Your homepage is a pretty big deal. Check out this installment of Getting Started with Volusion to see how to take control of your homepage and make it as effective as possible.
If your ecommerce site is like the majority of websites out there, your homepage will probably be your most landed-on page (by a pretty wide margin). This makes knowing how to edit and update your homepage is an important step in leading your store to success. In this post, we’ll look at how you can determine which products are displayed on your homepage, how you can edit other content and three homepage best practices to get the ball rolling.
Let’s start with how to change the products displayed on your homepage:
Displaying products on your homepage
By default, your homepage displays a random assortment of your featured products, both to engage your customers and to showcase some of your best products. (In order to mark products as featured, go to the product’s page, scroll down to Advanced Info, select Product Display, then find Feature Product on the Homepage and select Home Featured.) However, you always have the option to display different products, and even control the format they’re displayed in.
To edit which products appear on your homepage, head to your store admin, go to the top nav and select Design > Product Display Settings. Then select Home Page: Featured from the left nav menu to see more options. If you’d like featured products to be displayed, check the Enable Featured Products box and save. If you’d like to change the format the products will be displayed in, look at Product Display Mode and select your preferred format from the drop down menu.
The formats in which products can be displayed are:
- Single Rows: Lists each product in a single row
- List: Displays products within a compact list, without a product image
- Lightweight Grid: Displays products in a compact grid layout, as seen on Rosenthal and Sun & Ski’s homepages
Which of these formats you choose will depend largely on how many products you’d like to feature, as well as how many other images you have on your homepage. Feel free to experiment between them and see which one works best with your current design. If you choose the Lightweight Grid, you can specify the number of Display Columns and Rows, with a maximum of 100 displayed products. The rest of the page then lets you control what product information shows up, which you can determine by selecting Y or N in each dropdown menu.
Additionally, if you’d like to showcase more than just your featured products, the Super Deal, Top Sellers and New Products tabs in the left nav menu each contain a checkbox that enables these kinds of products to have their own section on the homepage as well.
Adding and editing images, text and other HTML content
But what about pictures and text? If you’d like to create or edit these kinds of content on your homepage, find the Design tab in your store admin’s top nav and select Site Content from the drop-down menu. On this page, you’ll see a list of all the articles in your store, as well as their content. (In this case, “articles” means fields where you can fill in content for a page.)
Articles are grouped according to Category, and article information is organized by the ID, Web Page, Spotkey and Article Content columns. Here’s what each of these column headings mean:
- ID: This is a unique, computer-generated number created for every article so the system can differentiate it from the others. Please note that you can’t change this number.
- Web Page: The Web Page column refers to which page this particular article is located on.
- Spotkey: Since there is often more than one article per page, the Spotkey is the exact location of that article on a page.
- Article Content: This is where you can see what the article content currently is. Note that article content isn’t limited to just text. You can use the built-in HTML Editor to add formatting, images, hyperlinks, and more.
To start editing your homepage, scroll down the page list and find the Home / Welcome Pages heading. Once there, you’ll see the six articles located on your homepage. You can identify them by looking at the Web Page column, because all homepage articles will have Default.asp listed.
To access a specific article, just click its ID number, make your changes and remember to hit Save.
3 homepage best practices
Now that you know the basics of creating and editing your homepage, let’s cover three best practices that will help you use this page most effectively.
Here are some ways to make your homepage one of your largest assets:
1. Make your products the focus
Your customers are here to see the goods, so don’t keep them in suspense! Keep your products front and center with a big, beautiful homepage image that utilizes high quality photos of your wares. If you’re looking for a few examples of how this can be done, check out our Custom Design showcase.
Another thing you may want to consider is having a product-centered slideshow. This dynamic option is especially useful if you have multiple products you’d like to spotlight, or several discounts you’d like to promote.
2. Don’t overload your page
Online shoppers have notoriously short attention spans. In fact, when a customer lands on your homepage, they’ll scroll down about three times and either stay or bounce right after. That means your message needs to be as attractive, streamlined and simple as possible. Otherwise, customers will be overwhelmed and quickly decide to search for a store that doesn’t leave them puzzled.
One pointer that can help simplify your homepage is to avoid talking too much about your business. People respond much better to images than text, so you’ll want your homepage to be mostly image-based. Plus, when it comes to learning about your store, they can always check out your About Us page.
3. Keep it relevant
This is probably one of the biggest tips, as well as one you hear pretty often, but update your homepage frequently. Whether it’s a new season or an upcoming holiday, you don’t want your store to fall behind. Fresh homepages show your business is aware and engaged with what’s going on your customers’ lives, which can help build brand loyalty and present your store in the best light possible.
Homepages are a big part of your ecommerce site, so don’t let them go to waste. By creating, editing and updating their content, you’re not only giving your customers a better shopping experience, but helping your store be as successful as possible.
-Gracelyn Tan, Volusion