Want to strike fear into the heart of a brand-new online business owner? Ask them how to build a homepage that works for their online business.
It’s a true “deer-in-the-headlights” moment. Most people don’t have a clue what to include on this essential page!
And that’s a shame because your homepage is the “front door” for your online business website.
It’s a crucial element in the BUILD stage of Plan & Grow BIG, the method I developed to mentor online business owners.
In the BUILD stage, you’re focusing on building a home for your online business. Your homepage is the front door entrance to that home, so it’s crucial to build a homepage that helps you meet your business goals.
I’m happy to say that anyone can build a winning homepage.
It’s a matter of making sure your page does three essential jobs right.
I’ve got three ways for you to learn how to create a winning homepage:
- Read this article
- Watch my short video
- Download the handy checklist I made for you
Let’s get started!
Grab your checklist here …
Job #1: Build a homepage that features a high-impact website tagline
Visitors arrive on your site like they’re entering a cave on a bright, sunny day.
It takes a moment for their eyes to adjust to what they’re seeing. And they need an extra moment to orient themselves to the space you’ve built.
“Where am I?” they wonder. “What will I find here?” “Why should I stay?”
As the site owner, your #1 job is to make this transition fast and easy.
The way to do this is to feature a single line of text at the top of your homepage that states what your business does. It’s your website tagline.
Seems simple, doesn’t it?
But because this single line of text plays such a crucial role, it can feel daunting to come up with this sentence by yourself.
(Need help? My Business Name and Tagline micro-course includes guidance on crafting a tagline that you can use at the top of your website.)
How to write your website’s tagline
A few guides for writing a winning website tagline by yourself:
Imagine you’re explaining what you do to an 8-year-old. Keep your words extremely simple, and don’t rely on any prior knowledge. Avoid jargon at all costs!
Pare it down to the bare minimum. This is not the place to go into great detail about what you do and how you do it. Focus on how your customers benefit from your products or services and make your tagline about that.
Use a formula. When in doubt, use a simple formula like this, filling in your own information where there’s text in brackets:
[BUSINESS NAME] helps
[IDEAL CUSTOMERS] to
[DO/BECOME/ACHIEVE] so they can
[HOW IDEAL CUSTOMER BENEFITS]
I walk you through this formula in the FREE Winning Homepage Checklist I made for you. Grab it below!
Job #2: Create a homepage that guides visitors to where they can find out more
Once you’ve piqued interest with your tagline, your site visitors will want to know more.
But since every website is structured differently, it’s your job to show them where they can find more information on your website when you build your homepage.
There are a few methods you can use for this. Some methods are best for newer websites with less content, and some work better for sites that have many years of content.
Set up a Start Here page. A Start Here page is exactly what it sounds like (and that’s the beauty of it). It features a quick overview of what the site is about and a short guide to discovering all its features.
It’s the perfect “content guide” for a site that’s just starting out, or is light on content.
Think about it like the brief brochure you get when you buy tickets to enter a museum, an amusement park, or a zoo.
It’s not a detailed guide to every aspect of your website. It’s an overview of what people will find where, with links (and perhaps images) so they can go directly to the part of the site they’re interested in.
Link to cornerstone content pages. Cornerstone content pages are focused on a single subject you write about frequently on your site. They’re comprehensive resource pages about one topic.
For example, when I was in the beginning stages of this website, I wrote about a lot of design topics.
One subject that always comes up when you talk about design is color. And color is baffling for non-designers!
So I created a single resource page on the topic of color. This page gathers some of my best articles on color and shares a downloadable color wheel. Whenever I talk about color, I link to this resource page for anyone who wants to dig into the topic.
Here’s a quick video that I art directed for Copyblogger which explains exactly what cornerstone pages do:
Create content collections. A variation on the cornerstone content page is a content collection. These are perfect for you if you have a large archive of content on specific topics.
I have two content collections now. Check them out here:
Job #3: Build a homepage that encourages visitors to stay connected via email
The lifeblood of any online business is our email list. We all know this! That’s why we need to make growing our list the third big focus of our homepage.
People will join a list in order to get something that will benefit them immediately, so plan an opt-in incentive that delivers an immediate (and significant) result.
From my personal experience online, I can tell you that the days of the 20-part e-course and the massive (and overwhelming) content library seem to be coming to a close.
My theory? There’s so much great content online right now. In the beginning of their relationship to your business, people want just a taste of what you offer.
They’ll check it out, see if it’s useful, and if they feel it’s legit, they’ll dig deeper.
So make your opt-in offer tantalizing, short, useful, and easy to consume. A few ideas:
- Tip sheets
- Resource lists
- Video tutorials
- Quick how-to guides
Now, STOP. That’s it.
Once you’re pleased with all of the above on your homepage and you have …
- A compelling website tagline
- A clear, useful guide to more information
- An irresistible opt-in offer
… you are DONE. Seriously.
Please don’t try to do more on your homepage!
Remember, you only have a few seconds to make an impression while visitors get their bearings. Don’t try to do too much.
Focus on conquering the three goals spelled out here for a homepage that invites and delights.
Here’s an infographic to remind you of the key points to remember as you put together your winning homepage.