Your Home Page is the most important page in your directory. Its purpose is to grab your readers’ attention and display the information they are looking for quickly and easily.
If your home page is confusing or doesn’t have all the information that your visitors need, they will likely click off before knowing your directory. For this reason, here are 10 tips for making your homepage more effective.
1. Keep it short, sweet and to the point
It is crucial not to waste your visitors’ time. Too much text filled with background information will make your homepage confusing and off-putting. With a concise and organized homepage, you increase your chance of keeping the end-users’ interest. A strong homepage should show what it offers them in a matter of seconds.
2. Use Keywords
Your visitors find your directory through search engines and consequently, keywords. These engines work with keywords to determine which pages pop up. That is why it is so important to include words on your homepage that associate with your directory, and more importantly, that your final users associate with your business. Keywords are much more effective than your graphics. While graphics are great tools to improve your website, they simply will not bring the kind of traffic that strategic keywords do. You need the right words.
How do we find the right keywords to use? Start with brainstorming generalized topics that link with your business. Try to look at it from your customers’ point of view and then ask yourself how would you want your customers to find you? Make a list of these topics and pick keywords and phrases within these topics. It’s helpful to check the monthly search volume of the keywords you have chosen to gauge how effective they will be. Another trick is to use analytics software to check to see which keywords are already directing customers to your website. This is useful because now you have a better idea of which direction to focus on. If you’d like to continue to find more keywords you can utilize search engine suggestions. To do this, type in a keyword into a search engine, such as Google, and scroll to the bottom of the page, here you will find suggestions for more search options related to their original search.
3. Write From The Visitors’ Perspective
To achieve this point you must know what your customers need and want. When they click on your website they want to know right away what you can do for them. This page is not the place to talk about yourself, you'll have the chance to do this later. Ultimately, at this point in their search they only care to find out if you offer something that they want.
4. Focus On Benefits, Not Features
Now that you’re writing from their perspective, take that a step further and aim your focus towards how your business directly benefits your customers, rather than all the features of your product and business. The differences between features and benefits are that features describe what your business does, how you do it and why it’s better than your competitors while benefits answer one, critical question: why should they care? The answer- it’s going to change their life for the better. Take more time to answer this question throughout your website and make it clear just how your business will make that impact.
5. Simplify Navigation
Your visitors should be able to quickly determine where to click on your page to locate the information that they are looking for. Using hyperlinks is essential and these links must also be easy to find. You can achieve this by using short words or phrases for the menus.
It is also crucial to simplify the navigation for both types of users in your directory; the end-users and the potential members. Remember, end-users are people who search in your directory for the different services provided by your members. Although the homepage is mainly directed at end-users, potential members should also be able to easily find what they are looking for so they can be directed to see its benefits and know how to join.
The way you navigate a directory is incredibly important for your success. Your visitors’ navigation experience affects traffic, which will affect your ranking, which will then of course - improve your traffic. Moreover, a simplified and effective navigation will then lead to more conversions, with more of those potential members successfully discovering what you can offer, becoming end-users.
6. Personalize Your Approach
More people will join your directory if they feel like you’re really speaking to them . Your tone is important, try to sound friendly and conversational. A big mistake is to use overly complicated vocabulary, this can make your homepage sound stuffy and uninviting.
Forget what they told you in English class, in this context it is actually better to write in the second person. So be direct and use the words "You" or "Your" and not "Users" or "those who are interested".
7. Use Headlines and Subheads
Large blocks of text bore readers. Use informative headings and subtitles to break up those long paragraphs and guide the readers. This also makes your page "scannable" , that is for members to quickly gather information.
These headlines and subheads are an excellent place to utilize those keywords for the search engines. Use simple language so your directory gets the traffic it deserves. When using words that are complex, bland or unknown by most of your potential end-users, they simply just won't be interested.
8. Sound Enthusiastic, But Don’t Go Overboard
While we want to be personal and conversational with our readers, it is possible to be so enthusiastic that our readers become turned off. Approach this with the reader's perspective, remind yourself how readers look for clues to determine which sites are legitimate and which ones are unprofessional. For example, they may be looking out for content with obvious exaggerations, too many exclamation points, bold, underlines, silly font styles and colors as indicators that a website doesn’t deserve their trust. .
For these reasons, use these colorful tools with discretion. Mix an equal portion of enthusiasm with believability, and you will see results.
9. Proofread Your Copy
It is very common to find errors in grammar, punctuation, and spelling on the internet, but that does not make it excusable. Nothing takes away more professionalism than when you misspell words or have sentences that don't make sense.
Even professional copywriters review their work. If you do not feel strong in this field, ask for help from a friend or coworker to review the text. Those extra eyes will help you find mistakes you haven't seen. You should even check the text again some days after, you will be surprised at the errors you can find with fresh eyes.
10. Make Sure Your Design Is Professional
The first impression always counts, even on the internet. Make sure that your directory and homepage look professional in design and written content, so you can grab your readers’ attention and keep their trust.
Again, it’s not necessary to have amazing graphics but it should not look like it was created without enthusiasm. Try experimenting with eye-catching fonts and interesting background images, if you put work into your design your visitors will notice. Additionally, your homepage needs to be responsive. You need to check that the pages of your directory fit properly according to different types of screens such as desktop PC (large screens), tablets (medium screens) or smartphones (small screen).
So if you’ve already completed all these steps, you have a homepage that catches your readers’ attention and has a great shot at making them end-users of your directory. If you’re looking for more tips for your homepage you can check them out in our article "11 Fast Critical Elements Every Homepage Must Have".
Remember if you are ready to make your homepage go for it! But if you want professional help with any of the points mentioned above just contact us, we will be very pleased to help you.