By Vee Smith, the Biz Tech Wiz
5 things to remove from your homepage to make it easier for potential clients to become actual clients.
Life has got so busy.
We scan read, take seconds to decide what’s important or not. Thanks to technology, we can cram so much more in than we ever have.
We are easily distracted.
What happens when you arrive at your desk stacked high with unsorted papers and notes?
You don’t know where to start first.
It drains your energy and side-tracks you from any purpose you woke up feeling motivated to do.
Much better and energising is seeing a nice clear desk when you start your day.
Clutter-free injects a sense of calm and well-being.
We talk about decluttering our lives and homes to simplify and reduce stress.
The same applies to your website.
In particular, your website homepage.
Your potential clients are just as busy as you.
They too scan read and decide within seconds what’s important or not.
They are ready to move on to the next thing if they can’t tell in the first few seconds of landing on your website that you can offer the solution to what they’re looking for.
Just like in our homes and lives, less is more on a website too.
A cluttered home page is a deterrent to a potential client.
If they can’t tell within a few seconds of arriving there you have what they need, they click away without even scrolling down or clicking other pages in your website.
In tech terms, clicking away without any further interactions on your site is called ‘bounce’.
Less bounce is good.
The goal of your website homepage is to confirm to the visitor they’re in the right place and reading on will give them the solution they’re looking for.
So here are 5 things you can do to your website homepage that will reduce bounce and make it easier for your potential clients to explore and dive deeper into your website.
1. Logo that is too big
This has to be my biggest bugbear!
The space on your homepage that occupies the screen without scrolling (sometimes referred to as above the fold) is THE most important area of your homepage.
This is where you get to make your first impression and first impressions absolutely count.
You have less than 5 seconds to make a good first impression.
A logo that dominates this area doesn’t help your visitor know who you help or what you do.
In truth, no one except you (and maybe your logo designer) cares about your logo.
Yes, it’s important to have branding, but on your homepage above the fold area, your logo is not the most important thing.
Do this instead:
Reduce the size of your logo. Squint at your homepage so everything is blurred. What’s your eye drawn to? Reduce the logo size even further if it’s still popping out.
The headline should be what pops out.
Which bring me on to….
2. Meaningless dominating headlines
‘The best experience’ or ‘Leaders in our field’ type headlines do not tell anyone anything useful about who you serve or what you do.
Neither do company names like ‘B.J. Services’ explain who you serve or what you do, and that shouldn’t be your dominating headline.
Headlines that use fancy, hard-to-read serif fonts are also a no-no.
Do this instead:
The best headline should explain who you serve and the problem they have that you solve short succinctly.
Make it a large bold non-serif font that is easy to read.
3. Brightly coloured social media icons in the header
You probably incur a lot of effort and cost to get people to visit your website so the last thing you want to do is have them leave your website without any further interaction. Or ‘bounce’.
But that’s exactly what you encourage when you place your social links in the most important ‘above the fold’ area as large attractive eye catching icons.
Once out of your site, you have no control over what they see. Even though you’ve linked to your social page, it’s now competing with the notifications and posts of all their 500+ friends and contacts! Not to speak of all the distracting ads and rabbit holes for them to get lost in.
Do this instead:
Either make those social icons much smaller and a colour that blends in with your branding colours so they don’t pop out.
Even better, move them to the footer.
4. Meaningless stock images
Images speak a thousand words and their use in websites today can do exactly that.
However, stock images of piles of smooth stones, art, rivers and landscapes say and do nothing to help portray who you help and what you do.
Even worse are the obvious stock images of multi-ethnic people in an office or a person sat in a yoga position on a beach – it clearly isn’t you or your client and isn’t authentic.
The absolute worse is using clip art images.
Clip art and bland stock images don’t portray professionalism.
Do this instead:
Never use clip art!
If you’re going to use stock images then use images of people who look like your client after they’ve had your services (i.e. content and happy!)
If you sell products, then pictures of your products and customers (or models who look like your customers) using/wearing your products.
Best is to invest in a good photographer to take some pictures of you in your environment, and if you sell them, your products (and your team if you have them).
It’s far more authentic and reassuring for a potential client to see an image of you rather than put up a shroud of stock images.
Remember what I said about less is more?
Sidebars are places where you can cram more information and links in.
It’s a bit like arriving at your cluttered desk.
Where do you start?
You might think that you have so much to offer your potential clients that you absolutely have to spread out all your offerings right there as soon as they arrive.
However, when you offer too much choice for your visitor to read, then the easiest thing for them to do is nothing and they click away – bounce.
Do this instead:
Remove the sidebars.
Depending on how your website was built this might be one of the trickiest things I advocate.
If it’s a fairly recent design and built in WordPress, depending on the theme it might just be a simple matter of unchecking/checking a box to disable sidebars.
If your website was built some time ago, then it’s probably due a refresh anyway, so specify no sidebars in the new design.
Focus on one, two or three (but no more than three) main solutions.
It could be your entry level service or your most popular service if you have more than one.
Describe your solutions with benefits rather than features…. That’s a whole different article for another time.
So there you have 5 things that you can do to declutter your website homepage which means you’ll have more visitors and potential clients dive deeper into your website and interact with you so you can convert them to clients.
Vee Smith is the Biz Tech Wiz who helps non-techie small business owners with the tech of their websites and online marketing systems. She writes a regular blog sharing tips and how-to’s and you can download her free online marketing toolkit from www.veesmith.com/toolkit