When we are asked to design a website, the majority of our clients are very concerned about the look of their homepage. They want to showcase as much as possible of their company and forget about the message they want to send to their potential client. If there are to many different propositions on the homepage, it will take the visitor to much time to discover if he has landed on the right website. and don’t forget, you have about 0,8 seconds to convince him before he bounces (leaves the website without any action).
On the left you see the best example of a clear message on the homepage, and this also happens to be the most popular website on the whole internet… It shows a form with only one field, a button that says search and some humor in the button next to it saying “I’m feeling lucky”. But now think about what you expected before you landed on this page. You where looking for information on the web, you needed some help to find this so you went to google with only one goal… fill in the search form and find the website that offers you the information you are looking for! And isn’t this exactly what this homepage does?
Of course not everybody has a clear “one trick” proposition like Google, so take a look at Amazon and see how they are doing. Ugly website isn’t it. But again it does the trick and it does it very well!! The overload on information you get on this site has only one goal, getting you away from the homepage as fast as possible. It forces you to go search a product (prominent search bar on top) or to click on one of the many offers they make. Don’t have clue what you are looking for, see the “What Other Customers Are Looking At Right Now” section to find the most popular products.
So next time when you have 5 minutes left, have a look at your homepage and imagine you are a potential punter looking for a specific product/service you are selling and ask yourselves the following questions:
- Is it clear what your website offers
- Is it clear what your main products/services are
- Is there a clear navigation structure
- Do you give the visitor the information he expects to find
Remember that this visitor came through a search on the web, a link in an e-mail or a reference link on another website, with a specific need for information and you have less than 1 second to convince him he is in the right place!