How a website writer writes a Home page
The Home page is pretty important — every website has one. In many cases, it’s the page that visitors land on first. So, it’s vital that it sets a good first impression. I compare a website’s Home page with a business’ reception area — both should portray a business as welcoming and professional.
In this post I explain how to write a Home page for a website. If you find this useful please share. I’d also appreciate your comments.
If you walked into a business off the street you will likely have some of these questions:
- Am I in the right place?
- I’m looking for an ABC widget, do you sell them?
- I want to know more about your ABC widgets
- I understand you sell ABC widgets, but I’d like to know a bit more about your business before I buy?
- How can I buy an ABC widget?
A visitor to your Home page will be much the same — there could be any number of questions on their mind.
So, from the perspective of a website writer, what should you say? Is it the job of the Home page to answer all these questions? Well, actually no. What would be the point of having any more pages, otherwise?
The purpose of a Home page
So, what is the purpose of a Home page? In my mind it must perform three key functions:
- welcome and confirm to visitors that they are in the right place
- explain, in a nut shell, what you do and why visitors should deal with you
- direct visitors to further information (I want to know more about your ABC widgets, etc.).
1: Welcome and confirm
This function is largely covered by the imagery on the page. However, there are some techniques a website writer employs.
- Tone — unless you want to portray a formal tone, I recommend your copy be written in first person. So, rather than, “Joe Bloggs Law provides customers affordable legal services”, you should write, “I provide my customers affordable legal services.” First person is more direct and welcoming.
- Use the language your clients’ would use — don’t try to be clever or superior by using language your clients wouldn’t use or even understand. Imagine you are standing in front of them having a conversation. This will provide assurance that you are the right people to be dealing with.
It is here that web writers must know their stuff.
The first place to start is the headline. A headline has a dual purpose:
- to get the reader to read the rest of the copy and explore your website — include a key benefit or problem you can solve
- support your SEO efforts — include a keyword for search engines, like Google.
Some writers believe you should spend up to 80% of your time on the headline; it’s that important. I can’t say I spend that long, but I certainly put a lot of thought into them. For more information on headlines, visit Word Works.
You should also clearly and succinctly explain what you do and what your key selling point (s) is.
Navigation is often aided by links to other pages in the side bars of your Home page or in tabs above. However, I often include links within the text to make navigation easier. For example, you might write, “To learn more about us, please visit our About page.”
How long should a Home page be?
As a rule, a Home page should be 25% information and 75% reassurance. So, it doesn’t require a lot of words. Remember: explain, confirm and direct. That’s what it has to do. Most of the Home pages I write are somewhere between 200 to 300 words.
Did you find this useful? If so, please share. I also welcome your comments.