole blog post on effective headlines, but here are a few quick tips:
- Keep it short and sweet: around 8-10 words is ideal
- Use strong keywords that are relevant to what users are searching for
- Make it catchy and emotionally compelling – users should want to click on your result from a SERP (search engine results page)
2. A Clear Value Proposition
Your value proposition is what sets your website apart from the competition. It’s what you offer that nobody else does, or what you do better than anybody else. Simply put, it should answer the question: why should users visit your website? Your value proposition needs to be clear, and it should appear prominently on your homepage.
Some things to keep in mind when crafting your value proposition: what are the unique selling points of your product or service? How does it benefit your ideal solution’s buyer persona? What needs does it address? Your value proposition should be more like a brief summary – focused and to the point. You don’t want to overwhelm users with too much information.
Don’t have a buyer persona yet? Here’s everything to know about creating buyer personas.
But where do you put the value proposition? A good rule of thumb is above the fold – in other words, visible without needing to scroll down.
3. A Clear Call-to-Action (CTA)
Your CTA is what you want users to do on your website. It could be anything from signing up for your newsletter to making a purchase. Regardless of what it is, your CTA should be clear, easy to find, and impossible to miss. A good CTA will stand out from the rest of the content on your website and use persuasive language to encourage users to take action.
Some things to keep in mind when creating your CTA:
- Use actionable language like “sign up now” or “download our guide”
- Make the offer clear – what will users get by taking action?
- Include a sense of urgency – why should users take action now?
- Use strong color contrast to make the CTA stand out
- Make the CTA button big and easily clickable
Like the value proposition, you’ll want to put a CTA above the fold. Your homepage can and probably should have multiple CTAs, but make sure they’re all relevant and easy to find.
4. Social Proof
Social proof is a psychological phenomenon: people are more likely to do something if they see that other people are doing it too. When it comes to websites, this can be a powerful tool for building trust and credibility with users. An example of social proof on a website is customer testimonials. If you have a loyal customer base, showcase what they’re saying about your company on your homepage! Other forms of social proof include case studies, media mentions, and awards.
Bonus tip: If you’re already collecting reviews on yelp, or your Google My Business profile, you can repurpose those to feature on your website.
5. User-Friendly Navigation
This is less of a tangible element for your home page and more of a design principle that your homepage (and indeed, your whole website) should follow. What do we mean by navigation? In short, it’s how users get around your website. This can mean anything from a navigation bar at the top of your homepage to clickable links within your content.
The navigation on your website should be easy to understand and use. Users should be able to find what they’re looking for with minimal effort, and the overall structure of your website should be logical. Navigation can be presented in a variety of ways, but the most important thing is that it’s intuitive and user-friendly.
Here’s an example. The designers of our website homepage utilized navigational techniques that help create a cohesive user experience. For one, we included a number of well-placed CTA’s that encourage users to explore our most important pages (including our contact form). We have embedded internal links to our service pages throughout the homepage content, and we’ve included a clear and concise navigation bar at the top of the page. Finally, we wrote our content to encourage the user to navigate through the homepage without getting distracted or bored (we hope).
Your website should clearly state what benefits or features users will get by taking action on your CTA. You want to tell potential customers exactly what they’ll get if they work with you or purchase your product. Your copy should be solution-oriented, meaning it should focus not just on the benefits of using your product or service, but also on concrete ways it will solve the problems of your target audience.
7. Featured Image or Video
Your website’s homepage should have a visually appealing featured image or video. Have you noticed that a lot of websites have a large hero image at the top of their home pages? That’s because these types of visuals are eye-catching and can help set the overall tone for your website. If you choose to use a video, make sure it’s high quality and relevant to what your website is about.
Bonus Tip: Include an Alt Tag
Including an alt tag (or alternate text) with your featured image is good for two reasons: first, it helps users who are unable to see the image; and second, it’s good for SEO. Search engines love alt tags because they help crawling bots better understand what an image is about. When creating an alt tag, make sure to describe what’s happening in the image and include relevant keywords.
Your website’s logo should be prominently displayed on the homepage. A lot of times, the logo will be placed in the top left corner of the web page. People typically read from left to right, so placing the logo in this spot ensures that visitors will see it as soon as they land on your company’s homepage.
Your logo should be:
- High quality
- Relevant to your brand
- Easy to read/understand (if it’s text-based)
Logos are important for a couple of reasons: they help users identify your brand, and they can reinforce your brand’s message or values. Additionally, they make companies feel “more official,” so you’re building trust with potential customers.
We mentioned testimonials earlier as an example of social proof, but they’re important enough to warrant their own spot on this list. Customer testimonials are a great way to build trust and credibility with users, as we mentioned in section four. If you have any positive reviews or quotes from happy customers, make sure to showcase them prominently on your homepage! People are more likely to be persuaded by what others are saying about your product or service than by what you’re saying about it yourself.
10. Contact Information
Information like your mailing address, phone number, and email address should be easy to find on your website. This is important for a few reasons: first, it helps build trust with users; and second, it makes it easy for people to get in touch with you if they have questions or want to do business with you.
If you have a physical location, make sure your address is listed on your homepage. You can also include a map to make it easy for people to find you. If you have a brick-and-mortar store, you might also want to list your business hours.
11. Header and Footer
This might be an obvious one, so we won’t take up too much time talking about why you should have a header and footer (they’re the best and easiest way to create a navigational structure and showcase contact information!). But we will give you a few tips on what to include in each.
In your header, you’ll want to include:
- Your logo
- Your primary navigation menu
- A search function (like a search bar)
- A phone number or contact button
- Social media icons (if applicable)
In your footer, you’ll want to include:
- Your logo
- Your secondary navigation menu
- Your contact information
- Links to your social media accounts (if applicable).
Your primary goal here is to point users to your call to action and make it easy for them to find what they’re looking for. If you can do that, you’re well on your way to creating an effective website homepage!
12. SEO-Driven Content
If you want your website to rank well in search engine results pages, you need to make sure your homepage is optimized for SEO. That means including relevant keywords, using helpful title tags and meta descriptions, external and internal links, and much more.
SEO for a new website can be challenging because you’re battling both against well-established websites and against the system (Google’s algorithms are always changing, so what works today might not work tomorrow!). It’s important that your SEO strategy is focused on building authority, not just targeting high-volume keywords.
Here are a few tips for your home page:
- Include your most important keywords in your page title and headlines
- Use alt tags for images (this is how search engines know what an image is about).
- Include external links to high-quality websites.
- Include internal links to your site’s important pages.
- Make sure your website is mobile-friendly.
Now that you know what essential elements every homepage should have, it’s time to put them into practice! One thing all of these tips have in common is that they’re all designed to help you persuade your visitors to take action. Whether you’re trying to get them to sign up for your email list, buy a product, or simply explore your website further, each element on this list can help.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed and not sure where to start, try focusing on one or two of these elements at a time. And if you need some help putting together an effective homepage design, or want to know how what you’ve put together stacks up, feel free to reach out for assistance or request a website audit!
We’ve provided a range of tips and resources to help you get started, but don’t stop there. Keep exploring and experimenting until you find what works best for your website. And if you need any help, don’t hesitate to reach out to us for advice. Thanks for reading!
Frequently Asked Questions
What makes a successful homepage?
There are some key elements that all effective homepages have in common. These include a clear headline or tagline, easy-to-read text, images and videos that are visually appealing and relevant to your brand, and customer testimonials. Additionally, your homepage should be designed in a way that encourages visitors to take action, whether that’s signing up for a newsletter, making a purchase, or contacting you for more information.
What are some common homepage mistakes?
Some common mistakes that people make when designing their website homepages include using too much text, cramming too many elements into one page, and failing to test their design. Additionally, many homepages are designed without a clear purpose or goal in mind, which can make them ineffective. Homepages should be designed with a specific audience and purpose in mind, and all elements should be included with that goal in mind.
How can I improve my homepage?
If you’re not happy with your current homepage, there are a few things you can do to improve it. First, take a look at the overall design and see if anything can be simplified or removed. Second, check the copy to make sure it’s clear, concise, and easy to read. Third, make sure all of the images and videos you’re using are high-quality and relevant to your brand. Finally, take a look at your call-to-action buttons and see if they’re effective. Are they placed in prominent locations? Do they stand out from the rest of the page? Are they clear and easy to understand? If you can answer yes to all of these questions, your homepage is likely in good shape. However, if you’re still not happy with it, don’t hesitate to reach out for help from a professional web designer.
What are some common homepage design trends?
Some common homepage design trends include using large hero images, parallax scrolling, and video backgrounds. Additionally, many designers are now using cards, which are small blocks of content that can be easily scrolled through. Finally, minimalism is also a popular trend, as many people believe that less is more when it comes to web design.
What is the difference between a homepage and a landing page?
The home page of a website is the main page that visitors will see when they first arrive. A good homepage communicates to visitors what your website is all about and what they can expect to find. It might also include features like a search bar, a navigation menu, and links to your most popular content.
A landing page, on the other hand, is a standalone page that is designed for a specific purpose, such as collecting email addresses or selling a product. Landing pages are typically linked to from other pages on the site or from external sources, such as online ads. Unlike a homepage, a landing page is focused on a single conversion goal and does not typically include a navigation menu or links to other pages on the site.