This article give tips on building an effective homepage for your website.
Since your homepage is people’s first encounter with your website, it is of vital importance that it makes a lasting impression as this greatly affects their decision to revisit it. The homepage is the page that can either leave users intrigued with a desire to learn more about your organisation or it can cause them to become irritated, confused and ultimately to abandon your site. This article contains some tips for designing an effective homepage.
1 First of all, you have to define who you are or what the organisation is about. Make sure you clearly display your company name, logo and tag line preferably near the top of the page. Generally users will scan your page starting at the top-left, so this is ideal place for your logo. Clearly show your identity and make sure it is aligned with what they are expecting. Also clearly state if your site is local or national, a small business or a corporation and if it is modern or traditional.
2 Avoid sleazy elements such as a lot of scrolling text, animated GIFS, blinking, flashing objects or sound that auto-loads. Sounds and animation are very distracting. Visitors with slow connections may feel resentful that you’re wasting their time by forcing them to load animations and sound files before actually seeing your page. It is conventionally thought that people are drawn to an animated ad, but in reality quite the opposite is true.If you assault readers with blinking ads, they are more likely to leave your site immediately without clicking on a thing.They are also far less likely to bookmark such a site, link to it, recommend or return to it.The exact same is to be said about scrolling text. Not only do people find it most annoying, they also can not read it at their own pace but are forced to read it at the slow or fast speed it scrolls down in. Scrolling text never serves the visitor, it only shows the owner of the website tried to look cool.
3 Another thing to avoid is to install pop-up windows as this is almost always the most annoying to any visitor. Nobody likes to be bombarded with a lot of pop-ups. By adding pop-up windows you will ensure that your visitors never return. Most people tend to forget their own experience of browsing the web and clicking on a site that overloads you with pop-ups when they start designing their own homepages. Always think what annoys you most of other websites and ensure you do not include that on your own site.
4 Organizing your homepage is extremely important and you need to put some thought into that before making it. Make it easy to find stuff on your homepage. Don’t haphazardly clutter your page with all kinds of tit-bits. Think of what content you want to put on it and how it should be organized. A haphazardly thrown together page is neither interesting to read or look at nor is it a page anyone would ever want to revisit.
5 Minimize clicking as much as you possibly can as this is another big reason why so many sites on the web are not revisited. If visitors are forced to click around your homepage, they might not leave immediately, but will definitely get annoyed and will most probably not view as much of your content as you would have liked them to. On the other hand, also don’t let your homepage be a ’splash page’ (a page that just “welcomes” visitors and has no meaningful information on it) neither. A far better idea is to put meaningful amounts of information on each page of your website, starting with your homepage but keep in mind to minimize clicking and scrolling.
6 It is equally important that you prioritize your content and display items on the homepage that are held in the highest priority. A good idea is to let the most important content be large and closest to the top-left portion of your homepage. If you need to display several important services, products or pieces of content, make sure they are weighted accordingly to size and location within the page.
7 Do not bog your homepage or website down with too large image files. Compress your image files with a graphics software so they take up less room and therefore less time to load into your visitors browsers. There a several graphics software that shrinks your graphics to an acceptable size. Programs such as Gifbot is not only quick and easy to use but shrinks your graphics right there on the web page. You can also download graphics software such as Windows HVSGifCruncher and JPEG Wizard and for Macintosh it is GraphicConverter.
8 Use simple backgrounds or contrasting colors as it is very hard to read dark text on a dark background and light text on a light background. There are also a few color combinations that simply just don’t work. For example putting red text on a dark blue background makes it awfully hard for visitors to read and chances are pretty good they won’t even attempt it. Also ensure that the text is large enough for people to read comfortably since nobody likes to have to squint when they read something.The most comfortable sizes to use are 12 or 13 px Arial or 11 or 12 px Verdana.
9 A display of professional and visually pleasing graphics on your homepage will go a long way in showing the visitors that your organisation has the wherewithal to take the time and spend the money to produce an aesthetically pleasing experience for them. This in turn is a good indicator to them that the same care and attention has been paid to your products or services. Also always provide up-to-date content, keeping it relevant and fresh and if the information is a lot, offer users a “read more” call-to-action.
10 The Internet has become increasingly competitive so it is therefore vital to get users to your site and keep them there. An excellent way to achieve this and compel users to visit further into your site, and if needed to offer up their email address, is to provide them with some kind of incentive. The incentive can be anything such as an e-book, access to exclusive content or special discounts on items, etc. Incentives always add value to the experience a user get and thus will ultimately improve the success of your website.
Remember to always ensure that you focus on delivering a satisfying and pleasing experience and pay enough attention to the smallest detail that might otherwise be overlooked. Every single little detail on your homepage is all important to ensure the success of your entire website.