The key to getting people to navigate throughout your website is to gain their interest.
And the key to gaining peoples interest is to make sure that the very thing they see first is a well layed out, well thought out homepage that is easy to navigate and is filled with information that they find engaging.
A good homepage should instantly feel intimate and engaging to the user. It should feel personal. Many businesses forget that the user of their site, at the end of the day is one person engaging with their business one on one. So make sure your site is personal.
Imagine sitting down to dinner with a friend. There are only 2 of you there. They talk and you hear every word they are saying. It's personal and you are totally engaged.
Now imagine sitting down at a table of 10 friends. All 10 are suddenly talking to you at the same time. Do you hear anything? Just noise. Far too many sites that I see online are overly cluttered with front page information. All the user gets is noise.
Remember the average web user only gives a site 3-5 seconds to determine if there is anything of interest in there for them before moving elsewhere. Don't let your business fail to capture their interest during that time.
A successful homepage drives a successful website!
So What makes a successful home page?
Here are my tips to having a successful homepage:. One that will drive the rest of your site.
1) Pick a Hero - The best sites you will find always seem to have one central image, theme or featured message. One that is larger than the rest and the 'hero' of the page. This is key to drawing the users attention to a single are on the page and engaging with them.
2) Put their hat on - Try and think from your customers point of view. What do they want to see and hear? More times than not you will find it is quite different to what you are trying to say. The key is to find a balance between these. The content should draw their attention by sparking their interest, and then when they read more they are directed to the information you are wanting to deliver.
3) Summarise! Avoid the mistake most businesses make on their homepage. Remember you do not need to tell everything in one go. Put up some interesting highlights in the form of pics or catchy headlines with links for the user to read more if it sparks their interest. Don't feel the need to overload the user in the first 3 seconds of visiting your page. Spark the Interest and then they will want to read more about your business.
4) Less is more - This is an old design term (Also phrased at times as K.I.S.S - Keep it simple Stupid). But it really rings true in almost every occasion. The easy option is to fill every page with copious amounts of information. But the truly successful sites will be the ones who strategically pick out their key points for their homepage, gain the attention of the use and then direct them cleverly through their site. 3 key points will be clearly read by a user and remembered much more than 10 detailed paragraphs.