Every website is unique; an opportunity to share your incredible business with the world. And while it is great to design your website to stand out in the crowd, there are certain elements that should always be included in your design. Especially your homepage web design.
Whether you’re building a website yourself or working with a designer, here is a checklist of 5 key things to include on the homepage of your website!
Branding: Where Web Design Begins
Before your viewer’s eye catches anything else on your website, they need to know that they’re in the right place. Your logo and branding should be front and center (or maybe not so much center as much as FRONT).
If you are launching a new business and don’t have a logo yet, there are several ways to get one. For the DIYers out there, apps like Canva offer some great options to build logos without any design experience. On a budget? Designers on FIVERR can create logos for as little as $5.
However, remember that experience and industry knowledge go a long way when it comes to logo and web design. For those of you looking for something fresh and unique, consider working with a web designer who also offers graphic design services. I often find myself building logos and branding guidelines for clients before getting started on their web design and I love it! Starting from scratch is often the best way to get the website and business branding you need to confidently market your brand.
Whichever direction you go in, however, the key is to land on a logo and branding concept that creates the foundation for your web design. Then, make sure your logo and company name is featured prominently on your website. Most branding should be placed at the top of the page. The left side of your website will get more attention than the right side, so consider placing your logo in the top left corner of your homepage.
Studies have shown that website visitors scan more frequently than they actually read. That means that the first third of your homepage needs to communicate several important details:
- Who you are (as a company or individual)
- What you offer
- Why it matters to the reader (what do they get from visiting your website)
- How to get what you offer
How do you communicate all of that information in such a small space? By using prominent headlines and scannable text. After your logo, the next thing a visitor should see is what you offer (and why it should matter to them). This is your hero headline — the main headline on your homepage. In many cases, it is also your value proposition.
A simple rule of thumb is to consider a way to share your product or service and how it helps your customers in this one headline. One example is the brand CD Baby.
Their headline and subheading speak directly to the customer. What does the customer get? To sell and stream their music everywhere. How? Through global distribution offered by CD Baby.
The goal is to make your headline stand out, but also make sure it communicates to the customer exactly what they get by visiting your website and investing in your services.
Call To Action
Another element that needs to appear in the top third of your homepage is the call to action. This is most often displayed in the form of a button. Your call to action guides your visitors to…well…take action. It directs them on where to go and what to do in order to become a customer.
In the example above, Polygon Market uses the headline and subheading to communicate what they offer. The call to action appears directly below that: Get Started. It’s truly a simple pattern but one that is missing from far too many websites.
The call to action is a must-have on your homepage web design. Without it, your customers won’t know what needs to happen next. They read your catchy headline and then…what? Scroll and read some more? Move on to another website? Or take action and purchase from your business.
Your homepage web design should include quality, scannable/skimmable content. That includes plenty of helpful headers (beyond the hero header at the top of your page) and easy-to-read info about your business.
Studies as far back as the late 90s have shown that 79% of web users scan a new website. Only 16% read word-by-word.
Now that you’ve got your logo, main header, and call to action in place, it’s time to include the details. One way to make your content scannable is to divide your ideas into sections. Each section should include a header/subheader, easy-to-read content, and another call to action.
If your homepage is starting to feel content-heavy or a little too crowded, consider what details need to be on the page and what can be sacrificed. Sometimes content that you think is important can actually be used on a different page. Details about your business, for example, can live on the “About” page. Add a little teaser section to your homepage with a call to action that guides people to learn more on a different web page.
One thing every web design needs to include is clear navigation. No matter how you choose to design your website visually, making it easy for users to navigate is key. Your navigation includes the menu at the top of your website, as well as the overall flow of your homepage.
If you want visitors to scroll through your website, then make sure your words, calls to action, and design all guide the user to scroll. To encourage visitors to get more information from other pages on your website, include calls to action to “read more” or “find out why.”
And the main source of navigation, the menu at the top of your webpage, should clearly include every important page on your website. Every little bit of help you can provide your visitors is essential. Provide options for them to navigate home, to your services or products, and to details about your business. Most importantly, make sure to include an option for visitors to contact you!
Web Design Done Right
After 12+ years of designing websites, I’ve learned that there is one thing that should guide everything you put on your website: Your customer.
Every element, word, image, header, and call to action is meant to help your visitors get something they need. When websites are designed for the company and not with the customer in mind, everything falls flat. The content becomes promotional instead of objective, the navigation is confusing, and visitors have a hard time determining what they even get from the business.
Web design done right means making your website customer-centric. So no matter how your website appears in the end, every key element you include (especially the five above) should prove helpful to your visitor.
Do you need support designing your website? You can find me over at hannalandisdesigns.com for more details about my web design services.