Your homepage is your shop front. It’s where prospects become customers. That process needs to begin fast; the average person scans a website for just 15 seconds before they either ‘bounce’, leaving without engaging with your message, or they click something. And 15 seconds’ reading isn’t much. So your homepage needs to begin their buyer journey straight away.
Here’s a few tips on how to write a homepage that does that.
- Know your elevator pitch.
With so little time to engage your reader, you need to get straight to the point. How would you explain what you do and, more importantly, how it benefits your customers, to a stranger in a lift?
Keep your homepage just as concise. You might have to cut out some of your finest work, and that can hurt – but less is more. Edit until every word is fundamental to the message.
- Remember – customers want to know one thing: ‘What’s in it for me?’.
So you’ve created a stellar product and, naturally, you want to showcase all the bells and whistles. But doing so can overload your copy with technical, inaccessible or overly descriptive language. Suddenly it’s less effective in achieving your goal.
Here’s an example from a luggage brand we worked with. A product description, for a high-end suitcase, originally read like this:
- Patented contour grip
- Duraguard coating
- 360º wheels with a unique bottom tray stabilising the wheels
- Expandable via circumferential zipper
- Supra zipper heads
- PowerScope handle
- Convenient two-way zippers on both compartments
- Limited 5 years global warranty
See how it’s full of language the average reader is unlikely to understand (‘PowerScope’, ‘Supra’, ‘bottom tray’)? Chances are, they still don’t know why they should choose this suitcase. It’s all about the product’s features, not the benefits of buying it.
Think from the customer’s own perspective. How will it improve their life? What does it give them, or help them with, or save them time on?
Another way to list those same attributes might be:
- No stresses on your hands with the contoured handle grip
- No worries of weather damage to the water- and mud-repellent coating
- Smoother journeys with the stabilised, 360° wheels
- Expandable zippers to create extra space when you need it
- Quick access to everything in your case with cleverly arranged pockets and compartments
- Handles and zippers you can be sure won’t break at a critical moment
- More control with the sturdy, wobble-free handle
- Guaranteed durability, however often you travel, with a 5 year global limited warranty
- Keep it simple.
The average adult reading age in the UK is around 11 years old. Could a child easily understand your homepage?
- Using short sentences?
- Using plain English?
- Avoiding abbreviations where you can?
- Avoiding industry jargon?
- Get your tone of voice right.
Visualise your target customer. How do they talk? Colloquially, conversationally, formally,? That’s how you should too. It’s a key part of your brand. Crafting a distinct tone of voice for your business means knowing your audience, like their age, their interests, perhaps the kinds of jobs they do – then consistently using the same kinds of language they do.
Start by creating a few ‘customer personas’ – profiles of a few fictional people who represent your target customer. Like “Emma, 44 year old English teacher from Wrexham, who likes cycling, wine and dogs” or “Tayyib, 23 year old Finance Assistant from Hull, who’s into boxing, cricket and cars”. Imagine how Emma or Tayyib might talk – and channel their personalities in your copy.
5. Choose one goal and spell it out.
Whatever you want from your reader – make a purchase, submit their contact details, visit your Amazon page – they need a clear ‘call to action’ that shows them what to do next. A call to action is usually a button or link below your copy. Fewer words is better; ‘buy’, ‘get in touch’, ‘download the demo’ will do just fine. A sense of urgency or timeliness can drive more clicks too, like ‘buy now’ or ‘buy today’.
Mark Williams is Founder & Content Lead at Lightbox Content Agency. Need help writing a homepage that sells? Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call on 0113 433 4477.