A homepage is THE HARDEST page of a website to write. Let’s just get that out there.
It’s the virtual living room of your business. It must be inviting but not cluttered. It must have visible pathways to other areas of your virtual home (site pages). A well-written page respects you only have time to stop in for a quick visit but ensures you at least sit on the couch and have a cup of coffee before leaving. And if I want you to come back, I’d better make it the best brew you’ve had and serve it just when you need it! I want you to come buy for a visit again and soon!
Do you see the comparison?
Remember, I said it’s the hardest page to write. Perhaps when you wrote yours, you pulled up the webpage you were building and pecked away putting something in the text boxes to fill space. If someone built your site out for you, maybe your web designer was hounding you for your content to complete the homepage. You put the task off as long as possible not knowing what to write, submitted some copy, but still sit wondering if it was the right copy.
Are you ready to give your homepage a little sprucing up? Here are 5 Reways to ensure your copy is serving your business well and doing its main job- conversion.
- Recognize the goals of your homepage.
- Provide a clear answer to your visitor’s question of, “What is this place?” Think about your own browsing behaviors. You land on a webpage, and if you can’t figure what the page is all about in 2 seconds, off you go! Word clutter, vague messaging, leading with sales, too many visuals or disjointed products and services should do a disappearing act. Let your homepage visitor know quickly where she has landed.
- Give captivating and clear high-level information to lead the visitor to deeper spaces on your website.
- Recognize what the goals are not.
- Your homepage should not lead with salesy language and buy it and try it verbiage. This can be a big turn-off to the potential customer. Think of how you get to know someone in person, and use the page to build a relationship.
- Putting up certain words, phrases, or word counts all in the name of SEO or copy without designated purpose. SEO is important but readability and connection are more important. Word pollution is like a bunch of clutter sitting at the entrance of your home. Don’t make someone shut the door of your website, because it’s not inviting to step inside.
“Let’s clean up our information environment. Are you saying something that benefits your customers, or simply spewing word count? If users don’t need it, don’t write it. Stop polluting now.” Jakob Nielsen
3. Research shows people skim webpages in an “F” or “Z” tracking pattern, so lay information out in a way that is easy to skim. Keep paragraphs short. Write like you speak. Bullet info to make it skimmable and let it hug your left margin when possible to keep copy where eyes naturally start reading.
4. Plan your writing on a google doc, word doc or go old-fashioned paper and pen like I do. Never write your first draft info directly into your website. I promise you’ll end up frustrated out the gate. Here’s what you can write in your plan and then work your design around your good copy ideas.
- What is your value factor? Why should anyone go to you over your competition? I didn’t say these would be easy things to draft out, but if you can’t communicate this to yourself, how will your customer get it?
- What exactly are your services and products in a nutshell?
- What’s your social proof? What success stories, testimonials, or other evidence can you communicate in your copy to let the reader know you are the real deal?
- Headlines and subheads should be potent and short. Content clarity wins any day over cutesy or clever. If you can be clever and potent, well, cheers to you! Draft your headlines and subheads. Brainstorm many options ahead of actually writing on the website.
- What links do you need to build in? What other rooms of your virtual business home would you like to guide people who land on your homepage. Plan these out!
5. Does the copy make someone feel something? Emotion always trumps facts, and there are ways to present facts that tug on emotions. A good way to figure out the home emotions of your brand is to think about your customer’s pain points and what salve you hope to provide through your business. Speak to their pain, give them a sense of calm and trust, and they may want your solution!
It’s the little things that make a big difference in your copy and messaging! I hope this gives you a start point to refresh your homepage AND feel great about what’s on that page.
Dream Big and Shine On!