“You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.” When analyzing the effectiveness of your website, you have to consider your ability to persuade visitors to browse your site or in other words “drink”. Leading them to your website is only the first step. Encouraging visitors to surf your site begins at Home. Your Home page is one of the key components of your website that determines whether or not visitors will want to learn more about your organization. Here are a few suggestions for creating a user-friendly Home page.
- Less is more. It is a common misconception that every product and service your company offers should be highlighted on the Home page. If there is too much information on your Home page, visitors may feel too overwhelmed to continue throughout the site. For example, several components on one page may send mixed messages as it relates to your brand and product offerings. Visitors may not know where to go or have a clear understanding of what you offer. Instead of including snippets of your entire website on the Home page, highlight the areas of your website that you want visitors to engage in the most. Use the rest of the website to expand on various topics. For example, use side banners to highlight diverse topics.
- Too little, too late. Too much information is not good, but too little may be worse. If your Home page does not give visitors adequate information they may leave the site, because they can not find what they are seeking. Your Home page should be a glimpse into the greatness that is your website. Give visitors a sample that will make them want to browse the entire site. Use compelling graphics and links interchangeably to tell a brief story.
- Lights, Camera, Action? An exciting website can draw attention and create buzz. However too many bells and whistles can reduce the value and even validity of the information. This is not a stage production or the latest blockbuster. This is your website. When determining design elements, functionality and appropriate technology for the Home page, make sure each supports the content rather than overshadows it. Content on the Home page should tell who you are, what you do, how the visitor can interact with you and how you benefit the visitor. Remember, bells and whistles ignite the visitor’s interest, but adequate content keeps the visitor’s interest.