When you read the title of this post, you probably thought “well, obviously, every site needs a home page.  This blog post is pointless.”  Not so pointless when I consider the many websites I have seen that just have a Blog page, or open with an About page.

Your Home page should give your readers a warm welcome, a reason to look at the rest of your website, and a reason to keep coming back.  Nobody wants to be sold to on a Home page.  Jumping straight into a sales page is tacky.  The reader thinks:  “I don’t even know you, why would I buy from you?”

A website without a home page feels a bit incomplete.  When people land on your page, the function of the Home page is to guide readers through your website, so that they read what you want them to read in the order you want them to read it.  Without that guiding system, viewers may feel a bit lost, their attention is attracted by too many things at once, their experience of your website isn’t as enjoyable as you’d hoped, and they leave.

Think of your website like a house.  You don’t invite people into your bedroom or bathroom when they first enter your home.  First they go through your front door and into the sitting room (or into an entrance hall, if you’re particularly fancy).  Because this is your website, and you can make it as fancy as you like, I always suggest creating a beautiful Home page.  Bonus:  unless your hosting package has a very small amount of space (and in that case, I suggest you upgrade your hosting package), there’s rarely a need to purchase additional digital land if you want to expand your website.

 

Elements of a Great Home Page

 

  • Navigation

Think of your navigation system like a good tour guide.  It should be visible from wherever your visitor is, but never get in the way of them enjoying the time spent on your site.

The navigation method you use should include more than just a menu bar at the top of your page.  You should include links to pages of interest:  for example, a Blog, popular blog posts, Services page, a Resource Library if you have one, and your Contact Us page.

 

  • Text (also called “Copy”)
Never underestimate the power of fabulous welcome copy.  Say hi to your readers, welcome them to your website.  Briefly tell them who you are and what your business does.  The personal in-depth information about who you are should be reserved for the About page.
This awesome copy does not have to be the length of a character description in a Game of Thrones novel (read:  extremely long).  The shorter and more precise the copy, the better for you and your readers.  Just ensure that the total amount of copy on the page exceeds 300 words – that’s a Search Engine Optimisation tip.
  • Pictures
Images help to create the atmosphere you’d like your audience to experience.  They also help to tell your audience more about your business without them having to read paragraphs of text.  From a design point of view, images punctuate the page and give a viewer’s eyes a chance to rest.  Images also provide visual interest and serve to beautify pages.
The images on your home page should be original – either ones that you snapped yourself, or images that you had professionally shot for you.  A Home page full of stock photography does nothing to show your audience that you are unique.
A great home page should be inviting, welcoming your readers in to spend time with you.  It should show off a little of your personality and briefly explain what your business does.  Images should be beautiful and add to the style of your website.  Your Home page should make people want to read more and delve into the rest of your website.
melissa de klerk

Melissa De Klerk

Writer, Web Designer, Digital Media Strategist, Typophile, Inspiration Junkie, Yogi

Melissa is the owner and creative brain behind Fox & Owl Media. She loves creating content strategies and has considerable experience with Website Design and Brand Management.

You can contact her here, and find her on social media by clicking the links below.

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