Website Triage: Is Your Homepage Working for You?
by Monica Santi
Your homepage is arguably the most important page of your website. Make sure it is pulling the weight it needs to, and if not, it’s time for html surgery!
The homepage must clearly identify the website’s identity and purpose.
Visitors to your website need to know within seconds of coming to your homepage:
- Whose website is this?
Make sure that the logo is placed prominently on the page (typically this means the upper left corner) and that there is “white” space around the logo.
- What do they have to offer me?
In addition to learning about company offerings from content on the home page, the main navigation is a great way for viewers to skim what the site has to offer. If a large chunk of the home page is taken up with photos, you are probably missing out on an opportunity to engage people with what your company sells.
- Why should I be here and not somewhere else?
For a number of our Pivot clients, their ability to offer services is limited by geography. If this is the case for your company, the home page should explain where services are generally available.
The homepage should establish the navigation of the site.
Where do I go from here? The homepage has to give an overview of what the site has to offer, how it is organized, and what content/features are the most important. The easiest way to do this is through the main navigation. The main navigation consists of the most important pages of the site that appear on all of the interior pages of the website. Some homepages don’t show the site’s main navigation. If this is the case, the page should still show the main areas of site.
Highlight popular services and current promotions.
Entice visitors with what the your company has to offer, i.e. sales, promotions, best-selling services/products, new services/products, most popular information visitors seek and so on. This content needs to be updated regularly if you want visitors to come back.
Provide short-cuts to frequently visited areas of the site.
The most frequently visited areas of the site may deserve their own links such as shopping cart, view/pay bill, customer login, store locator, support, contact.
Make it easy for customers to find you on and offline.
I often go to websites to verify phone number, address, store hours etc. I am continually amazed by the number of sites that don’t make this info easy to find.