How to make sure your business homepage sends a clear message (and why should you care?)

How to Make Sure Your Homepage Sends a Clear Message (+ 7 Great Website Tagline Examples)

Yesterday, I got a flyer in my mail. You know, the paper one.

Next to a generic company name and an equally generic picture of a bowl of cereal it said:

“Breath. Feel. Live. Your time is now.”

The rest of the front page was urging me to use a $10 discount on… something I had troubles identifying.

I turned the flyer around. Two paragraphs of text with nothing that stood out.

Will I have to read through the whole text to find out what this company does?

Thanks, but no thanks.

Usually, flyers like this land in my trash. But I thought I could use this one as a “don’t be like this” example in one of my posts (and here we are).

If I open your homepage right now, will I immediately understand what it is that you do, whom does it help and how?

Or will I have to pause, scroll, and comb through paragraphs of text first?

Because if it’s the latter, you have a problem.

Does your website have a clear message?

Let’s do an exercise.

Imagine, you see your website for the first time.

It’s hard, I know. You’ve been staring at it for the past… how long has it been? Months? Years? You know every pixel and every character of it.

And this is exactly why you need this: To understand whether your website has a problem, you need to look at it with a fresh eye.

This is how you check if your website sends a clear message:

Open the homepage of your website.

Lean a bit away from the screen.

Close your eyes and think of something completely different for a minute or two.

Now open your eyes, look at your homepage, and pretend you see it for the first time.

Is it clear from the first glance what it is that you do?

Or could your first-time visitors confuse your life coaching website with a website of a yoga instructor?

If it’s the latter, don’t worry. I’ll show you how to fix this real quick.

But first, why is a clear message of your homepage even important?

If you think about it, a lot of people who visit your website will never visit your homepage.

If I click on a link to your blog post from the search results or from a Facebook share, I may leave as soon as I find the answer I was looking for.

So why should you care what message your homepage sends?

Why is clear message on your homepage important?

Think about these scenarios:

  • I get so impressed with your post that I want to learn more about you.
  • I search for you or your company directly because I heard about you or met you personally.
  • I check out your profile on social media and click the link to your business website.

Do you really want to blow the chance to make a strong impression on someone who is already interested in what you have to offer?

Because a confusing message on your homepage will do just that.

What constitutes a clear message?

Most of the people visiting your homepage want to know one thing: What is it that you offer?

So your homepage needs to give them clear information and answer these questions instantly, clearly, and in a precise way:

  • Who (a person) or what (an organization) is this?
  • What do you do and for whom?
  • How you do it (if it’s not clear from above)?
  • What is the benefit?

This information is communicated by:

  • Your domain name
  • Your website tagline
  • Other prominent elements on your homepage (headings, highlighted paragraphs, images, etc.).

Your domain name

Having a domain name that speaks for itself, like copyblogger.com or enchantingmarketing.com, is a great start. But often your website goes by jacksmith.com or something generic like breath-feel-love.com. In this case you have to put in extra effort and nail the tagline and the prominent elements on your homepage to make it clear what it is that you do.

Your website tagline

Creating a clear and compelling website tagline is easier than you think.

But first, tell me this…

Were you listening to this bad advice about website taglines?

Admit it, did you fall for articles that tell you your website tagline should be creative, clever and funny? You know, the ones that praise the slogans of Apple and Nike as an example to look up to.

We all have been there.

The truth is, whatever works for Apple and Nike, established companies with enormous brand recognition and millions of loyal followers….

…usually won’t work for you, a small business owner struggling to win new clients, or a freelancer with a new website.

Imagine this.

You saw my tweet and decided to check my Twitter profile. You have no idea who I am. You open my website and see this tagline on my homepage:

“Gill Andrews. Think different.”

Huh?

I have great news for you:

Ordinary but clear always trumps creative but vague. (Unless you have already reach world domination and people camp in front of your stores to buy your stuff).

