Think of your website’s homepage as the face of your business. It’s the first thing that people see when they visit your website, and it sets the tone for everything else that follows (not to mention that it can be instrumental in directing someone toward what you do best).
However, designing a solid homepage is no easy feat. There are plenty of pitfalls waiting to trip up unsuspecting designers.
As a business owner, you want to showcase your product or service in a way that is appealing and informative at the same time.
Your page needs to speak directly to your target audience and, at the same time, be equipped enough to bolster your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts. And perhaps most importantly, it needs to make people feel like they need to stick around for a while to explore everything you have to offer.
Must-Have Elements for Your Website Homepage
A Hero Section Including Your Mission Statement
The hero section is one of the most critical elements on your homepage. It is where you introduce people to your business and tell them what you’re all about. You can do this with a brief headline and mission statement or by highlighting your company’s values and why they matter.
It’s meant to give your site visitors an idea of what to expect from your business or website.
A common mistake websites make is to use the hero section solely for aesthetics. In other words, you’ll be wasting a powerful piece of screen real-estate if you don’t use this space to convey what your business is all about.
Logo and Branding Elements
It’s almost impossible to imagine a homepage without a logo. You might have a fantastic design, but it won’t do your business much good if it lacks your branding elements. The colours, fonts, and design you choose should be part of a cohesive brand identity.
So, start by hiring a professional to design you a logo. After that, you can use a colour palette generator to create a harmonious colour scheme and find fonts that snugly reflect your brand’s personality.
Where Should You Place Your Logo and Branding Elements?
The most common place to put your logo is in your homepage’s upper left-hand corner, right above your main headline. That’s because this area is the first thing that people see when they visit your page.
Another option is to place the logo at the centre top of your homepage, right above the menu bar. That should help keep it in focus as people scroll down the page.
A Menu Bar or Navigation System
It may be tempting to place your menu bar (or navigation system) in the upper left-hand corner of your homepage. However, there are also instances where it’s best to put it at the bottom.
Those who advocate for positioning your main menu below the logo believe that this is more user-friendly because once people land on your page, they can quickly scroll down to find what they’re looking for.
Others believe that the best placement for your menu bar is on the right-hand side of your homepage since it’s easy for people to click on it with their thumb.
A Convincing Call to Action
Your homepage should always include a call to action, which tells your site visitors what you want them to do next. It can be as simple as asking them to sign up for your newsletter or buy a product from your store.
But whatever it is, make sure it’s straightforward. You don’t want to make people overthink when trying to figure out what you want them to do.
An Eye-catching Colour Scheme
The colours you use on your website are a critical part of the impression that your site makes
If your colour scheme is dull, people might assume that your products or services lack personality and excitement.
It’s best to choose three primary colours that reflect your brand identity. You can then find variations of these hues that show off the depth and dimension of each colour.
For the page’s background, you can either use a single colour or an image that reflects your business’s values and personality.
We’re not talking cookie-cutter stock images here.
On-brand images are specific to your business, and they’re meant to help people visualize what you do precisely. That could be anything from customer photos to pictures of your team or products.
Make sure that the images you use are high quality and reflect the overall tone of your website. You don’t want people to feel like your brand is unprofessional.
Trust Marks and Testimonials
It’s always a good idea to include trust marks and testimonials on your homepage.
That is because people are more likely to trust what they see than what they read. So by including images or quotes from happy customers, you can help convince people that your business is worth considering.
Just be sure only to use genuine testimonials from satisfied customers. You don’t want to damage your reputation by including fake testimonials.
Previews and Samples of Your Products
Whether you’re selling clothing, food, or beauty products on your website, it’s a good idea to include previews and samples.
You see this a lot with fashion brands on their sites, where it shows how clothes will look on a model. Or, if you run an online bakery, you might want to include a photo of a cake or two.
That is a great way to give people a taste of what you have to offer, and it can help convince them to buy from you.
Highly Readable and Engaging Typography
Your website’s typography is just as important as its visuals.
If the text is difficult to read or looks messy, people will be turned off and might not stick around long enough to learn more about your business.
Make sure you use a typeface that’s easy to read and don’t go overboard with the number of fonts you use.
If anything, the more fonts you use, the more cluttered your website might look. So be sure to limit yourself to two or three fonts at most.
Social Proof Elements
If you want to convince people that your business is trustworthy, be sure to use social proof elements.
What are these?
They’ll be things like testimonials, reviews, logos of companies you’ve worked within the past, and even the awards you’ve won.
