The 8 critical pieces of content your homepage must have

If you’re in business, you have a website. It’s that simple.

And the homepage of your website is the most important page to take care of.  I always say, your website is not the digital version of your business card or brochure. Your website is your most powerful digital marketing tool. And for the homepage, your objective should be to convince visitors enough that they want to stay in touch with you. Because they’ll never be ready to buy from the first visit. 

With that objective in mind, here are the 8 must-have pieces of content for your homepage:

1. A clear, descriptive headline

Mention as briefly as possible what you do. This sounds like a no-brainer, but I’ve seen so many websites out there who don’t tell what they do. Don’t assume it’s clear from your company name. And certainly don’t expect visitors to click on the About section and read all about you. You have a few seconds to show what you’re offering directly and clearly.

2. The essential pain points of your audience

Show you understand the specific pains of your prospects by asking the right questions, using emotional triggers. The more a visitor feels you’re speaking about their needs directly, the more they will trust you to do the job. Be as specific as possible, and the best prospects will stick with you.

3. The benefits of your product or service

It’s not about you and your product (aka: the features) but about your audience and what you can do for them (aka: the benefits). You’ll have time to outline the features in the product/service page, for those prospects who are qualified and ready to learn more. On the homepage stick to the benefits to hook the right prospects.

4. A free non-core piece of useful material

Your prospects will generally not be ready to buy anything the moment they reach your homepage. But they are ready to explore, to learn more. So offer a piece of practical material they’d love to have before making any decision. It can be a PDF, an e-book, a video… Exchange it for their email address. They’ll be happy to get something valuable for free, and you’ll be happy to grow your email list.

5. Images as visual support

Make sure you choose relevant images that describe what you do or outline the industry you’re in. Don’t use stock images that could fit any website out there. You have a few seconds to grab your visitors’ attention, use the right picture to communicate your message.

6. Free resources

These have 2 objectives. First, since your visitors are not ready to buy, offering them informational material that surrounds your product will satisfy their need to know more about it. And second, research shows that the more time visitors spend on your site, the more likely they are to remember you and buy from you when they’re ready for a purchase.

7. Testimonials

They are a social proof that you’re professional, reliable, trustworthy. More than ever, customers rely on peer opinions to make a purchase. Your testimonials will tilt the balance in your favor. Make sure to include the person’s photo and full name for higher credibility.

8. Call to action

The last one on the list but probably the most important element on your home page. Remember – it’s a marketing tool. You want each of your visitors to do something after getting there and scanning it. Ask them to download your free e-book, subscribe to your blog updates or sign up for a trial. Whatever it is, make sure it’s a direct request. Don’t assume just because your product or service is so great they will jump at the opportunity to sign up. They won’t. They will be distracted by the other 12 tabs on their browser. Make the call to action yourself.

If you already have a homepage or you’re planning one for your new website, I hope this checklist will help you stay on track and engage with your visitors.

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