Creative and memorable website tagline will earn you brownie points, but only if your message remains clear.

When it comes to your business website, ordinary but clear always trumps creative but vague.

How to create a clear website tagline

When the pressure of having to be creative is gone, creating a website tagline is only a matter of following these steps:

Step #1: Define your target audience.

Step #2: Decide what the biggest benefit of your product or services is.

Step #3: Use one of these formulas to create your website tagline:

We {do this} for {whom}

{What} for {whom}

{Does what} for {whom}

{Do this} to/and {get the benefit}

{Doing this} {with this benefit}

{What} {with what benefit}

{Get this benefit} {by doing this}

Other prominent elements on your homepage

If your favorite version of the website tagline is a real gem, but still isn’t clear enough, add an explanatory sentence to fill in the blanks. For example, a visually prominent sentence or a short paragraph after the tagline.

Let’s look at some great examples of homepages with a clear message and how they make the website tagline formulas and prominent elements work for them.

7 examples of websites with great website taglines and a clear message

1. Tiny Buddha

Example of great website tagline: Tiny Buddha

Tiny Buddha is already a great domain name, as “Buddha” evokes all the right associations. The tagline “Simple wisdom for complex lives” communicates clearly what to expect and is also memorable.

Website tagline formula: {What} for {Whom}

2. Audience Bloom

Example of great website tagline: Audience Bloom

AudienceBloom use a relevant domain name but sacrifice a part of clarity in their website tagline for its memorability. Yet, the homepage still delivers a 100% clear message due to the short sentence under the tagline. It fills in the blanks and explains in a clear way how exactly the “audience blooming” happens.

Website tagline formula: {Get this benefit} {by doing this}

3. Digital Marketing Deva

Example of great website tagline: Digital Marketing Deva

This is one of my favorite examples when it comes to a website tagline and a clear message of a homepage.

The domain name clearly states their specialty (digital marketing). The tagline “Persuasive copy designed to sell” not only tells you exactly what they do (create copy) and the benefits (the copy they write is persuasive and sells) but is also short and memorable.

Notice that because their homepage is not overloaded with graphic elements and text, you have no choice but to focus on the bold heading centered on the page that further emphasizes the benefits of hiring them to write your copy. You can’t help but read further.

Website tagline formula: {What} {with what benefit}

4. The Domestic Man

Example of great website tagline: The Domestic Man

I find that especially food bloggers underestimate the effect of a clear message of their homepage.

Because all the food pictures already send the “it’s a recipe blog” message, right?

Wrong.

Unless you want your grandma to forever remain the only person who reads your food blog, you should treat it like a business and your visitors like customers. Which means that your homepage should send a clear message of what to expect.

The Domestic Man is a perfect example of how you can instantly answer the most important questions your visitors have:

  • What diet are these recipes based on?
  • Which cuisines?

Actually, answering these two questions would be already enough to send a clear message. But by telling his visitors that there is a new recipe every Tuesday “the Domestic Man” Russ takes it one step further. He motivates them to subscribe by taking away their fear of being bombarded with recipes and setting clear expectations.

Website tagline formula: {What} for {whom} used in an implicit way.

5. Tech Savvy Mama

Example of great website tagline: Tech Savvy Mama

Want more readers for your mama blog to earn more with affiliate marketing? Make sure your homepage tells your visitors how your blog is different from any other mama blog out there.

Tech Savvy Mama does a great job and tells you straight away that this blog has a specific focus. If you are a mother concerned about parenting in the digital age, you won’t help but click on a couple of links.

Website tagline formula: {What} for {whom} used in an implicit way.

6. Amanda Creek Creative

Example of great website tagline: Amanda Creek Creative

I went through at least 30 websites of graphic and web designers before I found an example of a homepage with a clear message. On many pages, it wasn’t even clear that a person was a designer.