These elements can be very effective because it’s a way for other people to vouch for your business. And the more social proof you have, the more you’re likely to be trusted.
It’s not a bad idea to include a contact form on your homepage.
That is because some people might want to get in touch with you but would rather do it through email instead of searching for your contact information and possibly getting distracted by other things on your site.
A search bar isn’t necessarily a necessity.
But if your site is extensively large or you have a lot of products, it can help visitors find the information they’re looking for faster. This way, they can spend more time learning about your business instead of wasting their time scrolling through the whole site to find what they want.
The footer is that part of your website where you list things like your business’s contact information, disclaimers, social media profiles, and so on.
And while some people might find it boring to include a footer in their website, this is one of the most critical parts of your site since it provides another way for people to learn more about you.
Make sure you include all the necessary information in your footer and be sure to keep it up to date.
10 Examples of Websites with the Best Homepages
Now that you know what to include on your website’s homepage, it’s time to take a look at some real-life examples.
Below are ten websites with great homepages that you can use as inspiration for your own site:
Rover is a pet sitting service that gets visitors’ attention by showing cute photos of cats and dogs.
You can easily see why this works, or who wouldn’t be interested in these beautiful animals?
And while the photos make people want to learn more about Rover, what’s also great is that they also have social proof elements like testimonials and awards.
Plus, their hero section is very well designed and showcases their services perfectly.
CarMax is a car dealership that has a very clean and straightforward homepage.
They don’t try to make the site look fancy, and it’s obvious that they put more effort into their product instead.
As you can see, the company caters to two types of audiences: those looking to buy cars and those looking to sell cars.
You can sense the foreseeable confusion.
But CarMax avoids it easily by adopting multiple CTAs on their homepage.
thredUP has a very creative and colourful homepage.
Since the company is an online seller of second-hand clothing, it makes sense to have a fun design that matches its target audience.
The site doesn’t only look good, but it’s also intuitive and easy to navigate, so everyone can find what they’re looking for right away.
I love Slack’s clean and straightforward design, a messaging platform that allows you to communicate with your co-workers.
They don’t try to sell their product through the homepage but instead, show off their products by showcasing different features.
It’s also another example of how social proof elements can go a long way in convincing people of your brand’s credibility, as they have done with their clients’ logos.
Spotify is an example of a simple homepage with minimal features, but it works well because it’s intuitive and easy to use.
They’re catering to music lovers, and by using a big hero image at the top of the page, they’re able to make a great first impression.
Plus, their CTA is noticeable and easy to spot, making it easy for people to sign up for the service.
This is another example of a minimal website.
Instead, they use a strong headline to explain what they’re all about quickly, “Helping you an Amazing WordPress Site.”
And then below that, there are several CTAs that let you explore the website further.
Birchbox is a subscription service that sends you monthly boxes of beauty products.
And while their homepage is very colourful, it’s also easy to navigate.
They use images and CTAs to entice people to learn more about their product, and the layout is very user-friendly.
Warby Parker is a company that sells eyeglasses, and they have a very creative homepage that shows off their product.
They use a mix of images and text to explain what their company is all about, and they also have social proof elements to show that they’re a credible brand.
TED is a website that hosts TED Talks, lectures given by experts on various topics.
They didn’t want to complicate their homepage. So, they kept it simple by only showcasing the different types of talks they have hosted on their website.
They also show you how many talks they have hosted in the past, which is a great way to increase your credibility.
How you approach your homepage design depends on the type of business you’re running.
Healthline’s homepage caters to a specific audience.
As an educational publication specialized in providing tips and deep insights into healthcare, fitness, and wellness, the company focuses on showing, not telling.
So, instead of talking about their outstanding articles, they let their articles do the talking.
I’m a sucker for minimal designs. And Trivago is an excellent example of how to use a minimalist design to your advantage.
Their homepage is simple, but it’s also very effective because it allows people to find what they’re looking for quickly.
Plus, their CTAs are easy to spot, making it easy for someone to book a hotel room.
The word Relentless caught up my eyes.
We all want to hire a relentless realtor.
I’m sure it has a very high conversion rate.
Their homepage design is attractive, and the colours are vibrant.
The company focuses on the people searching for properties in the area.
They use images of local properties for people to browse through, which is a great way to give visitors an idea of what’s available in their city or town.
7 Benefits of Having a Strategically Designed Homepage
- More Clicks
Your homepage is the one page on your website that everyone will see, so if you don’t design it well, you’re risking losing out on a lot of potential revenue.
