A company without a website is a company unknown to the world. And a company with a bad website, more importantly, a bad homepage, is a company rejected by the world. Rejected in the sense that first impressions matter and consumers of today are all about “the now” and investing in experiences that have an impact on their daily lives.
Bad homepages are, in that context, a waste of time and a frustrating experience that consumers would otherwise not struggle with again. So, what do you need in your homepage design that will keep people interested and coming back for more?
Font and colour
The first few aspects we will be looking at revolve around the visual experience of your homepage and areas you can modify to ace that first impression. The first things people see and do when they land on a homepage is take in colour and read content. An IT course rule of thumb for homepage design is to always keep readability in mind.
Needless to say, font and colour are important essentials to get right when designing your website. Pretty fonts aren’t always practical for large amounts of content and can be difficult for some users to read. Print and plain fonts are your safer options, with highlighted words in a bolder or more intricate font for effect if needed.
As for colour, if there is too little colour, it’s boring, but if there’s too much, it overpowers the rest of the website’s content. It can be difficult when your company’s colours are multiple or strong, but there are tasteful ways to bring colours into your website design. You also need to keep the colour of the webpage complementary to the font colour so that it stays easy to read.
A picture is worth a thousand words, so a thousand pictures on your homepage is, essentially, you shouting at your site’s visitors. But it is important to make a statement with a bold image relating to your company and use it to communicate the message you’re trying to tell your customers.
The chances of an internet user judging the relevance of your content to their lives through the images they see (before they read the text) is highly likely. Your homepage image should be what attracts and encourages people to explore the rest of your website.
When it comes to exploration, navigation is necessary and your homepage should be the place to start. Whether you incorporate pop-up prompts (which no one really enjoys), have animated menu buttons or symbols as navigation tools to get around the site, you need to make sure people know how to use the navigation system and can get to where they want to be through three clicks at the most.
The three-click rule is still relevant in web design and as a navigation method, and shouldn’t be overlooked or underestimated. Remember, you’re appealing to a “now” generation, so the sooner they can get their information, the more time of day they’ll give your company.
Animation in web design is a step in homepage interactivity that is fun and friendly for users. Integrating animation in the homepage experience makes the users time worthwhile beyond providing the content they look for.
The secret is to not overdo it with the animation. With homepage design, you can’t really go wrong with the “less is more” principle.
Now we will look at the more content-related elements of your homepage that should be present among all the visual aspects.
- Identity: As a whole, your homepage needs to tell the visitor who you are as a company, what you do and how you can help them… but definitely not in so many words. Short and sweet (and with your visuals to help), the homepage can do all of the above through an introductory paragraph that quickly flows into the relevant content that the user is there to see.
- Credibility: Testimonials and awards are great to have, but shouldn’t stay hidden behind the “About Us” page. By having awards stickers and a banner of different clients’ testimonials somewhere on the homepage, the visitor will acknowledge it and positively consider the rest of the page’s (and website’s) credibility. Just be sure you have proof linked to backup your credibility claims.
- Contact: Not every company understands the necessity that are contact details on every landing page, nevermind just the homepage. If a visitor to your site is interested in what the webpages are saying to them, they’re going to want to contact you as soon and as easily as possible. By only have a “Contact Us” page as an option, you’re testing their patience. And by only having a contact form available on the site, you’re testing how interested they are. And those aren’t necessarily good things to be testing when there are competitive sites with the same offerings and “click to call” or “click to email” contact options somewhere on the homepage.