November 28, 2018
A site’s homepage is the hub of a company’s web activities—a reception area guiding new and existing users to the next web page. It’s unfortunate then that 94% of website feedback cites poor web design and a majority of this critique is for homepage design.
For website designers, time is not on their side. According to a study, online first impressions greatly impact a user’s purchase decision—in just 2.6 seconds!
Since new visitors are going to judge the credibility of your website in a matter of seconds, it makes sense to use effective homepage design strategies.
In other words, your homepage should not look like it was built in the early 2000’s. It should facilitate the user on their journey to exploring your brand.
Here are the top 5 most costly homepage design mistakes that a new user can spot from a mile away.
1. Not Clearly Defining What You Do
This might be the biggest offender on the list of web design no-nos. Although it’s true that both graphics and text are important components of a homepage’s design, many designers focus too much on the graphics alone.
The header on a site’s homepage is usually the first thing a visitor’s eyes land on. When designers don’t make it clear what the company’s products and services are, they leave their potential customers frustrated and ready to bounce.
Use text and visuals cleverly to tell a new user right away what you offer and the industry you operate in. For example, “Grow your online business with content marketing.”
They should instantly be able to tell what sets you apart from your competitors. If you want favorable customer judgments on your homepage, put confidence-building tools such as industry affiliates, testimonials, awards, etc. on display along with your offerings.
2. Lack of a Compelling Call to Action
This error will cost you customer engagement and conversion rates—something that no website owner wants. A website’s homepage needs to give clear directions to new users about which web page to click on next.
This cannot be emphasized enough. Remember that the top navigation bar is not going to outline the reasons a user should head to a particular web page—that’s the job of a well-crafted Call To Action (CTA).
The best practice is to keep the CTA above the fold. This allows new users to instantly go to your preferred flagship product, service, or the latest SEO blog post.
3. No Enticing Sales Offer
Once you’ve included an attractive call to action, it’s time to capture the leads’ contact information. It’s unlikely that a potential customer will buy from you without an incentive, though.
When asking for a new user’s contact details, don’t underestimate the influence of a tempting offer in your sales strategy. Businesses forget to do this far too often.
Your offers could be in the form of discounts and/or free trials. Other popular options are free delivery or a free e-book or video on the first order. The goal here is to not only collect a lead’s contact information, but to also get them to make that first order comfortably.
4. Cheesy Stock Photos
Let’s be clear; there’s nothing wrong with using stock photos—as long as they look like they were taken in this decade. This is the secret to creating a modern yet timeless homepage design. Unfortunately, it is a secret that may be too well kept from some designers.
Overly cliché images in non-HD quality (to make matters worse) will have your users hitting the back button faster than you can say bad design. Such images on the homepage—or any other web page—simply don’t cut it anymore.
Designers should only be incorporating high-quality, original images to a site to make it look professional and a cut above the rest.
5. Company Contact Details in a Not-So-Visible Area
It doesn’t matter if you want your customers to get in touch with you via phone, contact form, email, or carrier pigeon. Whatever medium you choose, make sure it’s placed in a prominent position for your users.
Feature a clickable email address or phone number on the homepage and other web pages. This is so that a new user doesn’t need to file through the entire page to send a query or a purchase order. For this purpose, a live chat feature is a great option to add to your homepage.
Give your visitors more than two options that they can choose from based on their preference. Don’t overwhelm them with too many communication channels, though.
These were just a few homepage design mistakes people make. There are a lot more; like not making your design mobile-friendly, intrusive company logos, lack of unique selling points, and more.
Cassie Beasley is an industry expert and a regular contributor for Search Berg’s web content. In addition to highlighting web design and development errors, she also writes about the use of local SEO to increase online traffic and the significance of content marketing in the digital space.