In today’s world, having a website for your small business is crucial. It’s like having a virtual storefront where your customers can easily access your products and services. And just like in a physical store, your website’s home page acts as your digital storefront. Therefore, it’s important to make sure that the essential elements are present on the first page of your website.
Prior to even starting your site, be sure to define who is your target market (also known as target audience, key client, ideal client) and what their problem they’re trying to solve when they come to you.
What does Above and Below the Fold Mean?
Firstly, let’s talk about above and below the fold. Above the fold refers to the area of a web page that is visible without scrolling. It’s the first thing that visitors will see when they land on your website. In contrast, below the fold refers to the area that is not visible until users scroll down the page. The fold is like a digital window; everything above the fold is visible to the user without any extra effort. While everything below the fold requires a bit more user interaction.
Now that we’ve defined what the fold is let’s talk about why it’s essential to your website design. The content and design elements located above the fold are the most crucial pieces of your website. If you don’t grab visitor’s attention immediately, they may leave your site before they even get a chance to explore it fully. Therefore, it’s critical to ensure that your above the fold content provides a clear, concise, and captivating message that encourages visitors to stay on your site.
So let’s take a look at some of the essentials that you should have on your home page:
Clear and Concise Headline
Within 3 seconds, your website needs to tell visitors what your business has to offer. Your website’s headline is the first thing visitors will see, and it should clearly state what your business does. It should be short, catchy, and easy to read and is usually in the ‘above the fold’ area. Avoid jargon and stick to using simple language.
This sub headline should supplement the headline by offering a brief description of what you do or what you offer. Commonly done effectively by zeroing in on a common pain point that your product or service solves.
A picture is worth a thousand words, and this is true when it comes to your website. Your homepage should include high-quality visuals that keep visitors engaged. Choose images that match the tone and style of your business, and make sure they’re relevant to your products or services. They can be used to capture emotion, drive action and visually tell the story.
Further to visuals – don’t forget to include your logo! This should be ideally located somewhere at the top (above the fold!) and will continue to help visitors recognise your brand and get a sense of your professionalism.
A call-to-action (CTA) is a button or link that encourages your visitors to take a specific action, like signing up for a newsletter, buy a product or dig deeper into your website. CTAs should be strategically placed on your homepage, and they should clearly state what action you want visitors to take. Make sure that the CTA stands out (consider a contracting colour whilst still fitting the overall theme) and is easy to spot. Keep it simple and no more than 5 words and of course – action-oriented eg: Sign up, Try for free, Make an appointment. Learn more about CTA’s here.
Your website’s navigation menu should be easy to use and understand. Visitors should be able to find what they’re looking for in just a few clicks. It’s best to keep your navigation menu simple and organised. Include links to your main pages, like About, Services, Blog, and Contact.
About Us Section
The About Us section of your website is where you can introduce your story and showcase what makes your business unique. This is a great opportunity to build trust with your visitors and show them why they should choose your business over your competitors.
Product / Services Section
The product and services section on your home page provides a clear and concise summary of your offerings, making it easier for visitors to quickly understand what your business has to offer. Think of your product and services section as a virtual storefront, enticing visitors to step inside and learn more about your business. It doesn’t necessarily have to show the visitor everything you have so consider your top 3-5 products or services you offer and be sure to give them the option to navigate to either purchase or navigate further within your site.
Reviews / Social Proof Section
When customers land on your website, they are looking for reasons to trust your brand. Positive customer reviews are an excellent way to demonstrate your business’s credibility and reliability. Visitors want to see that your products and services have worked for people like them before.
Social proof is another powerful indicator of trust (like reviews). You can also include a few of your best (short) quotes on the homepage (and link further to case studies if needed). Adding a name and photo gives these and reviews more credibility.
Good customer reviews/social proof reassure visitors that they are not taking a big risk by doing business with you. Ultimately, this can lead to increased sales conversions and customer loyalty.
Often when people first visit your site, they are not quite ready to buy…yet. For visitors looking for more information, offer a link to a resource page where they can browse further information. Also offering a free download can also be a way to continue to establish your credibility in your industry as you are sharing your knowledge with them whilst building trust.
In addition to the social proof and reviews, awards and recognition can also help inspire a good first impression. Let your visitors know of your accomplishments as it’ll give your business more credibility to those who don’t know who you are.
Visitors should be able to easily understand how they go about contacting you – a phone number in the header of your site is ideal for those who prefer to the use the phone and for those that prefer email, have an email icon or link to your contact form.
Having a well-designed homepage is essential for the success of your small business website. Your site’s first page is like a digital storefront, and it should be inviting, informative, and user-friendly. By including a clear headline, eye-catching visuals, strategic CTAs, an organised navigation menu (to name a few!) you’re giving your website visitors an excellent first impression of your business.
Remember it can take a minimum of 8 touches (where they’ve seen your business on different platforms, searches etc) for a person to covert. Keep showing up is important at the start. Even when it feels like you are talking to crickets.
So go ahead, take a closer look at your homepage and make sure you have all the essential elements in place. Your customers will thank you!
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