- More Free Organic Traffic
Since visitors are much more likely to click on links that feature near the top of the page, you’re improving your chances of getting traffic for free.
- More Conversions
According to Hubspot, homepage design can significantly impact conversions, so if you want more people to sign up for your services or subscribe to your newsletter, then having a well-designed homepage is a critical part of the whole process.
- Better SEO
The better optimized your homepage is, the higher Google will rank it in search results.
- Better Branding
If you want to establish a strong brand, you need to ensure that your website and its design accurately portray what your business is all about, and having an award-winning homepage certainly doesn’t hurt.
- Improved User Experience
A well-designed homepage will make it easier for your visitors to find what they’re looking for, which will result in a better user experience overall.
- More Conversions
As mentioned earlier, a well-designed homepage can have a significant impact on conversions, so if you’re looking to increase your sales or subscribers, then make sure your homepage is up to par.
15 Tips for Creating the Perfect Website Homepage Design
After seeing all of these great examples, you’re probably itching to start redesigning your own homepage.
But before you do, here are 15 tips to keep in mind:
Write a Strong and Clear Headline
Let’s go through three headlines and see what makes them special.
“Relentless Realtors: The Name You Can Trust”
This headline is effective because it’s clear and concise. It tells the reader what they can expect from the website, and the branding backs it up on the page.
“Browse Local Properties and Schedule a Tour Today”
This headline is a bit vaguer, but it’s also a lot more actionable. It tells the reader what they should do next and how long they’ll have to wait to take that next step.
“In Need of a Fitness Trainer? 100% Free Consultations Now Available!”
This headline is attention-grabbing and straight to the point. There’s no confusion as to what you’ll get from the website, and the CTA tells you exactly how to take that next step.
These three headlines are different, but they have a few things in common.
First, it’s their use of power words. For the uninitiated, power words are words that evoke human emotions or try to connect with the reader at a subconscious level. Examples include words like “powerful,” “strategical,” “relentless,” and “trust.”
Write a strong headline by wearing your customers’ minds. For a minute, try fitting into their shoe and think about what you as a customer want or need. Chances are, if you can write a headline that caters to those needs, then you’d have a powerful headline on your hands.
Whatever You Do, Avoid Confusing Customers
I have come across websites with conflicting CTAs. For example, say you have a website that sells shoes.
“Buy Now” is a compelling CTA because it tells the user what they need to do next, but “Leave us your email address and we’ll let you know when new styles are released!” seems like it wants the reader to click both buttons.
When customers are confused about what you want them to do, they’re more likely to leave your website without taking any action at all.
The same applies to visual clutters. The same way you pick up unused toys, scattered magazines, and dirty clothes after you’ve done a major cleanup, you want to go through your website and clean up any visual distractions.
When your website is clean and organized, it becomes easier for customers to find what they’re looking for, and they’re less likely to be confused by your design.
Follow the F Rules
The F-shaped reading pattern was discovered in 2006 by Jakob Nielsen, who found that the average online user scans a website in an F-shaped pattern.
First, they’ll scan the top left corner of the page for the main headline and any other important information.
Then, they’ll move down the left side of the page, scanning for secondary headlines, sub-headlines, and keywords.
Next, they’ll move across the page to the right, scanning for more secondary information.
Finally, they’ll scan the bottom of the page for any additional information or CTA’s.
By following the F-shaped pattern of reading, you’re making sure that your customers can maximize their scan and give more emphasis to important elements on your website. Additionally, you’re ensuring that there’s nothing hidden in the deepest corners of your design that may lead customers astray.
Add a Direct and Big CTA
Your CTA should be among the first things that people see when they visit your website. It should be big, eye-catching, and direct.
It’s an invitation for readers to take action.
Don’t overdo it by making your CTA cover the entire screen. As long as it’s big enough to get your visitors’ attention and there’s enough white space around it, it will work.
If your visitors can’t find the CTA, chances are they won’t be able to click on it either. Make sure you test and refine the placement of your CTA and that it remains consistent across all of your website pages.
Most importantly, use a CTA that conveys value. A CTA like “Subscribe Now” certainly won’t thrill your site’s visitors. So, you want to change it to something like “Subscribe Now to Get a Free Copy of the Report or Case Study” to sweeten the deal.
Use Colours Strategically
Colours play a significant role in website design, and each colour has a different meaning and emotion that it can evoke. Here are some tips on how you can use colours to your advantage:
-Blue is associated with trust, security, and professionalism. It’s a great colour to use for your website’s header and CTA’s.
