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Elements of a Good Homepage

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Jan2010 27

The homepage plays a significant role in the success of any website.  Below are elements that all good homepages have.

Clearly and simply states what you do

Someone coming to your website should, within seconds, be able to understand what you do.  People tend to skim a website as opposed to read so you as a website owner may only have a handful of seconds to impress your user.  Be sure you very clearly and succinctly convey who you do with one simple, well crafted sentence.

Serves as a table of contents

After you get your message across you want to encourage users to delve deeper into your website.  Think of your homepage as a table of contents for what lies within.  With a quick scan of the eyes users should get a good sense of what content they can find on your website and want to click inside.

Is flexible and not static

Being able to quickly and simply spotlight content is critical to a good homepage.  I personally like to use a modular approach, as it works well, is flexible and allows content to be easily changed as goals shift over time.  Plan in advance for this.  A website should not remain static for too long.

Keeps text brief

If you’ve been reading my blog you know I’m a big fan of simplifying.  Nowhere is this more important than on the homepage.  There should be no paragraphs on your homepage.  Think in terms of sentences.  Remember, your homepage is your table of contents.  You want it to be easy to skim and pull users in.  Big blocks of text are not conducive to this.

Eliminates clutter

I’ve worked on projects where people actually start fighting over space on the homepage. In such a scenario it would be OK for these folks to have a website that is cluttered as long as their content is on the homepage.  Don’t make this mistake.  Eliminate the clutter.  While you may feel good about having your content on the homepage, users will simply be overwhelmed and tune out.

Establishes navigation and other website elements

Your homepage should familiarize your users with navigation and common elements that will be used throughout the website.  Think of the last time you walked into an unfamiliar airport or a train station.  In those first moments you get your bearings by taking note of signs and determining you should go.  Your homepage should to the same for your users.

Conclusion

It’s true, your homepage will likely be the most popular page of the website.  Rather than try to fit everything on it think in terms of priority and follow the steps above to make it the best it can be!

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