What’s the purpose of a website home page?

You’re wandering through the mall, in need of a new pair of shoes. Walking around, you check out the shops from the walkway.

Hmmmm, that shop looks like it only has trainers and casual shoes – that’s not what you’re after!

And that shop looks far too pricey; keep walking, keep walking, don’t get tempted by those expensive shoes!

But ewwwww, that shop looks really cheap and nasty. You want better than THAT. Heck, there’s even a funny plasticy smell coming out of the doorway! Gross!

You keep walking round the mall, and finally you find a shoe shop that looks just right, and you find the perfect pair of shoes.

Notice what you’ve just done?

You’ve been making judgements on the shops without even setting foot inside them. You were quickly able to guess whether a shop is suitable or not just by looking at their window displays and into their open doorways.

A website home page is like a shop window

The home page is there to entice the right customers to enter.

Think about it in terms of the website user: they’ll be wondering if your business is the right company for them, in terms of products, services, culture, personality, and price.

In short: can your business fulfil their need? Do you have the right solution? And can they trust you?

The reader’s attention span is short

Not only does your website have to convince the reader to hang around – it has to do it very quickly. Website users have short attention spans and make snap decisions. In fact, you have just 5 seconds or less for your website to make a good first impression and to lure the prospect to read on.

It’s a bit like the shoe shop in the mall: you might wander in, thinking that the shop is the right one for you. But then you see the prices, and you walk out again.

Thus your website needs to make a good initial impression, and then earn the reader’s eyeballs for the next 50 seconds.

Yikes, that sounds like a lot for a home page to do!

Yes, your website home page has to work very hard indeed. So make sure that it:

  • Clearly identifies who your target customer is.
  • Demonstrates your understanding of your target customer’s key challenges.
  • Begins to hint at your solution… but don’t go into too much detail. (That’s the job of your Products or Services page.)
  • Sums up what’s unique about your business (i.e. why should they choose you, rather than a competitor?)
  • Conveys that your business is trustworthy and reliable.
  • Looks professional; is easy to use; and has an attractive design.

If you manage to do that successfully, you’ll have an attractive shop window that’ll attract your target customers.

Leaving you to sit back and admire your new shoes when you’re talking to the new clients your website has attracted. 😉