Monday, July 13, 2009

How to Ruin Your Home Page

It's actually not as difficult to ruin your home page as you might think. In fact, if you're doing any of these things, you may already be successfully losing visitors at your Web site's front door:

1. Attemping to showcase your entire Web site on your home page, from a detailed listing of all your services, to pictures of your office, to Twitter, Facebook and blog links. A too-busy home page is intimidating, and it scares people away. People want to pull up your page, easily find what they're after and go there. Time is limited, and we've all got a billion and one things to do, so don't assume we'll take the time to sort through a maze of information--we won't.

2. Having a long, rambling home page that requires users to scroll and scroll...and scroll. Use your navigation and design smartly so that your Web site is organized in a way that makes sense and is, first and foremost, easy to use. A home page that requires users to endlessly scroll is a sure tip-off that you've either got a templated site or bad Web design.

3. Showcasing irrelevant information on your home page. Your home page is like your business card to the world; it should introduce visitors to your business and what you can offer. It should not contain any information off that point. So, leave solicitations for your daughter's Girl Scout cookies, photos of Aunt Bea's 80th birthday party and anything else non-business related off your home page (and preferably off your business Web site altogether).

4. Utilzing your home page "real estate" unwisely. Is half your home page made up of a gigantic graphic, which forces site visitors to scroll down to find out what your company does? If so, you're not using your home page real estate wisely. A good home page should be a balance of graphics/photos and text. As beautiful as a photo or graphic may be, it is your copy that explains to visitors what you do. Don't let your home page create a mystery as to what you're business is--most visitors won't hang around long enough to solve it.

The bottom line is that your home page truly is the front door to your business, and the first introduction many people will have to you. You don't want it to be your last, so if your home page is guilty of any of the aforementioned sins, you've got homework!

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