by Louise Bennett
Writing an effective home page for your website can be challenging for business owners, as well as professional copywriters. Outlined in this article are 5 steps to structuring your home page text to help your reader make choices (and to feel confident about your services or products).
1: What questions will readers have when they visit your home page?
This goes for anything written on your website (or anywhere else for that matter), but especially for your home page. The home page is like the entrance to your own house – it sets the tone and atmosphere, so visitors immediately ‘get’ who you are and how you live. The same goes for your business.
Speak to your readers as if you’re actually seeing them in front of you, as you welcome them into your business. What questions or problems are likely to be in their minds? Jot a few points or ask someone outside your business to write down questions that they might have. Your home page can address these questions or problems in a light way. Take care not to overwhelm your readers with information, but just reassure them that they’re in the right place and that they can trust you.
2: What is unique about your business service?
You may need to do a little homework to chisel this one down. As a copywriter, I’m looking for what sets a business apart from the crowd. Your uniqueness doesn’t have to be earth-shattering, it can be a small thing. For example, it might be 24/7 service in a particular industry that no one else offers, or a hair salon that gives you a free 3 minute neck massage with every colour treatment. If you need help with finding what’s unique about your service, check out these links to get you started: a copyblogger blog or an article here by entrenpreneur.
Once you’ve got your unique selling proposition clarified, then you can weave it into your home page heading. Make sure that your heading relates textually to the sentences that follow and appeals to your target audience.
(Note: If you have a large business with multiple services, then keep your heading short and use the introductory paragraph to expand on your services.)
3: Follow your home page heading with related text
The paragraph that immediately follows your heading needs to expand on your services and the benefits that your business offers. This is where you make your message clear. I find that it helps enormously to put your services and benefits in bullet points to help the reader. Why do readers continue to read? Usually because they’re looking for solutions to problems. Perhaps they’re tearing their hair out! If you can show that your services can take their pain away or fulfil their desires, they’re more likely to continue reading (and possibly re-read the page and even share it, which is great for your page ranking, or SEO).
Note on style: Keep your sentences short and simple. If you’re not a trained web writer (or just don’t like writing) it’s a wise idea to get a professional web copywriter to write your web pages for you. Readers like to scan and you’re probably scanning this article right now. So keep that in mind. One trick of the trade is to create subheads that provide the gist of your services and benefits. That means that your reader can scan quickly and understand what you’re offering almost immediately. Then if they’re interested, they’ll go back and read your page more comprehensively.
4: Reassure your readers
It’s important to build trust on your home page as quickly as possible. Testimonials sprinkled strategically are an excellent way to build confidence, as are links to case studies (again, avoid overloading your home page; links are very helpful for cross-linking within your site as well).
If you have worked with notable companies, insert grey logos of their businesses at the top of your home page. This is a very powerful way to build trust immediately. Use third party logos, affiliates, associates wherever possible.
5: Don’t try to sell on your home page
Place service or product links strategically so that readers know what to do and where to go once they’re ready to think of buying from you. Just don’t try to sell directly from the home page. Avoid 'sales push' language (it’s off-putting and will drive your readers away). Instead, focus on your home page text being helpful and useful.
To sum up your home page
The above are simple ideas in a nutshell to give a structure for your website's home page. However, you may need to spend some time researching the best way to write for your business (or get someone like me to help you!).
And as your website evolves over time, you'll definitely need to tweak the home page text to make it clearer and more aligned.
Always remember that you need people to understand your services, trust you, feel comfortable and reassured. In the end, it’s always about your customer’s needs and pain-points, so write with that in mind.
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