The 5 Most Important Goals of Homepage Design

Though you may not judge a book by its cover, you can bet that your customers are judging your online store by its homepage design. Our Two Minute Tuesday this week focuses on making your site as compelling as it can be.




Additionally, Volusion customers have an array of expertly-designed templates at their fingertips, so your site can always be ahead of the curve. Now get out there and start making your homepage rock!

About 

Matt Winn is Volusion’s Senior Brand Manager, where he helps oversee the organization’s branding and communications efforts. Matt has created hundreds of articles, videos and seminars on all things ecommerce, ranging from online marketing to web design and customer experience. Beyond being a certified nerd, Matt is an avid college football fan, enthusiastic home cook and a self-admitted reality TV junkie.

13 Responses to “The 5 Most Important Goals of Homepage Design”

  1. Serge Vilmar

    Hi Matt,
    I am hoping you can give me feedback on my home page, which I know needs work.
    Thanks,
    Serge Vilmar
    3R Inkjets and Toners, LLC
    404-688-7277

    Reply
    • Anjuli Desai

      Hi Serge,

      Thanks for reaching out to us to get some feedback on your website design. The best sites are constantly improving and testing what works, so I’m glad to hear you’re working to improve your design. I really like how clean your site is. It feels uncluttered and easy to navigate and shop. I would suggest taking some time to adjust some of the spacing of things on your site. For example, the “free shipping” and phone number could be moved up a bit to more closely align with the search bar, thus reducing some of the empty space in the header. I would also consider reducing the space between the bottom of the slideshow and the welcome text. Also for consistency, I would suggest making the eagle slide the same height as the other slides.

      Beyond that, maybe you could incorporate some more of your brand colors (red, yellow, blue) throughout the site. Maybe make your add to cart button red and all links the same consistent blue color. By just using your brand colors and keeping elements consistent, you’ll be well on your way to creating a branded, polished site.

      If you ever need any assistance, the designers here at Volusion are always here to help.

      All the best,
      Wes Asbell
      Sr. Web Designer

      Reply
  2. Jay Jayasuriya

    Hi Matt, thank you for taking time to look at our site ww.freelanddigital.com and give us valuable feedback. We will definitely take your advice and make some changes. Keep those awesome content and videos coming!

    Thanks!
    Jay Jayasuriya – Lead Developer
    Twitter: @JayJayasuriya
    Tel: 877.369.7324 | jjayasuriya@freelanddigital.com
    Visit our store @ http://www.FreelandDigital.com
    “Honesty is the best policy” – Benjamin Franklin

    Reply
  3. Jay Jayasuriya

    Hi Matt,
    Thanks for the pro tips. I always enjoy your videos and the articles posted on the Volusion blog and Social Media. Could you please take a look at our site http://www.freelanddigital.com and give us your opinion? We joined Volusion about an year ago and went with a pro template, but we’ve done a lot of re-design and customizing in house to match our needs. We are currently in the process of adding thousands of new products and always working hard to give our customers the best buying experience possible.

    Thanks

    – Jay Jayasuriya

    Reply
    • Matt Winn

      Hi Jay,

      You’re very welcome! Glad you find the videos helpful and appreciate you watching them. Happy to take a quick look at your site – for the sake of simplicity, I’ll stick with your homepage since it relates to the video at hand:

      Overall, I think your homepage is very clean and does a nice job inviting customers to dig deeper into your site, which is the entire goal of the homepage, so nice work there. I also like the slideshow that you’ve incorporated, but am curious to know why you’ve opted to not let it take the full width of the template. I see that you’ve got callouts to join your community, look at quantity discounts, search daily deals, etc., which are all good things – my question to you, however, is: what is the primary call to action? While all of the information is good, I think you could streamline the customer experience by having fewer CTAs so shoppers know exactly what to do.

      Also, once you scroll down the page, I think you’ve done a great job of introducing popular categories of your online store, but might recommend reducing the number of items listed in your “New Arrivals” section. Looks like you currently have 16 across 4 large rows, which lends to a lot of scrolling. Might be worth considering taking that down to 4 or 8 products to make things more digestible.

      At the end of the day, your homepage should come down to three things: 1) Is it giving the perfect first impression of your brand and what it represents? 2) Is it driving traffic to key pages within your site? and 3) What are your analytics telling you (bounce rates, time on page, etc.)

      Hope this helps!
      -Matt

      Reply
  4. Matt Winn

    Hi Eric, thanks for the insight. Definitely true that customers can enter a merchant’s website across a variety of pages, which greatly reinforces the importance of high quality web design, great content, and on-point merchandising, both on the homepage and off.

