Last week a potential client called me to have a chat about some copywriting. They wanted a quite a lot of work done, and high on their list was an update of their website copy.
Before they told me anything about their business, I had a look at their website. I looked at their homepage and tried to work out what they did.
I honestly couldn’t have told you.
My first guess: they sold tickets to events (a bit like Ticketek).
My second guess: they found rental properties for tenants.
These two guesses couldn’t be more different, and were both completely wrong.
How could it be that such a sizeable, established and professional business had a homepage that couldn’t tell me what they even did?!
Your homepage is the most important page on your website.
It’s generally the page that gets the most traffic and has the most backlinks pointing to it. It’s where potential clients get their first impression of your business, and it’s the road map to the rest of your website.
If you don’t get this page worded well, people will land, have a super quick look (a few seconds) and close the tab.
How to write a homepage that will dazzle your readers and knock their socks off
1) You absolutely must clearly state what your business does
If your homepage doesn’t communicate what your business does, what chance have you got to sell your product or service? Just like the example above, a homepage that doesn’t have a clear message isn’t a great first impression for visitors who have never heard of you before.
At the very least, your homepage needs to state who you are, what you do and why someone might need what you have on offer.
2) Outline your unique selling proposition (USP)
You might be an accountant, a graphic designer or a dental surgery. What makes you different from all the other accountants, graphic designers and dental surgeries out there? Why should people choose you and not your competitors?
This is where you need to let readers know about your value proposition. You need to clearly understand what your visitors are looking for and communicate your promise and value to them.
3) Make visitors feel welcome and show your personality
Unless you’re a well recognised brand, first time visitors might feel a bit unsure about you. They know nothing about you and will need some reassurance.
This is where your personality needs to shine though, so your words, tone of voice and visuals are like a big warm hug (or at least a friendly smile).
You don’t have to do too much selling on your homepage – leave that for your service or product pages. Avoid any hype, write simply and make your text useful and helpful.
4) Help visitors navigate their way around your site
Unless you only have a few pages on your website, or have just one product or service, you have to help people find their way around your website. Your homepage is where this needs to happen.
It might be tempting to put links to every other page you have, bright ‘buy now’ buttons, social media feeds, and flashy neon signs everywhere, but this will result in a cluttered homepage with too many links. Information overload turns people away because they think it’s all too hard.
Keep it simple and use your main menu to help people navigate their way round. Have a few icons and links to the most important pages of your website, then leave it at that.
Also keep in mind…
Your homepage is usually the shortest page on your website, so you need to convey all this information in a short amount of text.
A homepage is where visitors need to be able to find what they’re looking for without having to work too hard to find it. They need to feel confident they’ve come to the right place and will find exactly what they need.
How does your homepage stack up? Would you be happy if this page was the only page a new visitor saw? If not, go and make some changes! (or take a look at my website copywriting packages and I can help you).