If a customer drives to your brick and mortar store, gets out of their car, and walks towards your shop door, chances are they will at least browse through your items for sale. If a customer opens your website in a browser, he or she can exit that site in less than a second. This is especially true if they found your site through Google, which also lists hundreds of other sites related to yours that are just as easy to access.
Since you literally have less than one second to impress your customers, spending a little time tweaking your homepage to look as professional and usable as possible is in order. Here are a few tips to ensure your homepage helps convert visitors into buyers:
1.) Include a tagline with a brief summary of what your company does. Be sure that this is in a font that anyone could read.
2.) Use stock graphics sparingly. Your homepage graphic is the first thing your customers will notice on your site. Shouldn’t it fully encompass everything your store is about? Use this graphic to show how your product or service offers value or sets you apart from competitors. A customer should be able to tell what you sell just by looking at your home page without scrolling below the fold. This means a customer shouldn’t have to scroll at all to see pertinent information, so use this real estate wisely.
3.) Put your phone number somewhere within the template itself. A good place for a phone number is the upper right hand corner. The template is written in css and is the frame of your site. If you put your phone number within your template, your customer will not have any issues contacting you, which can help close sales.
4.) Include plenty of whitespace. Whitespace doesn’t have to be white—it is just the term for blank space on your site. Modern design dictates that less is more. Design is meant to accentuate the content of a page, so design overkill can really overwhelm your customer.
5.) Use soft, neutral colors for your background. Again, less is more. Scaring away a customer because they think your website background is obnoxious really isn’t worth it.
6.) Don’t overwhelm your customer with navigation menus. What does a customer truly need to see right away, and what can you tuck further into your site simply by using intuitive navigation? Your customer doesn’t need to see all of your inventory—they just need to trust your site as well as get a good sense of what you sell.
7.) Don’t forget to include keywords on your homepage. There is a fine balance between being user friendly and SEO friendly. Look at your search logs to see what people truly want to find on your site. Use keyword tools to see what consumers are searching. You can find more tips for this process by reading these tips for choosing the right keywords.
8.) Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback. If you are a Volusion customer, you can ask for feedback using the “Review My Site” section. If not, there are many good forums on the web that have similar sections.
Don’t let your homepage design become a barrier to more sales. Want some ideas? To find some good examples of modern homepage design, check out this article on Web 2.0 design from Website Design from Scratch.