By Neil Patel
You never get a second chance to make a first impression.
I think this is a fitting quote to demonstrate the importance of a great homepage.
Once a visitor lands on your homepage, you need to impress them in a hurry.
Failure to do this typically results in a lost conversion with the vast majority of visitors never returning.
How can you ensure you make a good first impression?
And, more importantly, how do you boost conversions and increase the revenue value of your homepage?
There are countless strategies that work to some extent.
But I’d like to cover a handful I feel are the most practical and impactful.
I’ve researched each of these strategies and have implemented them on my own as well as my clients’ sites.
I’ve even seen some clients increase the revenue value of their homepages by as much as 851%.
This is not an exaggeration or some gimmicky hype to get you to click on my articles. This is stuff that works.
Let’s get down to business.
Make the load time lightning fast
Your first objective is to ensure a fast load time.
This is perhaps the most important factor of all because the rest of the strategies I’m going to discuss don’t really matter if the bulk of your visitors abandon your homepage prematurely.
Here’s a graph that illustrates how page abandonment increases as the load time of your homepage increases:
I suggest using the Pingdom Website Speed Test to accurately assess the load time of your homepage.
If it takes any longer than 5 seconds, you need to speed it up. Learn how to do it from this article I wrote.
Provide a clear value proposition
Once a visitor lands on your homepage, they should be able to tell right away what you’re offering and why it’s worth their time to check out your site in further detail.
This requires you to take one simple but incredibly important step: create a clear value proposition.
ConversionXL defines a value proposition as a clear statement that:
- explains how your product solves customers’ problems or improves their situation (relevancy),
- delivers specific benefits (quantified value),
- tells the ideal customer why they should buy from you and not from the competition (unique differentiation).
Here’s the value proposition I include on neilpatel.com:
It’s clear, specific, and to the point.
Below are some other good examples.
Dollar Shave Club pulls it off well:
So does Unbounce:
You get the idea.
For a more thorough explanation and tips on how to create a killer value proposition, check out this guide from ConversionXL.
Include a picture of a person
A few years back, there was a study that examined the impact of including a picture of a person on homepage performance.
The study involved A/B testing of two very different landing pages created for Highrise, a CRM software company.
The original design was pretty basic but fairly busy, meaning there was a lot of information.
However, the new design was very simple and included a large picture of a woman smiling.
The results were undeniable. Using the second design, with the woman smiling, resulted in 102.5% more sign-ups.
Here’s a comparison of the two designs:
What does this tell us?
It’s clear that including images of people (more specifically, people smiling) on your homepage can have a dramatic impact on conversions.
I actually follow this formula on my homepage for neilpatel.com, and it’s worked out wonderfully:
Other successful bloggers do the same.
Do you recognize this guy?
Here’s another one:
And here’s Marie Forleo:
This is Matt Barby:
Here’s Lewis Howes:
These people aren’t celebrities. They aren’t models.
They’re just bloggers. Successful ones.
They’ve figured out that a face on the screen vastly improves the profitability of the homepage.
Make your contact information easy to find
At first thought, placing your contact information in a conspicuous place on your homepage might not seem like a big deal.
It might seem like a mere footnote.
But it’s actually more important than you might think.
In fact, a study from KoMarketing found that
once on a company’s homepage, 64% of visitors want to see the company’s contact information.
And it’s not just your basic info like an email address.
Most people want thorough contact information like your phone, email, and address.
According to KoMarketing,
a lack of contact information will also deter buyers from moving forward with a Request for Proposal (RFP) and with filling out a form to request a demo or RFP.
I think this is important so visitors can tell for sure you’re a legitimate organization with a physical address and not some sleazy snake oil salesman who’s just looking to take their money and run.
The same goes for the About Us section
The same study from KoMarketing states that
once on a company’s homepage, 52% of visitors want to see ‘about us’ information.
This is one of quickest ways to establish trust and credibility with potential customers.
They want to make sure you’re legit.
Typically, the best location for your contact info and About Us section is the navigational menu at the top.
It’s above the fold and can be found in an instant.
