From the title of this article, you might think we’re going to try to convince you that it’s more important to take pains to build an effective homepage than put a lot of hard work into the rest of your website. Well, yes and no.
The overall structure of your website is important. Checkout is a critical part of the overall user experience that customers will get from your website and accounts for a large percentage of the bounce rates from most eCommerce websites. Similarly, it’s important that most of your website be arranged so that each page is as few clicks as possible away from your homepage. This increases your website’s user-friendliness as well as SEO.
Yet both of these things have only tangential relationships to your website’s homepage, so why do you need to take such care to optimize your homepage design for user experience?
Think of it this way. Your homepage is, in almost every case, the first landing page visitors to your online store will reach. If your homepage does not present a trustworthy interface, is poorly brand integrated or otherwise frustrating, or unintuitive, it will also be the last page most visitors see.
Because it is the “front” of your business, it should be carefully designed and offer a pleasant, enjoyable experience and pathway to your products. Keep these things in mind when you are planning your homepage design or partnering with an eCommerce design agency to pull it off.
Catch Their Attention
Your homepage is your first chance to capture the attention of visitors. It is your first impression and your first chance to position your products favorably as well as to present the overall value of your brand. As such, your homepage should catch attention – and there are a few ways to do this.
One way to capture attention is with high-quality imagery. Since you are your own brand ambassador, you should use only original, high-quality photography and imagery to present your products. For one thing, it catches attention and makes your products look more appealing. Another thing to keep in mind is that original photography is seen as must trustworthy and authoritative. Also, if you use duplicate images and customers catch onto it, it will make your products seem a lot less desirable.
Another way to catch the attention of your customers is with a slideshow or image carousel on your homepage. This will give you the ability to present several products or services on one page and display them actively to visitors, without visitors having to search for them. Using high quality imagery, it is a great way to advertise differentiating factors of your products, services or overall experience. A slideshow also makes it possible for you to position your products as solutions to common problems that your target audience may regularly face. For example, consider the custom slideshow we created for our client, Hot Tub Club.
The above image from their slideshow makes use of clear imagery that is attractive to the client’s target audience and clearly calls visitors to action. In one fell swoop, it advertises a popular product and throws the importance of being aware of pool chemistry into sharp relief.
It doesn’t dally long though. A moment later, the slideshow switches to advertise one of Hot Tub Club’s more significant services – mail-in water testing, which is complimentary pursuant to certain purchase requirements.
It catches the attention, advertises key selling points, and is engaging. It’s a great way to connect with customers and present solutions to problems they may not have even known they had.
Offer Straightforward, Intuitive Navigability
Lack of easy navigability is one of the key components of bounce from websites in general and eCommerce websites in specific. If a visitor can’t get the product or information he or she came for, what reason is there to stick around?
Easy, intuitive navigation can be the difference between another figure for your bounce rate and a concluded sale. It’s almost always certain to enhance user experience. In fact, a significant number of our clients come to us for help with navigational design as part of their projects.
Our client, Kel-Lac Uniforms Inc. felt this way, and so we redesigned their homepage and developed an advanced custom mega menu as part of the design for easy, type free navigation. It’s perfectly balanced to be visible but out of the way until you need it, as can be seen from the image of their homepage below.
Yet, as soon as you hover over the mega menu you can easily click through to your area of interest. It’s noninvasive, intuitive, easy to use, and also not overwhelming. Some of our clients sell hundreds if not thousands of products. Browsing is much easier than typing into a search bar. It increases UX and also has a positive impact on conversions as well.
This is only one way to enhance the navigational functionality of your site. There are several different types of structural and search based features that can be built into a website. Contact our team of designers and developers for more information.
Call To Action!
A call to action is a simple and highly effective way to engage and interact with your customers with the end result that you might just boost your conversions. Simply, a call to action is an urge to do something – there’s no trick in this, it’s exactly what it sounds like.
The simplest forms of call to action come in the form of the played-out “Buy Now!” signs that you’ve probably seen any time you went anywhere. The best calls to action are the ones that actually engage the customers’ interest, stimulate thought, or propose a solution in the form of your products or services.
For a quick example, consider one of the features from the slide show on the home page of our client, KM Herbals, pictured below. The image is not overwhelming, not cluttered, simplified, and contains minimal text, including the words “Safe for you and for the environment.”
It’s a simple way to drive home one of the key value propositions of their products, which is that they are naturally formulated and thus free of artificial chemicals and safe for use. It goes beyond the obvious call to action to buy lotion or hand sanitizer – it’s a matter of personal health and safety.
Also, check back above to the image we provided from the slideshow on the homepage of Hot Tub Club’s website. In the top image the words “Do you know what your family is swimming in?” is another great example of a call to action.
Hot Tub Club provides pool chemicals and accessories to owners of spas and pools – but the importance of clean pool water goes beyond the obvious. As pointed out on their homepage by that call to action, it is a matter of personal health and well-being.
Provide Social Proof
The importance of social proof is one of the most powerful factors in consumer behavior. Qualtrics compiled a list of metrics relating to the importance of reviews and social proof and they are humbling. Depending on the source you trust, the numbers will vary, but it’s looking like north of 90% of online shoppers read reviews in order to inform themselves and guide their purchase decisions.
You can say what you want about your products, as can manufacturers say what they want about theirs, but nothing makes quite as much of an impression on a prospective buyer as another user with no horse in the race.
Therefore online reviews, both positive and negative, are critical to a loyal base of customers. You can’t do too much about how customers interact with each other, but you can certainly give them the option to leave reviews on your site and you can encourage them to do so.
Welcome reviews, even solicit them from your customers if you have to. The value of reviews on your site will turn out to be a key factor in customer engagement and retention. It can also be an important tool for customer acquisition because reviews are often as valuable – if not more – than promotional material.
Optimize for Mobile Users
One more thing to note is that mobile commerce is becoming increasingly important to eCommerce. Mobile commerce, or M-commerce, is the portion of eCommerce that is conducted on mobile devices as contrasted with traditional eCommerce taking place through laptops and desktops.
It is expected that soon the majority of eCommerce transactions will take place on mobile devices, and therefore the way your site is configured and optimized for use on a mobile device is very important to the health of your business. Just as how poor site design can harm the performance of an eCommerce venture, so can a poorly optimized mobile website. It’s important to note that a site that is well designed for a laptop may not have a good responsive design.
To keep it simple, your homepage should be optimized for mobile users. It should include the features we already covered, but it should also be navigable by scrolling and it should have a healthy balance of text and images. Consider our client, efilters, who worked with us for custom design and development.
Their mobile homepage, pictured to the left, is designed for visitors to scroll through it and the size of the images and text are balanced so that they don’t overwhelm a viewer. In addition, the visitor is prompted to a chat box in the event that he or she couldn’t find what was needed. Note that as we stated previously, their homepage has a call to action – to choose efilters because they can offer fast delivery times.
It’s not that a well-designed homepage can be critical to the success of an online business. A well-designed homepage is critical to the success of one. In most cases, your home page is going to be the first page your customers will see, and it represents the face of your business.
Including these elements into the design of your homepage can have a positive impact on your conversion rate as well as on the way that your customers interact with your business. It can be done – we’ve done it for many clients in the past. We’ve handled everything from Shopify custom design projects to BigCommerce custom design projects and everything in between the two. If you’re feeling that your homepage design needs to be brought up to speed, contact our team. We’ll completely customize a web design for your business that incorporates these features and more – including other custom functions you could want for your homepage. Contact us today at info@1digitalagency or by phone at 866-398-2033 today to get started.
- Michael Esposito
- June 12, 2020