You have 3 to 5 seconds to grab your visitor’s attention when they land on your home page. If your headline is strong, they will stay a bit longer and read on to see what else on your site interests them. So just what do you NEED to have on your home page?
1. A strong headline – one that gets their attention and says that YOU are THE person and this is THE site that will solve their problem, answer their questions, provide expert advice or offers the best Whatever-You-Are-Selling on the planet!
2. A site introduction – This should be 2 or 3 paragraphs long. This text must explain your reason for existing, who can benefit from you, your site or your product, and what those benefits are. These paragraphs should be very concise and help the reader (your potential customer) understand clearly where he is (your site) and why he is visiting you (the info / assistance / product you offer).
3. What’s “new” and “improved” – People want to have and be a part of the latest, greatest and best. Don’t you? So make sure you keep your site updated with that information. It doesn’t have to be really big or very involved text but it does have to scream “don’t miss out on this!” A What’s New banner or button that advertises specials or provides this newest information will do wonders. (Be careful, however, not to make it just “eye candy” because people will figure out very quickly that you really don’t have anything much to say.)
4. Sign Up for My Newsletter form – This should be easy to find and simple. Just a first or first and last name and email address is all you need to ask for. Anything else will turn people off until they learn they can trust you. And while we’re talking about this – you should have this form or a click-through to this form on EVERY page of your web site. People will not spend time on your site looking for a place to sign up on your list. So a place to do this in a side column is ideal. And be sure it’s on the same place on each page so they will think they are missing something if they don’t fill in the form.
5. Your Contact Information – Your name or company name, physical address, telephone and fax numbers, and an email address (with a click-through that opens up a window on their computer to their email software). If you do not include this important information, you will immediately have no credibility with the reader. They will assume you are a fraud or afraid to say who you are.
6. A privacy statement – This is important; it tells visitors to your web site that you respect their privacy and will protect any information they share with you from being sold or rented or given away for others to use. Whatever information they give you is just between you and that person.
7. A copyright notice – Notice I did not say “copywrite.” A copyright (r-i-g-h-t) means that you own the name that you have given your site – it is a service mark. You should file a trademark registration if the name is available, just to protect your legal rights, so that no one else can use your name. Note: copywriting is the act or result of writing text. When you write something (as in every bit of text on your web site) you have been writing copy, or copywriting. This is not the same thing as a copyright.
8. Links to sales pages or shopping cart pages for your products and/or services. Be careful not to throw in a link in every other sentence. People will soon decide that all you want to do is sell them something. And even though that is ultimately your goal, your first purpose is to win their trust and get their name and email address so you can build on that trust.
9. If your home page IS your sale letter, that is a conversation for another blog post that I will put up in a day or two.
In the meantime, hang in there, stay the course, fix your eyes on your goal and keep marching forward.
To your great success!