    Reply
  5. Eric Sharp

    Hey Matt,

    Doing a little research for my own blog, stumbled upon this post, and just thought I’d point out something.

    In your abstract, you suggested: “Since your homepage is the first thing your customers see”…

    I think it’s important to educate people that “your homepage is not your homepage”. A user could most certainly enter a website through various pages (services page, product detail page, blog post, etc.) via multiple channels (Search Engine, Social, External Link)

    So, in all actuality, the very first page someone could see is NOT their homepage. If your site is large, that could be hundreds to thousands of different entry points.

    You bring up some great points with your video that certainly are relative to the bigger picture design (e.g. credibility). However, I’ve seen this time and time again with prospects thinking (all users come to the website via the homepage first) and all it takes is a simple adjustment in their thinking for it to click.

    That’s all! Keep writing! Keep it cranking! Hope my feedback helps.

    Cheers!

    Reply
  6. Kym

    Hi Matt, we have had our e-commerce site up with Volusion for about 2 months now and I must tell you, I am totally lost. We really need some guidance and am wondering if you can recommend a book on building e-commerce sites that I can refer to as I continue to try to figure this out. Volusion has many many good resources but I learn better if I have a book in one hand while working on the website. I have come across many e-commerce books but there are so many to chose from I am wondering if you can guild me here. Thanks

    Reply
    • Matt Winn

      Hi Kym, congratulations on your new site! Don’t worry about that feeling of being lost, it happens to everyone, especially with so many decisions to make. The good news is that you’re on the right track by reaching out for additional resources. We actually wrote a book that might be helpful – it’s called Ecommerce for Dummies and is a great pocket guide to walk you through the details of launching, designing and marketing your site. You can download a copy here: http://pages.volusion.com/ecommerce-for-dummies.html

      Also, if you need more Volusion-specific information, please check out our Getting Started Guide at http://support.volusion.com/setup/welcome-volusion and all of our support articles at support.volusion.com

      Best of luck with your new venture! Let us know how we can help further.

      Reply
  7. Mark

    Hi Matt,
    Great article on homepage design. Originally used one of your free templates, but needed to update to a more functional template- decided on one of
    your Premium templates “Fashionista” and worked with your design group
    on the changes. Since my site: http://www.uniqueorganization.com uses affiliate links for content what comments would you offer to improve the layout, content and SEO wording. Thank you for all your efforts.

    Reply
    • Nathan Joynt

      Hi Mark, thanks for your response. Your website appears very clean and professional but there are a few quick opportunities for better SEO. Beginning with your home page, do you know what keywords your home page ranks for currently? Or, do you know what you want it to rank for? Make sure your top keyword or key phrase is used first in your title tag and include more static copy on your home page to support that keyword and provide additional context for why your site visitors should purchase through your site rather than head over to the big box site. Do this exercise on your top nav category pages as well. You need unique, differentiating content on these pages. Obviously target different, relevant keywords on those pages than the home page.

      Talking long term now… One reason I would consider purchasing through you is because I’m convinced you are a professional in household organization and you can lend a very helpful hand in guiding me towards the right home organization solution for my unique needs. A long-term strategy would be to add your blog to your root domain (and off of blogspot.com) where you can talk about home organization best practices and go through the endless scenarios for which people seek home organization products. Here’s how to properly integrate a blog with your store. This type of helpful information where you are answering the needs and wants of your users will help you rank for long-tail keywords and you will increase traffic to your blog which you can then direct to your products. But it has to be helpful advice and unique content. It is an investment in writing content but it’s also an investment in your unique business’s success long-term because that content will compound over time and add authority to your brand. The ecommerce services team can help in many more ways too if you need us. I hope this helps!

      Reply
  8. Belinda

    Hi, http://www.biasboating.com.au homepage site design is terrible. We got it done by Volusion initially but when we got an SEO company to do some work they said requested on-site copy to go on the homepage to help with SEO. Can you take a look at this and advise if we did a redesign where this sort of copy should go? Apparently home page copy for keywords is essential?

    Reply
    • Matt Winn

      Thanks, Belinda. I ran your site by a senior SEO pro and they had the following feedback: “They should keep the keyword-rich text. It’s best for SEO and, in my opinion (and I ran this by two designers who agreed), with this type of design, it’s currently situated it in the most appropriate place. The text is discrete (below the fold) and isn’t impeding the shopping experience, yet is still available for search engines to crawl and index. The store template design is strong, but perhaps the slides could use some refreshing. A few of their current slides convey a lot of information, which may be creating clutter and affecting the site aesthetic as a whole. I recommend she take a look at the Design Webinar (https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/142103302) from last month, paying particular attention to the part about slideshows. I learned a lot from that webinar!”

      Reply

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