Home page design isn’t just about headers, content, and footers. It is about asking the right questions and making sure those questions apply to your website visitors. It’s about finding solutions to problems and bringing it together within a cohesive design.
Have You Ever Wondered?
- How do I make my website memorable?
- How do I make sure people stick when they hit my home page?
- How do I make sure website visitors dig into my content and explore my product or service offering?
- How do I make sure website visitors take a moment to reach out to us by email, phone, or inquiry form?
If you read those questions and thought “yes that is exactly what I want to ask” then know you’re not alone. I know a lot of people, marketing departments, and companies who all wonder the same about the design and function of their website.
If you take a step back and read through the list, you’ll notice all the questions included I or me. None of them focused on the visitor.
Best Practice in Home Page Doesn’t Include Me or I
Best practice in home page design is about website visitors, their needs, and their wants. It isn’t about an idea that is cool or something you may have seen on four other websites. It is about your target market, what they need, and how your offering can help.
We receive a number of inquiries each day from people who’d like us to help create a new website or update their existing website. In most cases the inquiries go a little like this:
- I am inquiring to see if I can get a price for you to redo our current website. Please have a look at the link to website provided and get back to me.
- We are considering upgrading our website. Are you able to help us?
- I would like a website that looks exactly like XYZ.com. Can you create that for me?
- I would like my website to be more professional, can you please help?
- Can you look at my website and tell me what needs to change?
- I know my website is a mess and I’d like you to clean it up.
A lot of individuals and organizations tend to design websites according to their own needs or they base it on a website they’ve visited and liked. Or, in more recent years, they think of a cool internet marketing idea and want to implement it.
All of this is fine, but what they many times fail to do is compare this idea or need for update to what their website visitors need and want. I’ve found this is especially true if the website is brand-new and the idea is referred to as “cool.”
Have You Ever Asked Yourself?
- Who comes to my website?
- Are these visitors all similar or are they broken up into groups (website personas)?
- What problems do these people have and what issues are they trying to solve?
- Can my product or service offering solve these problems?
- What content do I have that can best articulate my solution and provide assistance?
- What next step should the website visitor take so I can help solve their issues?
- How can the visitor and I stay in touch with each other?
- Can the visitor easily contact me?
What we’ve done is simply take the original questions and redirect them so they are more focused on the visitor. This task is easy, but many times overlooked.
Now take those above questions and apply them to your existing website. How does your website answer those questions? If it doesn’t, it is time for a refresh.
What Should You Consider in Your Website Refresh?
There are lots of elements that go into the core design of a website. I’m not talking about each and every page. Instead I’m referring to the main design elements, home page, header and footer.
Below is a list of some website design elements we review, discuss, and plan for in early stages of our projects:
Elements of a Website Header:
- Social media icons and/or references
- Search box
- Primary navigation menu (core destinations)
- Secondary navigation menu (secondary destinations such as account or login)
Elements of the Core Home Page:
- Rotator or static image
- Site introduction or overview
- Featured content
- Persona call out and directions for movement
- Call to actions
- Promotions and/or deals
- Recent blog posts
- Upcoming events
Elements of a Website Footer:
- Widgets for lists to core content
- Contact information
- Site navigation to sitemap, policies, terms and conditions
- Disclaimers or legal notices
That’s a lot stuff right? Yes it is and why I don’t expect new clients to have answers for all of the items in the list, it would be great if they’ve thought through some of it and how each would provide assistance for their target market and visitors.
If they haven’t, I’m happy to walk through it with them and dissect the different elements and how they can help provide solutions for visitors.
Web Design is a Puzzle
I recently had a friend tell me that I’m a fan of puzzles. I’ve never believed that to be the case, but once I thought about it for a minute, I knew he was spot on. I do like puzzles. Thinking back in time I remember spending endless hours with the Rubik’s Cube, Missing Link, and the Pyraminx Pyramid Puzzle. I solved all three and to the surprise of my parents, I mastered the Rubik’s Cube rather quickly.
As an adult I still like puzzles, but now I like puzzles with a purpose.
I fell in love with SEO years ago because it was a puzzle. Trying to figure out what the search engines wanted and how it would alter ranking was fun. Google has become a lot more transparent, so the puzzle is no longer as challenging. As such, it has completely removed the fun factor for me.
My love for puzzles is now focused on website design. For me, the puzzle is understanding our client’s target market, their visitors’ needs, their offering, and then making it all come together through website design. That puzzle changes with each new client and each new website. It stays fun each and every time.
If you’d like me to help with your puzzle, just reach out to us and let us know how we can help.
We’ll start with a whole lot of questions and then we’ll put the pieces together as we design your new home page.
Dear Rebecca! That’s right! I’m 60 years old, accountant, tax adviser profession. About 15 years ago I started building web page needs to be addressed. I still have the FrontPage program. Changed the world. Google began to appreciate the WordPress-based websites. Template, I was looking for a theme. You – Kathryn – I find you to be the best. I myself, in addition to my job, I live entertainment almost at the website of our own development. With joy “to work.” Take advantage of WordPress, Web Savvy Marketing is a live, long live the Balance of Tax 2000th fun!
Rebecca Gill says
Glad you found our Kathryn theme and it was helpful. I love building solution based stock WordPress themes. They are just another piece of the home page puzzle I like so much. =)
Steven Lennis says
Thanks for the post. It was nice to have you give your thoughts about this. I for one, am very happy that Google is becoming more transparent. I long for the day when everybody stops designing for the search engines, and starts designing for a great user experience, and by having original, organic content.
Rebecca Gill says
I agree. The more website orders design and develop for the user, the better off they will be. SEO is still important, but it can never trump the ultimate user experience.