6 Things You Believe About Your Homepage That Are Actually BS

6 Things You Believe About Your Homepage That Are Actually BS

Quick question: How do you feel about your homepage?

On a scale from 0 to 10 with 10 being awesome, is it an 8 or more like a lame 5?

Well, unless is a 10+, there is room for improvement.

Here are 6 things you believe about your homepage that are actually BS (plus the ways to fix them right away).

Your homepage myth #1

#1 Your homepage should be about you

“Seems logical. What else did my visitors come to my page for other than learn about me?”

What it should rather be:

The only two things on your homepage that should be about you are:

The rest – even that website tagline and the part where you describe your products / services – should be about your visitors, namely how you can help them solve their problems.

Do you have a problem?

Count how many times you say “I/we” vs “you/your” in the copy of your homepage. If you end up with equal numbers or an imbalance towards “I/we”, you have a problem.

How to fix this:

  • What’s that one main problem that you help people solve? Make this sentence your tagline.
  • Rephrase features through benefits
  • Featuring your blog posts, courses and books on your homepage? Make sure their titles reflect the benefits for the people if they decide to read them or sign up.
  • Using an opt-in form to capture email addresses? Don’t call it “sign up for updates”. Add a line explaining what to expect from your updates and phrase it through the benefits for those who opt in.

And so on. I guess you get the gist.

Your homepage myth #2

#2 Your homepage design should be awesome

“Who doesn’t love a great design? The more interactive features, beautiful buttons and creative pictures of myself, the better!”

What it should rather be:

Not ugly but functional.

Great design isn’t necessarily based on the latest trends. Great web design is the one that does its job and:

  • helps your visitors do what they came to your page for, and…
  • helps you convert them.

Basically, you are looking for an effective design that doesn’t get in the way of what the visitors would like to do on your page. Meaning it loads fast, uses enough white space to avoid clutter, and is responsive but not distractive.

If you are still not convinced, read my all-time favorite article written by a UI designer from Dropbox: “The dangers of delightful design”.

Do you have a problem?

Good question! It’s difficult to say without looking at your web page.

The clues that your design is sabotaging your efforts:

Oh, and one more thing:

Are you using a blog post, testimonials, or client logos carousel? Kill it with fire!


Your homepage myth #3

#3 You need a catchy website tagline

“Something like ‘Think different’ would be nice, you know? I can already picture it written on a billboard!”

What it should rather be:

If you are not world famous, your website tagline should be crystal clear. If you can’t make it crystal clear and catchy, make it crystal clear and boring.

Do you have a problem?

Read your website tagline and subtagline out loud. Would you use exact same sentences as it is if a stranger at a party asked you what you do? Would they understand what you do without further explanation?

If you answered “no” to at least one of those questions, you have a problem.

How to fix this:

It’s actually easier than you think. Now when the pressure of having to be clever is off, just use one of these website tagline formulas.

Your homepage myth #4

#4 You need to offer your website visitors as many options as possible

“I have no idea who lands on my homepage. What if they won’t find what they were looking for?”

What it should rather be:

Your homepage should guide your visitors towards taking particular actions based on a balance between what they want to do on the page and what you want them to do.

Basically, you need to help them reach their goals (find out the information they came to you for) and give them a gentle push towards helping you reach yours (sign up for a freebie, explore more blog posts, visit your About page, etc.)

Do you have a problem?

What segment of your target audience you are optimizing your homepage for?

For example, first-time visitors from organic search, visitors who just read your article and decided to check out your homepage, visitors that already know your name because you are famous, etc.

What would be that one action you would prefer your visitors to take on your homepage?

For example, sign up for a freebie, explore more blog posts, visit your About page, etc.

How many CTAs at once can your visitors see?

If you answered at least one of these questions with “I have no idea”, you have a problem

How to fix this:

Have you ever heard of use cases?

These are mini stories used to test the usability an app or a web application.

Clients for whom the software developers are creating that app write down many detailed scenarios of what a user may want to do with an app (aka use cases).

The developer will later test their app against those scenarios to see if all the steps can be performed with ease and whether the outcome is exactly what the user expects.

Applied to your homepage, a use case could be something like this:

“Stacy just found your blog post on Google. She was impressed by how helpful it was and now wants to learn more about the person who wrote it (you). Stacy checks out your homepage.”

Now, answer the following questions:

  • Would Stacy easily find a way from a blog post to the homepage?
  • Is it clear to Stacy who you are and what you do (clear website tagline / subtagline + your photo) or does she need to scroll to find this info?
  • Can she easily find more info about you (link to About page clearly visible) or are there 100 elements that are fighting for her attention?
  • How long will it take Stacy to find out the information she wants?

Create more use cases like this that describe the most typical scenarios of what a visitor might want from your homepage and see how easy and efficient it is for them to do what they want.

This way you’ll test how well your homepage helps your visitors reach their goals.

To test whether you’ve maximized the chances for your visitors to help you reach your goals as well, make sure:

Your homepage myth #5

#5 You need a welcome mat or a pop-up (better both)

“Interstitials are great. They get me new subscribers!”

What it should rather be:

Think before you pop-up!

Popup statistics: Number of people who need to see your popup for you to get one engaged subscriber

If you are a small business owner or a solopreneur who works with people one-on-one, by using any kind of stuff that pops up in people faces at any given time you’ll scare away more fans and potential clients than you get subscribers.

Not my personal opinion. Just math, which is apparently also good for calculating stuff you can’t see, like, people who hate your popups.

Your homepage myth #6

#6 Your footer is not important

“OMG, it’s bloody far down the page. Nobody scrolls that far anyway. I’ll just put some links and my social icons there. Are we good?”

What it should rather be?

Footer is as important as any other major part of your website.

Three reasons why your footer is ultra-important:

  • If your visitor hasn’t find what they were looking for on your page, they’ll check your footer. If you provide the main navigation options and information there you’ll be able to catch them before they leave your website.
  • People do scroll all the way down to your footer. Funny story: More people may be scrolling down your footer on mobile (check your heatmaps).
  • Footer appears on every page of your website, and you are passing the SEO juice to every page you link to from it.

Do you have a problem?

Is your footer cluttered with too many elements or links, or is it almost empty?

Do you have a strategy in mind for the elements that you placed there and their order?

Do you have a CTA in your footer?

Basically, you have a problem if you’ve never given your footer much thought.

How to fix this:

Give the same attention to your footer you would give to any other important part of your page:

  • Unclutter its design and use enough white space.
  • Place the links and the images strategically.

Examples of the things you can put in your footer:

  • Logo
  • Privacy policy
  • Copyright
  • Navigation
  • Social icons
  • Postal address
  • Phone number
  • Email sign-up
  • Search box
  • Latest articles

TL;DR

Oh, come on! I made such pretty pictures, and you still didn’t read it! #sad

Ok, here’s a short summary.

6 things that you believe about your homepage that are actually BS:

Myth #1: Your homepage should be about you.

This is one of the most cotly misconceptions. The only two things on your homepage that should be about you are your name / your company’s name and your photograph.

The rest should be about your visitors’ problems and the ways you can solve them.

Myth #2: Your homepage design should be awesome.

Nope. Just not ugly and functional.

Myth #3: You need a catchy website tagline.

Nope. It doesn’t have to be catchy, but it has to be crystal clear. Crystal clear and boring is also perfectly fine.

Myth #4: You need to offer your website visitors as many options as possible.

Nope. Actually, you should offer as few options as possible, but enough for your visitors to reach their goals and for you to have the best chances to reach yours.

Myth #5: You need a welcome mat or a pop-up (better both).

Nope. With interstitials, small / medium business owners alienate more prospects that they win subscribers (1319 people on average for 1 engaged subscriber). There is a formula that helps you calculate the numbers for your own website.

Myth #6: Your footer is not important.

Your footer is as important as other parts of your website. Yes, people scroll that far, and it acts as a safety net catching the visitors who are about to bounce and improves your SEO.

Final words of wisdom

Taking care of your website yourself, especially if you have no technical background, isn’t easy.

Sometimes you are overwhelmed. Sometimes you feel like you have no idea what you are doing. Sometimes you just plain hate it.

The secret of making it work is to tackle one thing at a time, even if it’s the tiniest thing ever.

So if you pick one thing from this list and fix it, your homepage tomorrow will be better than your homepage today.

What do you think?

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