Is Your Home Page Turning People Away?
A recent XKCD comic (used with permission) pokes fun at university Web sites:
It's funny, but makes a serious point as well. I wonder whether your Web site's home page is making the same mistake? Are you giving people what they most want? Or is it all about you, full of graphics or so cluttered with stuff that people don't know where to start looking?
Here's a simple four-step process to help you write a better home page.
1. Identify your ideal site visitors.
Who do you most want visiting your Web site? Don't fall into the trap of trying to reach too wide a market. The tighter your niche, the more relevant and valuable your Web site will be.
- Partners of law firms who want their staff to become rainmakers
- Women who want to lose weight without dieting
- Gen Y employees who want to be taken more seriously in the workplace
- CEOs and business owners who are overworked, tired and stressed
- Parents who are worried about their kids getting into trouble on the Internet
As you can see from these examples, you're not just identifying who they are; you're also identifying their problem. It's the combination of the person and the problem that puts them in your niche, and makes them a prospective customer.
You might have more than one type of ideal visitor, and that's fine.
2. Understand their situation.
The next step is to understand where they are in the decision-making process, from "unaware" to "ready to choose a solution". You don't have to cater for everybody, but you do have to plan your Web site for those you decide to cater for.
For example, if you're teaching customer service skills, some businesses won't even be aware they need it. You have to decide whether these people fit in your target market. If they do, then your Web site has to first convince them they have a problem, and only then start talking about solutions.
On the other hand, they might be at the other end of the spectrum: They know they have a problem; they know how much it's costing them; they've evaluated a number of options; they might even have chosen you; and now they just want to know what services you offer. In this case, you need to give them a quick path to the facts.
3. Know your solution.
Next, you have to know what solutions you offer to their problems. This might seem obvious, because of course you know your products and services. But have you taken the time to clearly identify which problems they solve?
Products and services are not solutions! They only become solutions when the customer sees them as answers to their problems. Are you leaving it to them to figure it out? Don't! They don't have the time, and besides, that's your job, not theirs.
4. Lead them to it.
Finally, give them a clear path from your home page to the next page they need to visit, depending on who they are, what their situation is, and what solution you offer.
This is easy, provided you've done the first three steps. Here's an example:
Property Investors: Are you looking for a cash-flow positive property in a major city?
With our innovative property buying service, you work closely with one of our consultants to find high-yield properties throughout Australia.
Find out more ...
Notice how this identifies the ideal visitors (property investors looking for a particular type of property), shows you understand their situation (they have decided to use a property buying service, but just haven't chosen which one), knows which solution to offer, and leads them to it.
Were you expecting something more glitzy, more glamorous ... more expensive? Sorry it doesn't have a fancy animation, a spinning logo or flashing buttons! Those things don't sell - these four steps do!
How does your home page measure up?
Look at your Web site's home page with a critical eye, and check whether you're giving a clear path for each of your ideal site visitors. If not, change it!
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Gihan Perera is an Internet coach for speakers, trainers, consultants and other business professionals. He's the author of "Fast, Flat and Free: How the Internet Has Changed Your Business". Visit http://GihanPerera.com and get free e-books, webinars and more.
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