I was surfing the web the other day with a friend of mine who is a musician and not remotely involved in online marketing. Basically, my friend could be an everyday customer for any company out there (including mine). After landing on a secondary page we decided to go to the homepage, but couldn’t find the link. I automatically said to click the logo at the upper left of the page (of course!). Then it dawned on me: As digital marketers we eat and breathe this stuff. This makes it difficult to remove our own personal expertise and think about site visitors on the front end. Clicking the company logo, I realized, is not an obvious pathway to the homepage.
This was not just an isolated incident by an inexperienced web user. Website design for small- to medium-sized businesses is super important when building your brand online. A good place to start is by looking at your very own homepage. While you may have limited resources to make a ton of changes, asking yourself a few questions will help you evaluate your best course of action and some simple fixes.
Are you emphasizing your main objective? We all have a purpose online, whether it is generating leads, driving consumer purchases, providing information, giving advice, even promoting events. Though a lot of times search engines route visitors to pages other than the homepage, they will eventually navigate there in search of an overview of your business. For instance, if you are a gallery selling art, tell the visitor what you stand for, the type of art you offer, and important showings. If you’re a musician or promoter, and you want visitors to attend an event, highlight upcoming venues on your homepage – and allow users to RSVP.
Less is more. Do you have too much going on? The most important areas to cover are an overview of your organization, the main actions you want visitors to take (as mentioned above), and access to useful information regarding your company and its offerings. Ask yourself when looking at your homepage if it communicates the unifying message that defines your organization. By doing this you will not only quickly qualify your web traffic, but also will allow that qualified traffic to get where they want to go.
Be the solution. Many of us surf the web for different reasons, but a main one is to solve a problem. Make the answer to that problem obvious to your website users as soon as they get to your site – on both the homepage and other significant pages. Online attention span is short, so the sooner your visitors find what they are looking for, the better chance your website will be a success. If you start with these basics, you can quickly transform your homepage into the foundation for a strong online brand identity.