Research has shown that the average visitor spends 8 seconds on a site before deciding whether or not to leave. What does this mean for you? This means you only have 8 seconds to impress and inform a potential customer before they ditch your site for good. A good first impression is vital to your business’ site, and you only have one chance, and eight seconds, to make it.
With this being said, you may be wondering what should or should not appear on your website’s homepage. Below we have outlined what to include and how to include it.
Company Description and Featured Products
The key reason a customer is coming to your site is to find out more about your company and the products and/or services it offers. Be sure to include a brief description of what your company actually does, not simply vague fluff. The keyword in the previous sentence, though, is the word “brief.” The home page is not the place to write a long blurb about your company’s history or founders — that information should be left for the “About Us” page.
Also on your homepage you may want to feature a few key services or products that you offer, either your most recent, or your most popular. However, try to limit the number of featured products; you want to get your product out there, not overload visitors with too many items. A short, bullet-point list often works well.
News and Events
Including news and upcoming events on your homepage is a great way to let visitors know that your site is up-to-date. Make sure not to leave items from 2001 under “Recent News.” Also ensure that the news and events section does not take up too much space on your homepage. Simply show teasers of news and events, and link visitors to a page dedicated to news and events. That way, new visitors can click on ones they are interested in and not get overwhelmed by the amount of information presented to them.
A great way to lend immediate credibility to your site is to incorporate logos from well-known customers, press, or affiliated companies. You may also want to include “call-to-action” buttons to get immediate responses from your customers. This will direct them to do something on your site (like sign in or sign up), thus ensuring they will stay longer than those 8 seconds.
Your homepage’s overall visual appeal is also key to attracting and retaining customers. To learn more about enhancing your website using graphics, you can read this article. One key thing to take away from the post is making sure your file size is not too large. Simply dragging the image to shrink or stretch it does not change the file size. The file size depends on how large the image is when you initially upload it to your website. Some images may take three or four seconds to load, which means you are throwing away about half of your precious 8 seconds.
Another element relating to the visual appeal of your homepage is making sure that the visitor does not need to scroll left-and-right to access information. This is usually a turn-off to first time visitors since it requires them to exert unnecessary effort. Another thing to keep in mind is “the fold.” The fold is basically the part of the website your visitor can see before having to use the up-and-down scroll bar. This is the most important section of your page, so include the most important info in this portion. At the same time, be sure not to cram too much information here.
Final Tips on Homepages
Having a great homepage is vital to retaining visitors and getting them to explore the rest of the content on your site. Remember that new visitors decide whether or not your site is worthy of their time within 8 seconds. Here are some final tips for optimizing those 8 seconds:
- A clear navigation bar — Should the visitor decide that your page is worth their time, you want to make it easy for them to visit the rest of your site. The navigation bar also gives a clear preview of the type of information that your site contains.
- Be clear and concise — Include brief descriptions, not long ramblings on your homepage. Try to make sure there are only 100-350 words total. Remember that if you wish to elaborate on anything, you have other pages on your website on which to do so.
- Be audience-conscious — Be conscious of your target audience. Remember that you have to attract new customers as well as maintain the loyalty of older ones.
- Update often — Update your site often so visitors are kept up to date on your products and/or services.
- Preview and test — Make sure to preview your homepage before publishing to ensure it is the image you want to present to your customers. Also test the page to make sure that all links and images work, and also skim for typos.