If Your Website Homepage Could Talk…
“Welcome to thiswebsite.com. Now that I’ve finally got you here, I suspect you’d like to understand our offerings. You can browse through our assortment of services by clicking on the menu bar at the top, or just let your eyes wander to our Key Activities that we’ve emphasized for your interest right here on the home page.
Be sure to check out the news items and assorted collateral to understand how big a company we really are. If you’ve enjoyed your experience, do spend 10 seconds or so entering your mail id for our database, as there’s more useful information we’d like to send you.”
Yes, I’m dramatizing. But if you’ve sat and pondered over what needs to be covered on a home page while creating the information architecture, then perhaps personifying your website could help.
If not, here are some other ways to get a hold over what goes on your home page.
Go to your objectives. The home is the first face, or window to the rest of the site. The objectives for the website therefore apply directly to the home page. So while the rest of your site must support your website objectives, your home must reflect them accurately. The sequence of importance in objectives will also give you both the priority of elements, for placement in your IA, as well as act as a checklist for you to ensure your home page is doing everything you expect it to do.
Look at your sitemap. Your next immediate layer (the ones that usually appear as your top menu) are gateways to more information. But if a person doesn’t enter, what would they miss? Scan through the pages of each sub-section. If a visitor never saw those pages, which objectives would be lost? You’ll then get an idea of what needs to be highlighted on the home page. You may find at time this won’t even be a page, but some information on a page, or a particular white paper that shows your product in good light.
Think company size. One of the first decisions a visitor wants to make when they see your home page is on company size. Overplaying a small company or inadequately representing a large one, are both mistakes that can send a visitor away. Try and be as accurate as possible while reflecting size. Large companies are reflected through press releases, quality white papers or industry reports by recognized experts, important case studies, or key partnerships. Small companies are seen through individual statements, internal news features, upfront contact information, etc.
Know your finish line. An email id? Software evaluation? A filled-in contact form? Figure out how you get a visitor from A to Z, in as few steps as possible. The answers could lead to some new ideas like an email entry box for a free whitepaper on the home page or an ad spot for a free 30-day product trial.
Give visitors what they want. If you’ve defined your target, you should be able to list out the top ten things they are looking for. Make sure the answers (or pointers to the answers) are available on your home page.
When creating the information architecture of a home page keep in mind that a visitor can instantly perceive when you’ve done your homework. And that perception does reflect on what they think of the company.
This article was first published on Ezine Magazine: http://ezinearticles.com/?If-Your-Home-Page-Could-Talk&id=524205