The homepage is where a lot of your site visitors will end up eventually. Whether they click the little “homepage” link on the navigation bar or type your homepage into the URL bar, they expect a homepage to look a certain way. When it doesn’t, they might think you aren’t a real business or your site looks too confusing to navigate.
There’s no cohesiveness. Unfortunately, most web designers and small business owners botch their homepage design. Here are seven tips to improve usability on the homepage so your visitors stick around.
#1. Bring Important Information To The Front
Always bring the most important information on your site to the front page. Some websites are unclear about where users should go or what they should be doing once they visit the site. Don’t confuse your readers. If the blog is the most important part of your site, showcase it without letting the blog page become the homepage.
If you’re running a sale on a particular product, make it obvious to the visitor. Don’t just tell users about it. Showcase it right there on the homepage.
#2. Make Your Tagline Stand Out
A homepage should have a clear and informative tagline. Tell your visitors what it is you do and what they can expect from your website. Don’t be “cutesy” or vague. For example, if you run a print shop that specializes in business stationary, you might say, “Customized stationary for small and medium-sized businesses.”
This is clear and to-the-point. You wouldn’t use something like, “Everything that’s fit to print.”
It might sound cute, but it’s unclear what it is you do. Are you a newspaper? Do you print commercial jobs or low-volume stuff for consumers?
#3. Help Site Visitors Find What They Need
Make your navigation menu a simple series of links. Most websites still get this wrong. Avoid using boxes, graphics, colors, special highlighting, and illustrations Usability tests by Nielsen Norman Group show users consistently avoid these things because graphics and illustrations look like ads and users avoid ads as a matter of habit.
#4. Include A Search Box
Always include a search box on your homepage. Users expect to be able to search for things on your site. Research shows when users show up to a site, they start looking or a search box. So, make your search area a box. Make it no more than 30 characters wide, and no less than 25 so that users can type their search query without it being obscured by width limitations.
#5. Keep Design To A Minimum
Do not over-design your website. Only include enough design elements to communicate the purpose of your site and no more. Superfluous site elements like unneeded or nonsensical images, graphics, and hard-to-read typography will be ignored.
They may also cause users to leave your site feeling they can’t find what they’re looking for.