There is nothing creative in Amanda’s website tagline. Instead, it is simple and crystal clear. Which is wonderful, because it saves her potential clients time and effort of figuring out what it is that she does, and whether it fits their needs. Amanda shows her skill and creativity as a designer where it matters: Through the design of her website.

It’s understandable that you want to impress your visitors with your creativity right away. But if by doing so you leave them confused, you risk losing a client.

Website tagline formula: {What} for {whom}

7. ByRegina

Example of great website tagline: By Regina

This is a great example of a solopreneur website. The copy of the homepage nails the clear message. It tells you whom is it for (inforpreneurs and bloggers) and what Regina helps them with (monetize their “epicness”, i.e. earn money with what they are doing online).

Regina’s website tagline is clear plus creative and memorable.

In the short paragraph under the tagline you get a feeling of Regina’s personality, which is a nice bonus and instantly earns her brownie points.

Website tagline formula: {For whom}. {With what benefit}.

Main takeaways

  1. If you want your homepage to send a clear message, it’s important for your visitors to grasp this immediately:
  • who/what you are
  • what you do
  • with what benefit
  1. This information is communicated by:
  • Your domain name
  • Your website tagline
  • Prominent elements on your home page, like headings, boxes, calls to action, etc.
  1. Ordinary but specific trumps creative but vague.
  1. Website tagline formulas:
  • We {do this} for {whom}
  • {What} for {whom}
  • {Does what} for {whom}
  • {Do this} to/and {get the benefit}
  • {Doing this} {with this benefit}
  • {What} {with what benefit}
  • {Get this benefit} {by doing this}
  1. Great examples of clear website messages:
  • “Tiny Buddha: Simple Wisdom for Complex Lives.”
  • “Audience Bloom: Bloom your online visibility and sales.”
  • “Digital Marketing Deva: Persuasive copy designed to sell.”
  • “The Domestic Man: Gluten-free & Paleo-friendly recipes, inspired by traditional & international cuisines. New recipes every Tuesday.”
  • “Tech Savvy Mama: Parenting in the digital age.”
  • “Amanda Creek Creative: Branding and design for creative women entrepreneurs.”
  • “Byregina.com: For infopreneurs. For bloggers. Monetize your epicness.”

What about you?

How did it go with that exercise? Do you think your website has a clear message? If not, I hope this post will help you fix it.

In case you are still struggling, leave a comment below. I’ll check your homepage and give you some tips.

6 thoughts on “How to Make Sure Your Homepage Sends a Clear Message (+ 7 Great Website Tagline Examples)

  1. Great examples here, Gill. Appreciate the concrete “no, idiot…it’s like THIS” demonstrations 🙂 you hooked me with the “don’t be like Apple,” too. Tim Ash from SiteTuners would love this post. He preaches this far & wide. Keep rockin!

    1. Thanks, TJ. “Concrete” is my middle name 😉 I think the world of content could use more of that. So just doing my part 🙂 Glad you found this useful.

  2. Am newbie who is learning up so I can run a blog .You can understand how your post served me .I have natural incling for ‘concreteness’.Thanks.

  3. I found this article very helpful. Great examples to help you start an effective web page. I was thinking of using my Home Economics background and role as a full-time caregiver to write a blog on recipes for seniors. The elderly need nutrient dense foods that are visually appealing and tasty because of their smaller appetites (similar to trying to figure out what toddlers will eat). I have already developed recipes and taken photos. Your professional opinion, Gill, and expertise would be helpful as I would rather start out with a great web page than fix one that is lacking. First impressions are key.
    Sorry Gill, I left this comment on the wrong page the first time. BTW, signed up for the Domestic Man :)))

    1. Hi Trudy! No worries. I removed that comment, so now your comment is only where you intended it to be 🙂 Glad to hear you found this helpful. You are absolutely right, it’s important to do it right from the very beginning. Just shoot me an email with any questions you have, and I’ll be happy to help. And yes, The Domestic Man is cool! 😀

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