W ebsites becoming increasingly important for almost every type of business. Whether it's a small informational website or large online shop, all websites need to properly represent the company and their brand. The biggest item is responsive design - ensuring all viewers on all devices have a similar (effective) experience. Because of the complexity of that, we'll be skipping that, and this article is written assuming your website is already responsive. That being said, nothing is more important than having a very successful, and functional home page.
Without sounding redundant, the first thing you see on a homepage is the very top of it. Mainly, your website's menu. This is not only the first impression, but it also serves as the sole tool for navigating your website (meaning customers will be looking at this a lot). A condensed menu is always considered better than a long and convoluted one. Simplifying and organizing your business is key to success, and that is very visible by the way you set up your menu. On mobile, "hamburger" menus are becoming increasingly symbolic of "click here for navigation". This is the 3-4 lines that appear in the top corner of your mobile device, expanding to a menu. Modern websites may adopt this as a clean option for navigation on desktop sites, as the viewers become increasingly more familiar with this style. Bottom line: SIMPLIFY. The quicker your customer can get to your content, the quicker they can convert.
The next area to note for your home page is where your eyes are immediately drawn. Call to actions and proper design theory allows your website to subconsciously take your viewer where you want them to go. A messy, ill-designed home page will confuse the viewer, and they may not reach the information they were seeking. This is extremely important on mobile devices, where attention spans are even shorter than on desktops, yet there is far less space to convey your message on a mobile device. How can you accomplish a clean visual hierarchy with a compelling call to action? Simple. Let your content do the talking. Less is more, and this is especially true in website design. Allowing your viewer's eye to have a calm place to land is key. Setting up call to actions in the right locations will make your homepage far more functional. Bottom line: Clean design, clear message.
If you own a business, you know that customers love a customer service feeling. Customers or clients like knowing that they will be taken cared of if they have an issue or a question. A quick contact form is very convenient to have on your home page. The trick is to not make it very complicated. A simple form with as few fields as possible is key. If you have a member of your staff sitting at a computer during work hours, you can also consider implementing a live chat feature that customers can ask simple questions through the website. That way if a client is having a problem and you are online, you can help them live in a chat box. This simple addition goes a long way in the client's eyes.
Customers love providing feedback. When they leave you positive remarks on your business’s Yelp or Google+, it's a huge trust mark to your business (letting your team know you are on track!) while also letting your prospective new customers know someone was happy with your product or service. Consider adding a testimonial slider on your home page or about page with all the positive things your customers have said. Not only is it great content to have on your site for ranking purposes, but it also lets your new customers know that you are a true professional.
“You can’t just place a few “Buy” buttons on your website and expect your visitors to buy.” Neil Patel
Not everyone will know where you are located, but many service-based businesses need to have this information immediately available. One of the biggest problems of old websites was a lack of knowledge of your location, or where to even look. Adding a simple map with your location or general area of service (this can be on the home page, or more commonly, the contact page) lets viewers know your approximate location, and gives comfort if they need to stop by your place of business. Especially companies that have a physical storefront and sell products or services at the location, making it very apparent where you are and how to get there is crucial to your bottom line.