Writing a homepage that works

It takes time, money, and effort to get a prospect to your site. Here are four tips on how to get your homepage to work for you, not against you.

It takes time, money, and effort to get a prospect to your site—so when they get there, you’d better make the most of the opportunity.

In other words, if you can reduce the number of visitors who leave your site without doing anything, then your business is going to be a lot healthier.

And your homepage—

Well, your homepage is the first chance you have to impress.

A good homepage has three big jobs:

  1. It needs to make a great first impression.
  2. It needs to work to help people discover other parts of the site they might want to visit.
  3. It needs to help orient people to your company—what you do and how you do it.

But the truth is, even those aren’t enough.

Because if you want leads and sales, a homepage that works needs to do more.

It needs to guide visitors through your sales process—so if they’re ready to buy, they know what to do and how to do it.

Here are four tips on how to get your homepage to work for you, not against you.

1. Start with a great headline

You can improve the effectiveness of your homepage with one simple change:

Make sure your hero headline communicates the value of working with your company.

Maybe you’re a window cleaner in Dayton, Ohio. Perhaps you’re a dentist in Naples, Florida. It doesn’t matter.

Put on your client hat—or your prospect’s shoes, whichever cliché you want to use—and think about why they’re coming to your website.

Then give them what they want right there in the headline.

Here are some examples:

  • Chiropractor: “Live pain-free… Naturally.”
  • Web designer: “Get online and grow.”
  • Home inspector: “Before you buy, be sure.”
  • Window cleaner: “Windows that shine from the street.”
  • Dentist: “Be proud of your smile!”

Can you see how those headlines explain, in language that makes sense to a potential client, what benefit they’ll get from working with you?

These headlines are different from one like, “We use the Graston technique to get rid of subluxations.” If you’re a chiropractor, that’s about you and what you do—and it uses jargon that your client may not understand.

Compare that to, “Live pain-free… Naturally.”

Everyone can understand that—and everyone who visits will instantly know you’re offering a promise of real help.

2. Follow up with your value proposition

Below your headline, the next thing you want to do is present your value proposition.

Why should a potential client do business with you?

How are you different from your competitors?

What problems can you solve?

Which benefits can you deliver?

The answers to those questions form your value proposition.

Now obviously, you can’t avoid talking about your company entirely—nor should you.

But as you’re probably starting to understand, you need to put the focus on your visitor’s problems.

Just because this is the homepage doesn’t mean that it’s a chance for you to brag about how you’ve been in business for 15 years or how you built this and this.

Those facts and figures don’t add up to value in your buyer’s mind. (Not like you might think they would, anyway.)

Your achievements and accomplishments mean something to you because you lived through each of them. Unfortunately, they don’t say very much to the person across the street or down the interstate.

Your buyer is thinking about one thing only—whether or not you can solve their problem. And they want you to tell them.

3. Focus on your visitor’s problems

If you’ve got a good handle on what keeps your typical client up at night, great.

If not, you’re going to need to do your research.

Talk to your current clients. If you can’t, take a look at people that are like the clients that you sell to. Then make an educated guess.

When you’ve done the work to identify (or predicting) your client’s problems and how you can solve them, shout that information from the rooftops. Splash it all over your homepage. Now’s your chance to shine.

You could also use testimonials or other social proof. Clients talking about how great you are and what excellent work you do? That’s going to resonate a lot more with your prospect than you saying the same thing.

Your potential clients will see those testimonials and think, “Well, these people are like me… And if they’re saying this business is great, then maybe it actually is great.”

4. Help visitors discover the rest of the site

Don’t forget that your homepage needs to help people get deeper into your site.

Your navigation’s going to do some of that. But don’t be afraid to use your homepage to call out different parts of your site and tell visitors why they should have a look.

But don’t just throw any old content on there. If you’re going to highlight a page or a blog, give them a real reason to go and visit it—with a compelling call to action.

I see a lot of people saying something like, “Learn about us.” With a CTA like that, I’m not sure whether anybody’s going to want to rush to read about you.

But if, for example, you worded it, “Learn about what we can do for you,” that’s better. Even better is, “Learn about how we help businesses grow” or “Learn about how we help people become pain-free.”

Can you see the difference between “Learn about us” and “Learn about how we can help change your life?” One of those options will motivate a lot more clients to learn about you.

Remember: always be marketing

Finally, don’t miss the chance to get visitors into your marketing stream. If you’ve got a lead magnet that will show them, for example, 14 things they’ve got to watch out for when they’re considering hiring someone like you, then promote the heck out of it.

Use a call-to-action right on the homepage, or put it in the hero image.

Whatever you choose, just do it—because, after all, your homepage needs to work.

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