Your website is arguably your most important digital asset.
It’s where your users come to learn more about your business, ask questions, and, most importantly, make a purchase. That’s why you need to make sure that you provide them with the best possible experience.
In the past decade, we’ve seen an amazing transformation take place: websites aren’t only for showcasing your products or getting conversions, they can have a great impact on your brand image or identity. A good website tells us much more than how much your product costs or where your stores are located – it also tells us what your brand is like and how seriously you take your customers.
It all starts with your homepage, which is usually the first point of contact your users have with the website.
Here are some steps you need to take to create the best homepage ever.
1. Use a compelling headline and subheadline
When your visitors get to the homepage, they need to know what your business offers in the first few seconds. It needs to be clear, engaging, and transparent: what is this website all about?
However, make sure not to make things too practical and bland. You still want your headline to have some creative flair. Think of it as an extension of your slogan, only adapted to a different environment. In fact, some businesses even use their actual slogan as their website headline.
Here is a good headline from Trello.
As you can see, the headline is just specific enough that you understand what kind of service Trello provides – but it’s also confident and powerful. You couldn’t achieve the same effect by simply stating “Trello helps you organize tasks” – that’s bland and too simple.
To describe what your product/service does more specifically, you can use your subheadline. In two short sentences, you can explain some of its key features or use cases that would provide the user with more information.
2. Personalize the content
The next thing you may want to do with your homepage is to personalize its content so that each customer gets a tailored experience. When your users are greeted with tailored messages, they will likely respond better to the content.
Here are some things you can personalize for.
- Customers’ names. It might sound simple, but using your customers’ names on your homepage can have a profound effect on how they perceive the experience. There is actually some psychology behind this. People love their own names: your brain activates certain regions and reacts differently when you hear your name, compared to the names of others.
- Customers’ company names. If you run a B2B website, you can include your customers’ company names in your content. You can mention not only that your solution can help businesses, but it can help their business specifically.
- Customers’ location. Showing your customers that you’re aware of where they’re visiting from tells them you can provide them a personalized experience. For one, it means they likely won’t get recommendations for products that aren’t available in their country. It might also make them feel like the content they’re about to see is tailored to their needs.
- Other data. Customers’ emails, website screenshots, company logos, and even profile pictures can all be used to provide them a more personalized experience. All you need is a tool that can enable you to do this.
So, how and where can you implement these personalization techniques?
With Hyperise, you have almost endless opportunities. Here is how our homepage looks when personalized for Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO:
We use his name, company name, website screenshots, website URL, and even the company logo to make one of the most custom home pages you’ll ever see.
If you want to try out some of these techniques, register for a free trial of Hyperise and start personalizing!
3. Use CTAs that convert
Your homepage shouldn’t be just an introduction to your business and products – it should also have CTAs that guide your visitors through the experience and increase the chance of conversions.
Let’s put it this way: it should always be crystal clear to your website visitors where they should go if they want to make a purchase.
There are two types of CTAs, depending on what they’re asking the visitors to do: primary and secondary.
Primary CTAs are those that move the visitors further down the funnel, as close to making a purchase as possible. They provide a path for the users to do the primary thing you want them to do at this stage. A primary CTA is usually something like “Sign up”, “Register”, “Start Free Trial”, etc.
Here is how a primary CTA looks on Airfocus’ website:
As you can see, there are two primary CTAs here, and both of them read “Start Free Trial”. They also pop on the page because they are in contrast with the rest of the website – that’s one of the most important factors when creating a good primary CTA.
Secondary CTAs, on the other hand, are for those visitors that aren’t yet ready to make such a big commitment. They provide an alternative path and usually read something like “Explore our products” or “Learn More”. In the example above, “How It Works” is a secondary CTA.
4. Personalize the offer
One of the best website homepage ideas is to personalize the offer that each user gets. When combined with the name personalization we mentioned above, this is a powerful method that can do wonders for your business.
In fact, 80% of companies noted an uplift in business results when they implemented personalization.
How can you tailor your offer to your customers?
Like many personalization techniques, it all starts with gathering data. You need to know who visits your website, which customers are interested in which products, and where each visitor is in the sales funnel. Let’s break this down.