However, if you have a fairly brief homepage, you could also place these sections at the bottom, like I do on neilpatel.com:
Don’t offer too many choices
There’s one mistake in particular I see countless companies make.
And that’s offering too many choices on their homepages.
Here’s an example of what I’m talking about:
I would venture to say that vast majority of visitors who land on this page feel overwhelmed or even paralyzed with all the information.
It’s just too busy.
Here’s the deal.
People tend to enjoy having different options and choices. But only to an extent.
Too many choices have a paralyzing effect, and many people will end up doing nothing.
Here’s a screenshot from The Harvard Business Review in which they touch on a 2000 study involving choice:
The point here is that you should keep your homepage fairly simple:
That’s exactly what I tried to do with the Quick Sprout homepage, and it’s worked out very well.
If you have a lot of different products, build some type of filter so that visitors can figure out what they need without being overwhelmed in the process.
Don’t force a sign-up—allow a guest sign-up
You know what I hate?
When I land on a website and want to test out a trial version or make a quick purchase but get hit with a long registration process.
I find it really inconvenient and flat out annoying at times.
And guess what?
So do most other people.
There’s an article written about this issue by User Interface Engineering (UIE) called The $300 Million Button.
I suggest you check it out if you are not sure what I am talking about.
Long story short, most first-time shoppers find it irritating when they have to register before they can buy something. In fact, many resent it.
I love a particular quote from one shopper who said,
I’m not here to enter into a relationship. I just want to buy something.
I think this sums it up perfectly.
Don’t make your customers jump through a bunch of hoops. Instead, allow them to complete their desired actions as guests rather than registered users.
That, right there, can have a dramatic impact on your revenue.
The article from UIE provides a concrete example of just how big of an impact it can have.
Here’s a screenshot:
Address visitor concerns
Let’s be honest.
It doesn’t take much for a would-be customer to turn around and hightail it out of your site.
And most people will have multiple concerns they’ll want addressed before they ultimately decide to make a purchase.
Here are some common concerns they may have:
- Your company doesn’t fully understand my problem
- What if your product doesn’t fix MY problem?
- Why should I trust your company?
- Why should I choose your product when there are so many other (and potentially more affordable) options out there?
Your goal is to quell any concerns or objections they may have.
But how do you do this?
It usually starts with acknowledging the problem your demographic is facing. Here’s a good example from Basecamp:
This lets visitors know that Basecamp understands how disorganization and confusion can create stress and hinder the progress of a project.
The suggestion is to let Basecamp help them get things back on track.
Including a few testimonials tends to be effective for proving that a product can fix a potential buyer’s problem. If it’s worked for countless other people, it will work for them too.
As for trust builders, here are some ideas:
- Include logos of companies you’ve worked with or have been endorsed by
- Include “trust seals” from third-parties such as the Better Business Bureau
- Mention awards or certifications your company has received
Finally, with proving value, explain why your price is what it is and what customers will get from you that they won’t get from competitors.
Create scarcity or urgency
If a visitor doesn’t convert right away, there’s a good chance you’ll lose them forever.
You want to strike while the iron is hot and while you’ve got them on your website.
One of the best ways to do this is to create scarcity or urgency.
I do this on neilpatel.com by having a feature that says “Training Starts in: X amount of time”
It begins counting down immediately after visitors land on my homepage.
I’ve found this to be effective for getting visitors to take action and for increasing conversions.
Now, there are a lot of different ways to create scarcity or urgency, and I don’t have time to fully discuss them here.
But what I suggest is checking out this post from Marketing Land that explains some techniques for using urgency psychology to improve conversions.
Note: There’s legit scarcity and there’s fake scarcity.
Using fake scarcity is a sleazy, underhanded tactic that most people will sniff out.
Always be honest.
There are many factors that ultimately determine the revenue value of your homepage.
It can be maddening trying to figure out what makes your visitors tick and wrapping your head around the psychology of user experience.
But I know for a fact that using these strategies will have a positive impact on the process.
You can use them to build instant trust, encourage further browsing, increase conversions, and ultimately boost your revenue.
What do you think is the single most important aspect of your homepage? What makes it profitable?