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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.