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The basics of an ideal homepage

September 27, 2021 / Reading Time: 3 minutes /
Libby Caraher
CRO & UX Research Assistant

Your business’s homepage is your business’s shop window. It needs to draw users in whilst raising awareness of your product, presenting the most important elements of the product’s offering and how it can solve or serve the user’s problems. The homepage must also build up enough trust with the user that they feel confident enough to peruse the website further. It plays an important role then!

So, how can your homepage do this?

Whilst each homepage is unique to the brand and product in question, there are a few golden rules which run through all great homepage designs. Whilst the word “template” is a banned word at Clicky (everything is bespoke!), there are some norms and guidelines that a homepage should follow that we always look to bear in mind.

To begin with, think about your homepage’s structure carefully and use it efficiently by splitting it into three.

Top third

The top third contains some form of brand introduction, recognition of the user problem that the product intends to solve, and affirmation of the company’s and product’s credibility. Put simply, the top third of the page (often the “above the fold section” and the area below), should look to introduce the brand, recognise the problem of the user (based upon your audience research), and neatly position your service or product as a potential solution.

This will help new users who may be unfamiliar with your brand become more aware of the company’s offering, and most importantly – it should clarify why this website is relevant to them. Ideally, this section should also create enough interest or intrigue to draw the user in further.

The middle

Moving on, the middle third is where you should feature your product offering in a bit more detail, and begin to clarify just exactly how it presents a solution to the user’s problem. This is where you really need to draw in your users, by presenting your products in an engaging way and providing more detail than the user saw in the top third of the page.

This can often be done through interesting and professional-looking photographs and visuals of the product (for example, consider how tech hardware brands like Apple often contain “blow up” animation of their devices about half way down the page, showing the device’s key features). Many brands also look to implement a video to encourage engagement, whilst not demanding too much of the passive user. Making this section emotive and experiential can also help draw in the user further, and begin to move them from that awareness stage, through to the early stages of consideration.

Bottom third

The bottom third is looked at the least – we often find that less than 25% – 30% of users ever reach this far down – but that does not mean that businesses can slack when it comes to optimising this part of your homepage.

Every inch of the homepage is your business’s shop window, and as such, it is important you use it to its full potential and make the most of the users who step back and look at the whole window by reaching the very end of the home page.

From user testing, we’ve found that users who reach the bottom of the homepage are often those users that are still unsure of the product or company and need a bit of extra encouragement to push them down the purchase funnel.

As such, this section should be filled with positive testimonials or reviews – ideally from users just like them. Alternatively, fill this section with the awards and accreditations that your business has won. You could list brands that you’ve worked with or reputable magazines and newspapers that have featured your product or service.

This is the last opportunity to build a business to consumer relationship, and so these elements help to build both social proof and brand authority and legitimacy. We’ll never win over every user, but including elements such as award wins, features, and testimonials towards the end of your homepage will help to convert those users who are perched on the fence, and just need a bit of encouragement.

Of course, this is not a foolproof template – and should not be considered as such. We regularly change this up at Clicky, when it’s right to do so for the client’s brand. Sometimes social proof comes much higher up the page, or we might choose to skip a hero area altogether in favour of a product feature – these are rough guidelines that should always be considered against what is right for your brand.

However, these are the core elements that often serve as our starting point when we’re considering homepage design here at Clicky. If we follow these simple guidelines, we’ll ensure that the users who have digested your homepage have a good picture of your brand and idea of who you are, what your business can do for them, and why they should trust you to solve their problem.

A distinctive shop window draws your eye, piques your interest, and draws you in to browse; your homepage should do exactly the same thing.

Are you looking for a new website?

Contact us today to see how we can help you.

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