Website Design: What to include on your Homepage

Website Design: What to include on your Homepage

January 10, 2019

Your homepage is the first impression that your customers see that not only introduces your brand but tells them how to navigate where to go. Every detail should be catered towards leading the customer to your call to action. Wether that be purchasing a product or getting them to subscribe to your email list. 

There is no one way to design a homepage but there are some key questions to consider when planning your design to optimize your goals. 

Questions to consider include:

  1. What action do you want the visitor to complete? Purchase a product? Opt-in with their e-mail? 
  2. How much information do they need to get to that action that you want them to complete?
  3. How simple and straightforward are you making it for them to complete this action
  4. Are there any steps that you can take out to streamline them getting from your homepage to the action you want them to complete?

You are likely to have visitors who come knowing exactly what they are looking for and visitors that are just checking you out. Keep that in mind when answering the above questions and deciding on homepage design. 

On average, visitors spend between 10-20 seconds on your homepage so you need to make sure that your design quickly captures their attention and easily navigates them to their next step. In order to do this you have to look at your homepage and break it down visually from the top to the bottom. 

1. Let's talk about the top, most valuable real estate, also referred to as "Above-the-fold" content, which typically inspires action. The "Above-the-fold" content refers to the area that visitor would see at the top of your homepage before they decide to scroll. Here is an example of my website showing the "Above-the-fold" content which clearly is action driven to get visitors to opt-in. 

Homepage design

While this works great for my business, you may want to try something else if you are focused on retail sales. When considering what lies above the fold, focus on actions you want the visitor to take, the information they need, and how you can help them take that action. Checkout this great example from Morning Recovery.

This homepage features two paths. One the visitor can purchase the product or two the visitor can scroll down to get more information. The above the fold information includes an attention grabbing header that quickly describes what the product is for and a button to click to purchase. Very simple but very effective.

2. Let's talk about navigation, also known as how you are going to get your visitor from the homepage to your desired action. Header navigation should be very straightforward and simple considering how little time visitors spend before moving between pages. Start with "high level" navigation and then you can drill down with sub-navigation in your menus. Here is a great example of how you can use a simple navigation menu with high level categories KKW Beauty.

KKW Beauty

 You can easily see how to navigate by choosing "Lips", "Eyes", "Face", and "Best Sellers" to quickly get the visitor closer to the action you want them to complete, in this case purchasing a product. In this next example from KKW Beauty you can see the sub-navigation menus that appear when you hoover over the header navigation that further "drill down" where the visitor needs to go to complete the purchase for the item they are looking for. 

KKW Beauty

Some websites have "About Us", "FAQ" and "Contact Us" in their header menus. I would suggest putting those in your footer menu instead so that you don't take your visitors off the path to conversion. 

3. Let's chat about imagery. It is super important to your brand that you use high quality images that tell your brand story. There are several ways you can incorporate great imagery "Above-the-fold". Here are some perfect examples of high quality imagery with a call to action button.

Bombas does a great job of using a high quality image of their product and incorporating a quick link to simple categories to drive their visitors straight from the homepage to conversion. 

bombas socks

Another great example is Allbirds, they also use great imagery of their product along with quick navigation above the fold. 


 Another option is to use a Slideshow as your header, this is a great option if you have multiple product collections that you want to feature. You would want to choose your most important collection to feature in the first slider. A final option would be using a video above the fold. It can be a very visually impactful. Nescafe uses video to showcase their brand on their homepage. 


 4. Let's talk Call to Action. Think of a call to action as a navigation sign, like an exit sign on the highway. Your call to action should align with the next step a visitor should take on your homepage to take them towards conversion. It might be a link to your latest collection, a holiday sale, or a new product launch. Your call to action should be clear and easy to find on your homepage. Popsockets does a great job of featuring a clear call to action on their homepage. 


5. Let's talk easy access to the shopping cart. The shopping cart should be easy to find and easy to access. Many websites show the shopping cart in the top right corner. You want to make it clear when items are in the cart and how they can get to those items in the cart. 

6. Another essential item in creating a homepage that converts is access to a search bar on the homepage. Generally, users that search for an item in your store are more likely to convert, so make it easy for them to access the search. Morphe does a great job of not only using a search symbol on the header but once you click the search symbol, the box expands so you can easily search for what you are looking for. 


Now that we have covered the basics of homepage design above the fold, you should also consider some other elements to increase conversions below the fold. This could include blogs, videos, reviews, social proof, social feeds, endorsements, press, and add on products.

Mobile homepage design should always be considered as many visitors will access your site by mobile. You will want to simplify the mobile homepage design and direct users towards a specific set of actions. Navigation should be geared towards taking a visitor from the homepage to point of purchase with the least amount of clicks. 

 There is no one way to design a homepage, start with the basics and build from there. Your homepage is your "first impression" and you may not ever have a chance to make that impression again. Keep it simple, focus on the action you want your visitors to complete and you will convert visitors into paying customers. 



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