Homepages are the online version of a handshake at a networking event. At an event, you've gathered up the courage to approach someone else there to strike up casual conversion, and you've got one shot to make a great first impression: the handshake.
But there's actually a lot more to the handshake than you might think. You have to be firm yet unaggressive, all while making eye contact, introducing yourself, and trying to remember the other person's name (in addition to hoping your hands aren't as clammy as they feel).
When it comes to your homepage, someone else has most likely been searching online and stumbled on your website. So your homepage has to be compelling enough to make them want to stay and interact with you (just like the handshake). This subsequent interaction may include exploring your "about us" page, or even converting into a lead via a call-to-action (CTA). Even though it seems simple -- your homepage is just one page after all -- making a solid first impression is key, and it's not easy.
So how do you make sure your website has a great handshake? Although there is no one true formula for a solid homepage, you can start to see patterns in examples of really awesome ones. To help you see what I mean, here are 16 awesome homepage designs you can't help but fall in love with:
Rezdy’s use of visual elements such as icons and arrows allow the company to clearly explain the purpose of its product without having to rely on heavy copy.
If anyone knows how to entertain, it’s Jay Z. The eclectic nature of his personal website mirrors his real-life brand in this interactive tile-based homepage.
This page offers a truly unique way to address site navigation. Called augmented reality, each element on the floor can be clicked to advance the reader through the site, a visual that definitely sets it apart.
The layout of this website effectively handles several different user stories by presenting three different CTAs without them compete against one another.
This page sets up a clear information hierarchy and thought sequence. Everything that you need to know is provided in a few pixels via a video, company tagline, and clear CTA. The video is also a smart addition if Prezi’s target audience wants more in-depth information.
This website uses parallax scrolling to deliver a unique user experience. Reaching out to “mega fans” on the banner also subtly conveys exclusivity, compelling the audience to click its CTA and see what’s behind the velvet rope.
Putting the CTA front and center, as UrbanBound does here, is another great example of a web design that focuses its most important information in the center of the page.
A great use of a simple illustration, excellent complementary color palate, crystal clear copy, and a single call-to-action all combine to make this website's homepage one of our favorites.
The Galpin page uses typography to showcase its character. Notice that the page focuses less on graphics, and instead uses text to convey its messaging.
10) Surf Right
Easy navigation and beautiful design can (and should) work together. An interactive slider and a well-organized set of tiles make this website easy to surf ... hehe, get it? ;)
11) Riley Cran
Here we see another appealing tile-based website design. Setting Riley Cran apart is the fact that the entire site is set within a single page -- no scrolling necessary!
12) New Breed
New Breed’s website effectively balances its different buckets of content and presents it all in a well-organized, easily-digestible page.
Another example of content organized into visual tiles is SilkTricky. Notice the use of a carrot visual element (the white triangle in the text boxes) to unobtrusively connect the site’s text and visuals for the reader.
14) Function Point
Function Point’s website maintains a consistent look and feel across all of its design elements. The site’s illustration, style, and choice of colors also help enhance the design and build a visual hierarchy.
Despite the potentially overwhelming visuals on this page, clear navigation and layout (shown here) ensures that the user isn’t overwhelmed.
This homepage is essentially one large slideshow paired with a simple top navigation. It gives the visitor a limited but useful set of options -- presumably ideal for the magazine’s visual-based target market.
Which homepage is your favorite? For more homepage designs to inspire you, download our free collection of 53 homepages here!