Your homepage is the foundation of your website. It’s the place where you welcome customers. Where you clearly communicate who you are, what you have to offer, how it can solve a problem your customers have, and how they can get your product or service. Moreover, it is the page from which you guide visitors to other pages on your site, like your products, blog posts, or contact page. Therefore, it is important to make sure your homepage has great user experience (UX) and is well optimized for SEO.
Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
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Invite your customers into a story
Before you can start optimizing your homepage, you need to know what story you are entering into with your customers. Don’t make this about you. Make it about your customer. They are the focus here. Tell the customers’ story, and invite them to participate in it with you.
Every story ever told has a main character (the customer) with a problem. The main character then meets a guide (you) who gives them a plan (your product or service) and calls them to action (buy/register/schedule now). If they take this action, they will experience success and win the day. But if they don’t, life will continue the way it always has, with their problem unsolved.
That is the primary purpose of your homepage: to tell your customers’ story in an intriguing, compelling way. Take some time to develop this story and find ways to integrate those story elements into your web copy. See our homepage at MotorClick for an excellent example in action!
Choosing a keyword?
While a homepage serves many purposes, ranking for a keyword is not one of them. The only thing your homepage should rank for is your brand. You have a better chance optimizing homepages for brand names, while targeted landing pages have better chances of ranking for specific keywords. Remember: your homepage is the place where you invite customers into a story. It is the place where you build and solidify your brand, and where you help solve customers’ problems. Focus on accomplishing these things more than optimizing for a keyword.
The layout of your page
The layout of your homepage should receive careful consideration. Make sure you plan out the sections you will display, and in what order you’ll display them.
The header is the first thing your customers will see when clicking onto your homepage. So, the text and images you use here “above the fold” are crucial. Make sure you clearly communicate what you offer, how it will improve your customers’ lives, and how they can get it.
If you sell a lot of products, resist the urge to clutter your homepage with all the different things you sell. This can get overwhelming for visitors! Instead, think about your main revenue driver(s). What products pulls in the most sales? Use that one as the focal point of the story, and add links to other helpful products further down the page or in your menu.
Speechsisters.com does an excellent job with their homepage. Notice how little text there is, yet how they still manage to say all they need to say to intrigue customers and convert them.
You’ll notice they clearly explain what they do – online speech and language courses – and how this makes the customer’s life better – by getting their child talking again from the comfort of their home. We also see a direct call to action to find a course, and a transactional call to action to meet the instructors.
A few other things these ladies do that you should make sure to do in your own header section:
- Add your logo in the upper left corner
- Keep your menu clear, focused, and well-structured
- Use a high quality, relevant image
- If you have a lot of products, add a search bar
Lay out the stakes
In this section, you want to appeal to the emotions of your audience. Think about the problem they face and how that problem would make them feel? Are they frustrated? Confused? Feeling cheated or ripped off? Speak to this in this section of your website.
Explain the benefits
After agitating the customer’s problem, this next section explains all the benefits that come from buying your product or service. List as many as you can think of! Show your customers how you stand out, what value you can provide for them that no one else can.
Elicit their trust
Now it’s time to bring yourself (and your brand) more into the story. In this section, you want to express both empathy and authority. You’ve been where your customer is; you understand what they’re experiencing. And you’ve helped [x] others just like them with this same problem. These qualities elicit trust from customers, and they intrigue some of them enough to lead them further along their journey with you and with your brand.
Again, Speech Sisters does a phenomenal job with this. They appeal to their customers as fellow mothers, while at the same time showcasing their expertise as certified speech therapists.
You can also elicit trust on your homepage by showcasing testimonials or reviews from other customers. Just make sure not to overdo it here. Pick two or three to showcase, and scatter the rest in strategic places throughout your website, like on your product pages, cart page, etc.
Showcase your main products
While you don’t have to do this on your homepage, you can create a section that displays some of your featured (i.e. best-selling) products. This can sort of funnel your guests into your shop without overwhelming them with thousands of products at once.
In this final section, include any other important links that could not fit into your top menu. Most footers also contain main contact details, like an address, phone number, and email. Sometimes that’s all a visitor needs!
Other things you can optimize
As with any other pages on your website, you can optimize your homepage for speed, security, and user experience. Always focus on your users and creating the best website possible for them, and Google will reward you for it with rankings and with traffic.
While you won’t be optimizing your homepage the same way you optimize other pages on your website, there are so many things you can do to improve this page for your users and for Google. Guide your visitors with a structured, uncluttered menu. Keep your copy focused on your customer’s problem and how you can help them solve it. Be clear and consistent with your messaging, to drive home what you’re trying to tell them. Explain what you do, how it benefits your customers, and how they can get it. Elicit their trust, and continue to build a relationship with them. Only then will your homepage work the way it was meant to!
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