Web page optimization is a tough code to crack. There is more than enough statistical evidence to support the fact that clickers, searchers, and visitors want their information fast, frequent, and fuss-free. According to the infamous Blink Test, it takes the average person a mere 3-5 seconds to determine whether your website is worthy of their time.
The facts are abundantly clear; search engines have saturated the potential for discoverability, digital competition is constantly on the rise, and attention spans aren’t getting any shorter. In order for your website to secure interest, let alone leads, it needs to pack a serious punch. Consider your homepage Mike Tyson.
The homepage should be the visual equivalent of an elevator pitch; concise, yet compelling and vividly descriptive of your brand’s value. Despite being the premier gateway to your business, the homepage is vastly underutilized when it comes to creating conversions. The problem? Far too many marketers continue to optimize for search engines when they should be optimizing for users. As marketing continues to become increasingly UX-driven, it’s apparent that banner ads, pop-ups, and disruptive jargon just aren’t cutting it anymore.
Your homepage, like all other marketing efforts, should seamlessly and elegantly integrate into all phases of the user experience, and lead generation is no exception. Here are 4 critical conversion mistakes you want to avoid.
Not committing any of those mistakes? Nice! Here are a few extra tips to help you maintain a healthy website conversion rate.
1) Get Down To Basics First
When it comes to homepage design and copywriting, it’s easy to get carried away with dynamic graphics and vivid descriptions that highlight your brand’s selling points. While it’s undeniably true that aesthetics and language need to be eye-catching to retain attention, it’s a preliminary necessity to take a step back and consider the most basic reasons that a visitor would be on your site in the first place.
When a visitor happens upon your homepage, there are typically three intrinsic questions that run through his or her mind: Who are you?, Why are you here?, and What do you want me to do?. The homepage must not only respond accordingly, but do so in a way that is quick, effective, and comprehensive to the visitor. This means that you must define your brand against competitors, display your services and customer value, and present a clear path for users to engage further.
Visual elements, text, CTAs, and all other information should simply be consequential of how your business seeks to answer these three critical questions. A nice serif font and color palette will only get you so far if the information that you are providing on the homepage is not fine-tuned in accordance to your audience. Straightforwardly communicate your brand’s value proposition, then create headlines, supporting copy, and design around your ideal lead.
2) Honor The Power of The Fold
Below the fold consumption persists as one of the most compelling debates among marketers today. Evidence exists in favor of each side, and ultimately, there appears to be no clear victor in the great dispute. In reality, the quality and captivation of information are probably what dictates a person’s willingness to scroll.
Despite which way you lean, one thing’s for certain: Content above the fold is what everybody sees first. Therefore, it stands to reason that your most urgent homepage info should be there. While loud ad features like banners and flashing CTA buttons once dominated user attraction, site visitors are more inclined than ever to associate dismiss them as distractions and consequently, deem your brand as invasive. So what should specifically be showcased above the fold
Most obviously, features like company logos, slogans, navigation options, and search fields should be readily available for all visitors who venture to your site. However, in terms of securing marketing-qualified leads, its crucial include components that are aimed directly at conversion and segmentation; namely, opt-in forms, social media links, and educational content offers. While it seems that these tools are aggressive in their very nature and could be overwhelming, they can seamlessly be integrated into your homepage.
For example, CTAs don’t necessarily have to be displayed as large, bright buttons. Instead, they can be textually interwoven into site copy as hyperlinks or follow eBook offers. As a marketer, you should aim to include multiple places for visitors to take next steps if they are interested in your products or services. However, they should never divert attention away from the value of your brand and instead, enhance it.
3) Create CTAs For Different Points In The Buyer Journey
One critical aspect of publishing under the public domain is the fact that it instantly limits control over your audience. Anyone, from any number of digital places, can view and browse your site. Your immediate homepage audience becomes relatively uncontrollable and incredibly difficult to define in the visior stage. While the homepage must be condensed and somewhat generalized to appeal, it can also segment when executed well.
Remember those sleek CTAs we just talked about? Aside from being tastefully designed, each one used on the homepage should also differentiate on multiple points in the buyer’s journey in order to gain leads with unique needs. Presenting multiple entry points for each of your buyer personas to advance further into each individual purchasing process is crucial.
Offers like one-time discounts of generalized subscriptions for new users can cast a wide net to your business’s new prospects, but more specific options for different leads should be easily accessible for more qualified leads. If such materials are not immediately available on the homepage, be sure to include clear and well-pronounced pathways for users to locate them on your other site pages.
4) Test, Refine, Then Test Again
Homepage optimization is never finished. While such a bold statement sounds somewhat daunting, the ability to tweak and re-tweak should be considered comforting. Users and their corresponding preferences are constantly changing and modern businesses must be able to keep up in order to continue efficiently marketing to them. Companies must adopt responsive strategies and practices as power shifts further into the hands of the consumer.
With a variety of analytical tools out there, its relatively convenient and easy to keep track of what’s attracting, converting, and retaining on your homepage. Treat the development of your homepage as an ongoing experiment. A/B test units like forms, colors, graphics, and page location with the site user in mind. Shift icons and change your site copy, but always measure the effects of doing so.
Installations like Crazy Egg heat mapping and Google Analytics can help you gauge the success or necessary improvements that you can make in order to gain more leads more efficiently. Something as simple and unpredictable as moving a photo below the fold could change your conversion rates drastically. Be smart and attentive and never stop testing. Evolve with your users.
There is no clearly defined map or set of instructions for creating the best homepage possible. Countless companies with countless internet engagement have uncovered their best practices in generating leads, but few capitalize on homepage conversion. Center your’s around users, define your brand, and provide visitors with multiple ways to interact.
Originally published Nov 17, 2014 10:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017