Writing a home page doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Here’s how to write a home page that is compelling and converts readers into customers.
Your beautiful new website is fresh off the designer’s PC (or yours) and ready to go live. The only thing you’re waiting for – copy. You could go and hire a copywriter (there are some great ones – **waves**), or you could take a deep breath and write that copy yourself.
DIYing your home page can feel overwhelming. After all, it’s your digital shopfront, the first thing people see and the first impression they have of your brand. But it doesn’t have to be that hard.
There is a formula that works… really works… when creating your copy. And as long as you don’t stray too far from that, you can put together an exceptional home page that doesn’t just compel readers to keep scrolling, but converts half-hearted readers into whole-hearted customers.
How to Write a Home Page for Your Services-Based Business
Some research shows that when it comes to your website, the less clicks your reader has to do, the better (it’s the old three-click rule). While that’s not a hard and fast rule any longer (instead, you want your home page to feel intuitive and user friendly for your visitors), it’s still a good rule of thumb when designing your site structure. And it’s certainly a good idea to have all the main parts of your site available from your home page. This includes who you are, what you do, your services, what makes you unique and how to contact you.
But research also shows that you don’t want your web page to be too long. Do you know how long the typical user stays on a home page? About 15 seconds. That means you have just 15 seconds to capture their attention and guide them to the information that they’re looking for.
The best approach is to put a paragraph or two about each of the main pages on your site, then link to the main pages through the use of a button or an icon. Obviously the design plays into this quite a lot as well.
What to Cover
Your reader’s problem and how you solve it
The first thing your homepage should touch on is the problem or problems that your reader has that you can solve. On my home page, for example, my first section talks about boring copy. For Penguin Strategies, they touch on getting qualified leads, while Elegant Themes talks about the hours of coding and disjointed plugins that are part of web designing.
Once you’ve named the problem, you let them know how you can solve it. For me, I talk about writing excellent copy that both Google and humans will love. Penguin Strategies say how they help increase brand awareness, reach more qualified leads and close more customers. And Elegant Themes talks about how they have a website building framework that makes it possible to design beautiful websites without ever touching a single line of code.
You don’t need to spend too much time, a paragraph is enough. But it’s absolutely essential that you name the problems.
Who you are and what makes you unique
Next, it’s a great idea to touch on who you are and what makes you different or unique from your competitors. Again, this doesn’t have to be a lot of copy. Some of the best websites I’ve seen use a single line to express their point of difference.
Example: The Atticism (with extra bonus points for highlighting their non-traditional approach with a quirky banner)
A little more copy works well, too.
Example: Oath & Stone Designs
Of course, if you’re a services business, and especially if you’re a freelancer, solopreneur, expert or you have a personal brand, your home page will naturally need more information about who you are.
Example: Gary Vaynerchuk
If you’re a services business, you must list your services. Make yourself easy to buy from. Don’t hide what you do behind menus or navigation headers. Put each of your main services in your home page copy. Use images or icons to make them snappy. And absolutely include links to the page that describes that service in detail.
Again, you don’t want to include too much copy, but you want to show exactly what you offer right off the bat.
Example: The Informed Buyer
Testimonials and/or Client Showcase
It’s always a great idea to include testimonials on your home page. It’s also nice to see clients that you’ve worked with in the past. But not all of them.
Two to four testimonials are fantastic for your home page. List them so they’re easy to read, and if you can include an image of the writer, even better. If you’re really anxious to include more than two to four, use a link or a button that will take your reader to your full testimonials page.
Example: TJ Accounting Consultants
Having a showcase of your clients is also a great way to demonstrate your expertise. But again… maybe not every client. A panel of 12 or so would be the most that I would include. Then you can certainly link to a page that shows all the rest of your wonderful clients if you like.
Example: The WordPress Guy
How to get in touch
It should go without saying, you absolutely must have your contact information on your home page. Having a clickable email and phone number in the top banner is an excellent idea, and of course your full contact information in the footer is also a standard approach.
Most everyone knows that you need buttons on your home page. This includes ‘Contact Me’ or ‘Read More’ or your CTA. But it’s probably a good idea to go over where you need them.
In the banner
Your first button needs to be in the banner. Yes, straight away. And no, it’s not too pushy. Instead it’s designed to make the user’s life easier.
Often potential customers will visit your site a couple of times before they ultimately decide to buy from you. Having the button in the top banner, which appears before the fold, gives them an option to contact you for your services without scrolling or clicking through.
And everyone likes easy.
Example: Salt Pilates Studio
After every section
Then you need a button after every section – you heard that right, every section. So, after your ‘Who Am I’ section, your button might be as simple as ‘Let’s Chat’. Or you might want the link instead to go to your full About page, and then you could say ‘Read More’ or ‘Get to Know Me’.
After each service you list, you’ll want to link to the full Services page on your site (this can be through the icon rather than a separate button if you like). And after your testimonials or client list, you might want to link to a full page where the remainder of those items are.
You don’t want to overdo it, but the more often you can give the reader the option to get in touch, the easier it will be for them to… well, get in touch. And that’s what we want out of our website, isn’t it?
Example: Kate Toon Copywriter
At the end
At the very end you’ll want a strong call-to-action. Now, there’s been oodles of writing about CTAs, and most of it is readily available on the internet, so I won’t say too much more here. However, I do want to add one little piece of advice.
Being original is great. Being clear is better.
If you can do both – be original AND clear about what you’re offering, that’s fantastic! If you can’t, clear is better. In other words, ‘Book Now’ is infinitely preferable to ‘Want to Know What Puts a Spring in Our Step?’ (unless of course you’re selling spring loaded runners). You want your reader to know exactly what happens when they click that button.
Working with a great web designer and a great copywriter (who work together well) is a fantastic way to get a stellar website. But, that’s not always an option. DIYing your copy doesn’t mean it has to look unprofessional or amateur. Just make sure you answer these questions:
- What problems do I solve?
- What makes me unique and different (or, why would someone choose to work with me)?
- What are my services?
- How can my clients easily get in touch with me?
- What do my clients say about me?
Answer these and you’ll find you have an incredible home page that turns half-hearted readers into whole-hearted customers.
If you’ve got any questions about how to write a home page, shout out. And if you’d rather get help, I’m your gal.