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Key Elements to Include and Avoid on Your Home Page

Reading Time: 4 minutes

If you’re a business in the 21st century, most of your potential customers are finding you first online. That means your website is one of the first places your audience will get to know you.

Most customers who visit your website will only give you mere seconds—and most definitely no more than 15 seconds—before deciding to stay or go. If they don’t see or read content that connects, they’ll click away and find someone else’s site that better speaks to them.

With every customer that turns away, your business loses potential revenue and relationship.

There is a solution to this problem: a home page that connects with your audience, converting them to critical leads for your business.

Why’s the Home Page So Important?

Believe it or not, 92% of consumers that visit your website for the first time aren’t there to purchase your product or service. They visit to better understand who you are and what you have to offer. Since your Home page is often the first page they’ll see, the content you use helps bridge the gap between visitor and customer.

The Key Messages to Include on Your Home Page

The main goal of your Home page is to make a great first impression and grab your audience’s attention. As they read your Home page content, they should feel inspired to keep moving through your website and closer to making a purchase or giving you a call.

To start, it’s important to answer your audience’s critical questions about your business in your website copy, including:

  • Can you help me solve my problem? If so, how?
  • Where are you located? Do you serve customers in my area?
  • Where do I go from here? What’s the next step I need to take?

Include other messages such as your unique sales proposition (USP), who you serve, and what makes you unique (your superpowers). Keep it simple, straightforward and easy to scan, using headings, short sentences and short paragraphs.

Additional Home Page Critical Elements

Beyond your copy, there are a few other critical elements to add to your Home page including:

  • A clear CTA: Add a clear call to action to your Home page to help direct your customer towards their next step. Make sure you use one primary CTA and clear language to avoid confusion. For example, “Call us to learn more” or “Download our freebie.”
  • A concise tagline: Right away, say who you serve, what your primary service area or deliverable is, and the value that you deliver to your audience. Aim for clarity and conciseness over cute and clever.
  • Contact information: Include your phone number and/or a link to your contact page in several critical areas on your Home page, including in the top right corner of your site’s design, in the body copy of your content and in the footer of your site.
  • Links to other key pages: Link to other website pages your visitors will want to check out such as your About page or Services page.
  • Social proof: Include a testimonial or two on your Home page that then links to a full Testimonials page. Insert badges from relevant review sites and your Google star rating. All of these help to build trust with your audience without you having to say the words yourself.
  • Visuals: Although copy is super important, so are images, call-out boxes and other visuals. Use them to create visual interest on the page and to break up text to help visitors avoid reading fatigue.
  • White space and scannable formatting: Help your audience take in more of your content by including a good amount of blank space (a.k.a. white space) on your site. Also use formatting such as bulleted lists, short paragraphs, short sentences, and bold and italics (used sparingly, of course) to keep your audience scanning and scrolling.

Elements to Avoid at all Costs on Your Home Page

Knowing what to include on a high-performing Home page is only the beginning when it comes to crafting a page that truly works for you and your audience. You also need to know these critical elements to avoid when writing.

  • Too many “we” statements: Your content is for your audience, not you. Write “you” more than “we” and ensure your first sentence on your site leads with “you.”
  • Too much history or background: Your Home page is not a catch-all. Include key messages that encourage your audience to click through to learn more. Hit the highlights and move on.
  • Too many links out to other pages: Your goal is to funnel your audience to key pages on your site. Do not link to all your services, just your primary one or your overview page. Do not link to all bios, just the founder’s bio or the About page. Send your audience to the next most impactful location on your site and continue funneling them from there.
  • Too many unnecessary buttons in your navigation: Keep total buttons in the top navigation of your site to a minimum, maxing out between seven and nine items (often dependent on your design). Absolutely do NOT include links to external sites—like your social media accounts—in your navigation. These encourage people to leave your site, which is not your goal at this point in time.
  • Too much jargon and industry language: No one wants to think more than they have to when reading online. Inundating your audience with jargon and insider language not only makes them think harder; it also makes them feel like outsiders. This only drives a wedge between you and them and increases the chances that they’ll click away. Make visiting your website easier for your audience by writing in the words they use.

Want to Take These Lists With You?

To make sure you don’t miss an element or a message, we’ve put together a checklist of what to include and what to avoid while creating your Home page. Go ahead and keep this checklist handy so you can write a Home page that converts those visitors into paying customers.

Business Website First Impressions Matter.

You have mere seconds to capture your audience’s attention and convince them to stay longer on your site, with the goal of converting them from visitor to hot lead. Follow these tips on what to include and what to avoid for a Home page that truly connects and converts. If you’d like to learn even more about writing a website that connects with your audience, reach out to us

Erin Larson