Let’s talk about home page text. Home pages can be a bit tricky because the page not only has to do its own job but it also has to support a group of second-level pages.
Here are some tips on how to approach writing home pages…whether a site has a total of 5 pages or 500 pages.
1. Use your main home page headline to communicate your site’s underlying value proposition.
This is the most important aspect. When first-time visitors arrive at the website, they are there with a purpose in mind. They are looking for something particular.
The job of your main headline is to quickly and clearly communicate the primary value proposition of your site.
For the sake of this article, let’s look at a local website that compares moving companies in Portland called Moving Feedback.
Its main home page headline is simply: Moving Companies Portland
It’s clear, concise and lets the visitor know immediately what the company has to offer.
2. Use a short introductory text to further clarify and expand on your headline.
Of course, not every value proposition can be communicated completely in just a few words. If your business offers a number of different service or product categories, it is better to keep your headline simple. You can then use a short introductory text to expand on your message and to clarify it.
This text can go directly beneath the headline so that there is a natural flow from one to the other. Don’t make your visitors have to search for this clarifying message.
Back to our company in Portland. Its clarifying message reads:
It clearly explains its services and beckons the visitor to stay on the page after assuring them that it will satisfy their needs.
3. Help visitors find exactly what it is they are looking for.
Unless you offer a single product or a single service, your website is going to have to help people find the deeper-lever pages that best satisfy their interest.
If 85% of your visitors simply go to just two or three of your second-level pages first, make sure that links to these pages are easy to find on your home page.
Although this may seem obvious, some home pages are often cluttered with too many unnecessary links.
Use the navigation links to deliver access to all areas of your site. However, it is smart to create a feature of the links that best answers the needs of the majority of visitors.
4. Welcome your first-time visitors and make them feel comfortable.
Unless you are already a nationally recognized brand, first-time visitors will feel unsure about you when they first visit your website. They will need some reassurance. Essentially, they need to know that you are trustworthy. And that you can provide them with precisely what they need. There are several ways to build trust, including using various third-party seals from organizations such as the Better Business Bureau Online.
Yet a significant factor in trust-building will be the tone of your headline and other text on the page. Do not think of your home page as a sales page. The selling will take place a few levels beyond. Instead, it is a clear welcome message. Avoid the hype; write clearly, simply and honestly.