Elegant Themes makes some beautiful and well-built WordPress themes that we recommend. Their blog is worth following as well — the latest post there is The Ultimate Small Business Owner’s Guide To Creating a Great Homepage, and it makes an excellent how-to for anyone wondering what the front page of their website should feature. Even if you aren’t wondering but are thinking perhaps your website’s home page could perform better, this piece is a great introduction to rethinking your site’s landing page.
It got me to thinking what percentage of time is spent planning and designing a site’s homepage versus the rest of the site. I’d wager that for most sites that perform well, there will be what looks like an inordinately high amount of time spent just on the site’s homepage. For many sites that were built a few years ago, the homepage may be just a default set of content or images that don’t do the job that’s needed today. A homepage now needs to present the business focus or value proposition as well as provide the user with the most immediate information they need, especially on mobile platforms.
The other thing that this article highlights is the importance of good content, and I would add the caveat that it should be well-written copy. Most small business owners tend to write their own copy, which is a great first step. In our experience though, the sites which have had just a little extra thought put into it by having it edited or composed by a copy writer with a thought for search engine optimization (SEO) as well as for content and grammar will perform better. In fact, one study on the effect of business reviews showed that a well-written negative review had more positive impact on the perception of a business than a poorly-written positive review. Although design is important to help it stand out, the web has always been about content.
On your website, does the content stand out? Does your homepage provide a clear call to action for your business? Is your copy well-written? At the time of this writing, we’re engaged in reviewing just these questions, and planning some improvements for our own homepage. If your site lacks in any of these areas, have a chat with your web designer or developer about how you can improve it. If you need help finding a copy writer or someone to help plan your site’s landing page, let us know — we’ll be happy to hook you up.