The magic formula for creating a great Home page

As a web copywriter, I think of a Home page as like a “virtual reception area.”  It’s probably the first page visitors will arrive on, so it should radiate a welcoming “virtual smile” before ushering them efficiently to where they want to go — just like a real receptionist would.

Your Home page should be welcoming

A Home page should clearly communicate what your website is all about and navigate visitors to the products or services they seek.

Related posts:

What’s the point of an About page?

How to write a Home page for a website

So, what is the magic formula a web copywriter uses to create a great Home page?

I don’t know about other web copywriters, but this is my formula for a great Home page.

1: Start with a great headline

Along with images, your headline is probably the first thing visitors will see. If it doesn’t grab their attention quickly, there is a high probability that they will read no further and click to another site. You don’t want that.

Legendary direct-response copywriter Joe Sugarman’s philosophy is simple: a headline’s sole purpose is to get the reader to read the first line of the copy. I agree.

So, how is this done? Here are some points to consider:

  • Communicate a pain you can ease or a benefit you can provide (pain is usually more powerful). Don’t bore visitors with features; instead,  tell them what you can do for them!
  • Incorporate your unique sales proposition (USP). If you are different to your competitors, make this clear.
  • Keep your headline brief. If you need more words, try writing a subheading below the main headline.

From a Google-search perspective, it also pays to include a key word in the heading. I’ll discuss this later.

Talk directly to your target audience

Write in first person like you are talking to your visitor face to face and use their language. This will enable you to build a rapport and make a stronger connection.

Be relevant

Write about what your audience is interested in. Like in your headline, discuss a pain or benefit that you can ease or provide. It’s all about showing that you understand your customers and can provide solutions.

I hate Home pages that begin with, “We’ve been in the business of providing superior-quality widgets since 1978….” Who cares? Visitors just want to know that you can solve their problem!

Navigate

If you offer more than one product or service, visitors will quite likely be looking for a particular service/product page. For this reason, the purpose of your Home page is not to sell, but to navigate.

A great way to direct visitors to the pages they seek is with internal links. So, for example, if they want to buy red widgets, you could have a link at the beginning of your copy on the words red widgets, which sends them directly to the red widget page. Once they have arrived, you then can go for the sale.

Easy navigation is facilitated by scan able copy: bold headings, short sentences, bullet points, different colours and fonts and no waffle. Don’t confuse your visitors with too much information.

Show credibility

Let’s face it, these days, any Tom, Dick or Harry can build a website and call themselves a “business.”  For this reason, show visitors  that you are legitimate and can be trusted. Testimonials are a good way to do this and, if appropriate for your industry, it might also be a good idea to include photos of you or your employees.

Allow for Google

As a copywriter, I sometimes struggle with this; however, in order to attract Internet traffic it is important to allow for the all mighty Google. With this in mind, include key words on your Home page: in the main heading and throughout the content. Be careful, though: cramming key words into your copy will do more harm than good. This article explains why.

I usually identify two unique key words and include each of them two or three times. Because a key function of your Home page is to direct visitors to other parts of your website, your key words should summarise what your website is all about.

Make sure your Home page looks professional

Make sure your content is written professionally. If there are spelling and grammatical errors, it doesn’t put your business in a good light. Always get a fresh set of eyes to check your content before it goes live because it is easy to miss your own mistakes. For this, consider hiring a proofreader or even get a colleague to check it.

So, this is my formula for writing a Home page. Have I missed anything? What do you think?

  1. Hi Andrew. Thanks for putting this together, it’s a great summary. The timing is good for me too because my website is finally being sorted. As a copywriter I’ve had discussions with people about whether to put links (to other pages) in body copy or somewhere else on the page. Some people think it prevents your reader from finishing a paragraph. What do you think?

    1. Thanks for your feedback, Michael. I think links are important on your Home page. This is because the Home page is all about directing the visitor to where they want to go. I do, however, think they can often be counter productive on product or services pages because on these you want the visitor to focus on what you’re offering and make a commitment. Having said this, a link to your About page can be useful to reassure visitors about your credibility before making a commitment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *