Writing your own home page

CopywritingHere’s an edited extract from my upcoming new book: ‘The Little Fish Guide to Writing your own Website':

Unwelcome

Don’t start ‘Welcome to my website’ – it’s dated and unnecessary. Instead, make your main heading keyword-rich to help your site get found on search.

In my view, your home page copy should be about your customers more than it is about you, so they know they’ve landed in the right place.

So, what should you make clear on your home page? At-a-glance, who it’s for. One technique is the question-and-answer approach i.e.

NO: ‘We are X, based in Y and we specialise in Z’.

YES: ‘Looking for A, B or C? You’ve come to the right place.’

Newsletters/Tipsheets

On your home page, the main objective might be to capture the email address of your site visitors. They have shown enough interest to land on your home page in the first place – whether it’s thanks to your offline marketing or your SEO efforts. If they are not going to buy immediately, at least you can keep messaging them every week or month or six weeks (if you can’t send something at least that often, there’s no point), and then they might buy later.

In return for them signing up for your newsletter or tipsheet, you have to incentivise them with something – for example, a free ebook, white paper or downloadable report.

Make the signup process easy. Use a form that asks only for their first name and email address (the more data you request, the less likely people are to give it to you). Reassure them you won’t sell their information, and note that the standard position for your signup box is the top of the right side bar.

Sub-pages

More than any other, your home page should answer ‘What’s In It For Me?’ from the customer’s point of view, and direct them where to go next in your site. Let them know they’ve landed in the right place, that you understand their needs or can solve their problem.

So the next objective is to get site visitors to click through to your sub-pages. Make it clear where you want them to go. This can be done as a big bold call to action in the footer, the middle of the page or (vertically) in the right hand panel.

Guarantee

Your home page is also where you can include a guarantee to take away the risk – for example, ‘100% money back if not satisfied, no questions asked’. Make sure it’s unmissable.

Embedding

To keep your home page content fresh, you can embed your Twitter feed, Facebook likes, review ratings and/or blog headlines. When people visit the site they can see it’s current, and Google likes it because it’s constantly updated.

Please let me know if you’d like a link when the new book is launched.

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