By Debbie Williams published June 1, 2011

Not Sure What to Feature on Your Home Page? 4 Ideas to Get You Focused

Your website content is your personal greeting to potential or existing customers. Think of it as your front desk, your introduction and an opportunity to connect with someone you haven’t even met. When your company offers a variety of products and services, it can be a challenge to get just the right message across on your home page. A focused message not only explains what you can do for people, but grabs their attention and makes them want to learn more.

Here are a few important ways to streamline your message and create welcoming home page content to get customers through the front door (virtual and actual).

Cater the content to the user

Your home page content should focus on your customers’ needs and what you can offer them. It shouldn’t be all about you or proclamations of being the “the best in the business.” Think about your home page from your potential customers’ point of view, and make sure it answers the all-important questions:

  • What is in it for me?
  • What does this company offer that will make my life easier?
  • How can I get involved, participate, or purchase?

Remember, your website is your 24/7 online sales team working around the clock to offer information, answer questions and hopefully sell your products and services.

Gaiam is a great example of a company that understands how to cater home page content to users. From the get-go, you know they are an eco-conscious company offering healthy lifestyle products from clothing and bedding to yoga mats and non-toxic cleansers.  Although the company’s website offers a variety of products and information,  it’s easy to find what you are looking for and clearly breaks information out by customer need.

Be focused and concise

Remember, you only have about three seconds to grab someone’s attention on your home page and make him or her want to know more. Because of this, your website content needs to get to the point from the start. Don’t try to tell your entire company story on the home page. This may be important to you, but it’s a better fit for the About Us section.  Focus on your most important products or services, deals or offers and include calls to action. Don’t be afraid to streamline. Talk to your audience and be laser focused on who you are trying to reach.

Method does a great job of incorporating specials and calls to action on the home page.  The home page also rotates out messaging that speaks directly to users.

Keywords aren’t always the key to opening the door

Lots of industry jargon and content stuffed with keywords isn’t going to make someone want to do business with you.

Make content scannable and easy to read using bulleted lists and graphical calls to action over chunks of copy filled with keywords. Repeating keyword phrases is not only obvious but boring to read, too. Imaging going to your favorite local wine store’s site and reading “Denver wine” over and over. You’d think, “I know, I know, already!” From those words, visitors can tell you’re a wine store and where you’re located, but they want to know what kind of wine you offer. Keep content fresh by choosing a different variety to highlight each month. Don’t forget to promote specials or events, and make sure customers know if you deliver.

Lure readers to other sections of your site

Try to engage readers on the home page by pulling them into other parts of your website.   Focus on at least three other areas of your website that potential customers would be drawn to.  Highlight special offers, new products or services, your blog or videos. You can also break products or services out by specific audience so those customers know exactly where to go.

A site that always gets me at “hello” (and buying new products) is Origins.  Its home page content is very enticing, virtually taking you by the hand to other sections of the site where you can check out new products, buy gifts, see real before and after photos and read expert Q&As.

Remember, your home page is important, but all of your site’s pages need to work together to weave a lovely path for visitors that will make them want to come back again and again. Home is where the heart is but every room should be memorable and serve a purpose.

People come to your site to get to know you and find out what you can do for them. Your home page content should be clear and easy to read while luring readers to open the front door.

How do you focus your home page content? Do you have any examples of great home page content you can share? We’d love to know what’s working for you.

Author: Debbie Williams

As co-founder of SPROUT Content, Debbie Williams is passionate about developing strategic, creative content that eloquently captures the spirit and emotion of brands through words. After more than 10 years of copywriting and creative marketing experience for global beauty brands and consumer goods companies, she now knows that content marketing is what she’s been doing all along. Follow her on Twitter @sproutcontent.

Other posts by Debbie Williams

  • http://twitter.com/CourtneyRamirez Courtney Ramirez

    Great article Debbie! I find myself saying “I know already!” a lot on the small business websites that I am working on. Keywords are important – but there *is* such a thing as overkill. I also liked the advice about weaving a path for your site visitors to follow.

    • Debbie

      Thanks Courtney! We find that many small businesses get redundant with website content but the key is to draw people in to the other areas of your site.

  • http://www.allurenewmedia.com Brody Dorland

    Great tips Debbie…The homepage is undoubtedly the hardest page to construct on a website. One of the key things that so many businesses (and even website designers/developers) forget is to define “key visitor tasks”. In other words, what are the 2-3 primary things that visitors are going to want to do or complete when they land on your homepage. And then what are the 2-3 things YOU want them to do or complete when they hit your homepage. Clearly defining, prioritizing and addressing those with your content and layout should play a HUGE role in the success of a homepage. 

    And like you said, if you can engineer your website content into clearly defined paths (conversion funnels/goals), your 24/7 sales team should start bringing home some serious bacon.

    • Debbie

      Great points. Defining the goals of your home page and defining your target audiences will create content that users find helpful and deliver better results for your business too. Thanks Brody! 

  • http://anyessays.com/writing/essays Essays

    Wish I had found this blog before today. The advices in this posts are very helpful and I surely will read the other posts of this series too.Thank you for posting this.

    • Debbie

      Thanks! So glad you found it useful.

  • http://twitter.com/brencournoyer Brendan Cournoyer

    Raised a good point here about stuffing your homepage with keywords. Most companies want their homepage to be found most often in search, yet in many cases that’s the page that will have the least amount of text to optimize. Just another reason why homepages are so challenging to design. But stuffing the text with keywords is never the answer, as you’ve noted.

    I’m always worning folsk against “writing for robots”, but the best example of how where having a more “people friendly” page is most important.

    • Debbie

      Exactly Brendan. We always say – write for people, not search engines. Keywords are important when used the right way, but they should fit in naturally into your content. Thanks for your input!

  • Ahava

    What would you say for a mobile home page?

  • The Lovely Plants

    Really useful website. I am subscribing it.

  • http://learnit2earnitwithlynn.com Lynn Brown

    Lots of wonderful tips and advice Debbie.  Keywords are important but also a clean and clear page is what will attract your visitors.  Im not into all the flashy stuff.  Just good content, easy on the eye and something to bring them back again.  I will be happy to share your post with my fans, followers and clients.

    • Debbie

      Thank you Lynn!  Happy to hear you found it useful.

  • Anonymous

    Great advice and examples for each point. What I really like about each of these is that they immediately speak to me – the imagery is relevant for the target audience, and the content clearly communicates how the products/brand will make life better. 

    If you can’t demonstrate that key point within a few seconds, people bounce. 

    • Debbie

      Thanks Gina. Content that connects with the audience is number one! Glad you liked the examples, they’re some of my favorites!

  • Axel

    Thanks for the tips; an easy to read article that I was just able to implement quickly.

  • Austin Bollinger

    Great article. I was researching this for a new blog post I’m writing for Element 74, a web design company in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. I would like to quote and link to you if that’s okay.

  • stuart

    just in beginning of setting up my website for a new little company and this website/info is gold, thanks, Stuart stuart.nielsen@podhospitality.com