-Green is associated with nature, health, and freshness. It can be used to create a calming effect on your website’s visitors.
-Pink is associated with femininity, love, and sweetness. It can be used to create a playful and fun atmosphere on your website.
-Red is associated with power, passion, and excitement. It can be used to create a high-energy experience on your website.
The combination of colours you use should send the same message as your CTA’s do.
Be sure to use your colours purposefully and strategically, tying them in with the other elements on your website.
Use Contrasting Colours
Contrasting colours are two colours on the opposing end of the colour wheel. They create a visual contrast that can be used to draw attention to specific elements on your website.
For example, blue and orange are contrasting colours, so you can use them to create a visual contrast between headlines and body text. Or you can use red, black, and white for an elegant contrast that highlights the typography on your website.
The opposite of this principle is called “repetition,” which occurs when you choose colours too close to each other on the colour wheel. This can create a jarring experience for your website’s visitors and make it difficult to read the text on your pages.
Use Whitespace Effectively
Whitespace is the blank space around and between elements on your website. Web designers use it to create a visual break between different sections of your website, giving your visitors’ eyes a chance to rest. Also, it provides breathing room for text, besides giving your website’s design structure and cohesiveness.
It can also be used to draw attention to the most important elements of your website. For example, you can use whitespace between paragraphs or between different homepage sections to highlight specific elements.
You should avoid overcrowding your website with elements that create unnecessary attention and distract visitors from reading or looking at other parts of your design.
Don’t Forget About Typography
Typography is the art and science of selecting, preparing, and arranging type to make written language legible, appealing, and meaningful. In other words, it’s what you use to craft the words on your website.
Choose an appropriate font for your content from the various fonts available to you. Also, be sure to use different font sizes and weights to create a visual hierarchy and contrast on your website.
Use Images and Videos Appropriately
Images and videos can be used to break up the text on your website, add visual interest, and convey your message more effectively. However, you don’t want to use them indiscriminately.
– Only use high-quality images and videos that are relevant to your content.
– Make sure all your images and videos are properly optimized for web use.
– Don’t include too many images or videos on a single page, as this can slow down the loading time of your website.
Use Icons and Illustrations
Icons and illustrations will add personality to your website, making it more memorable for visitors. They’re also useful when you want to convey a specific message or idea using text.
Just like images and videos, you want to make sure that the icons and illustrations you use are high quality and relevant to your site content. You also want to be careful not to overuse them, as this can clutter your website and make it difficult to read.
Use Animation Strategically
Animation is a great way to add interest and excitement to your website. However, you don’t want to use it indiscriminately or overload your website visitors with too much animation.
– Use animation sparingly and only when it is appropriate for your content
– Avoid using too much animation, as it can be distracting and overwhelming
– Make sure all of your animations are smooth and don’t cause any jarring transitions
Make Sure Your Offer Appears Above the Fold
Above the fold refers to the portion of your website that is visible on the screen without requiring visitors to scroll down. It’s a crucial area for getting your message across and encouraging people to visit your website.
– Use above the fold space on your homepage for concise information about what you offer, highlighted benefits, images that support your message, and a strong call to action.
– Don’t include too much information or clutter the space with too many images and videos.
– Be sure to consider what appears above the fold when creating individual content pages on your website.
- Make Sure All Links and Buttons Are Easy to See and Click On
Links and buttons are necessary components that give your visitors the ability to navigate through your website. However, they should not be distracting or difficult for people to see or click on.
– Choose colours that are easy to see against different backgrounds. Also, use contrasting colours for links and buttons so they’re easy to differentiate from other elements on your website.
– Make sure all links and buttons are sized appropriately and placed in a logical location.
– Don’t use too many links or buttons on a single page, as this can be overwhelming and confusing for visitors.
Use a Consistent Navigation Structure
Your website’s navigation structure should be easy to understand and use. It should also be consistent throughout your website so visitors can easily find the information they’re looking for.
– Include a clear and concise main menu at the top of each page.
– Make sure all of your links are properly labelled and organized in a logical, hierarchical structure.
– Avoid burying important links in sidebars or footers. It can be easy to overlook them if they’re not immediately visible.
Include Links to Your Social Media Profiles
If you have social media profiles, it’s helpful to include links to them on your website so people can easily connect with you.
– Include links to your social media profiles either at the top of your homepage or each individual content page on your website.
– Make sure that the official look of each social media site is represented by the icons or images that you choose, as this will help to establish trust with visitors.