The first thing you can do is use tools like Google Analytics to see your visitor demographics. This will tell you who your visitors are and which demographic groups are interested in which product groups. That allows you to make an educated guess on what a, for example, a 25-year-old man wants to see on your homepage.
Secondly, you can have a sales funnel in place and provide tailored homepages to customers based on their stage in the funnel. For example, a customer that’s just discovering your brand shouldn’t get the same message as a long-time buyer checking out your latest offer.
Finally, each customer can also get personalized recommendations on your homepage based on previous behavior. Products they’ve already seen, content similar to the content they’ve already viewed, etc. – all of this can be incorporated into your homepage to give them a better experience.
Netflix, Amazon, and lots of fashion eCommerce websites have been using some of these methods for years.
5. Follow UX and UI rules
If you’re asking yourself what makes a great website, your first step towards answering that question should be checking out some basic UX and UI rules.
UX and UI are some of the most important disciplines that govern website design in the 21st century. There are a lot of nuances to good UX and UI but here are some basic rules to get you started.
- Test with real users. It doesn’t matter what you feel or think about the website – you are not the user. Put your website in front of other people, run surveys and testing sessions to see how users interact with the website. You might be surprised with the level of insight you’ll get.
- Keep things simple. Even if you’re selling the most complicated products or services, your website has to be easy to navigate. You need to make things clear and naturally guide the users to where they need to go next.
- Use white space. Despite its name, white space can be of any color. It simply refers to the blank space between design elements that makes your content easier on the eyes. It also makes it easier to focus on CTAs and important elements.
- Implement a visual hierarchy. When they come to your website, your visitors will scan the homepage rather quickly – they won’t read every line of text carefully. That’s why you need a visual hierarchy: the arrangement of elements that prioritizes the information you need them to read first.
All the best homepage examples you’ll find online follow these rules.
Take Airbnb, for example:
6. Optimize for mobile devices
So, your website looks great on desktop – striking visuals, clear CTAs, and smart copy. But, how does everything look on smartphones?
You might consider it an afterthought but optimizing your homepage to look good on mobile devices should be a top priority today. A unique website design means nothing if smartphone users see an average solution that’s difficult to navigate.
Half of all website visits come from mobile devices – a trend that has nearly doubled over the past five years. So, how do you design your website with these users in mind?
First, you need to make sure the information structure is clear before thinking about colors and design. Smartphone screens don’t give you too much space to be creative. They’re narrow and, if you include white space, you’ll be left with little room to display information. That’s why you need to ensure that your copy is readable and all CTAs are clearly displayed.
In mobile design, you also need to spend more time thinking about page loading times. Images, videos, illustrations, and similar media are the biggest bandwidth consumers out there. So, think about optimizing these elements and reducing their size to create the best experience possible.
One of our favorite mobile home page examples is Etsy:
7. Make navigation easy
While we’re on the subject of navigation, that’s our final tip for today: while you want your homepage to look nice and give each user a unique experience, proper navigation is arguably the most important feature each homepage should have.
You can’t create a good homepage – let alone the best homepage ever – without making navigation easy and natural.
Good navigation will often be the difference between a bounce and a conversion. Your menu and categories should be clearly displayed and offer your visitors an opportunity to get to the section they’re interested in with minimum effort. That is especially the case for complex eCommerce websites with a lot of products and product categories.
Here is an example of a well-structured homepage that looks pretty but also makes navigation easy:
Creating the best homepage ever: the final word
Learning how to make homepages is a combination of different types of research: user habits, user demographics, web design trends, UX best practices, etc. It’s a long journey but the potential payback is huge.
If you play your cards right, you’ll end up with a beautifully designed website and a homepage that’s easy to navigate. All of this will contribute to the ultimate goal of increasing conversions and reducing bounce rates.
In our opinion, you can’t create the best homepage ever without personalization. Whatever your homepage looks like, personalization is that one X factor that can make it work better and impress visitors.
If you feel like personalization is the way to go, check out Hyperise.
You can start right away and provide your users with tailored content even if you have zero coding experience!