What is the secret sauce for a high-converting homepage?
You can spend dozens of hours carefully designing a website that looks beautiful. It can have attractive multimedia elements, like animations and embedded video. The site could flow perfectly on any screen size. It may feature your product or service prominently, with eye-catching images and carefully-crafted copy.
But all that effort could go to waste if visitors don’t become customers.
Creating a high-converting homepage doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, there are proven, tested formulas that can lead to more website visitors clicking that CTA – and following through.
What is a High-Converting Homepage?
We can define a high-converting homepage as one that meets the following criteria:
- Loads quickly (less than 3 seconds) on any platform
- Immediately and clearly identifies your product or service as a high-value solution
- Demonstrates the benefits your product or service offers to customers
- Envisions the customer / site visitor as a “hero” for solving their problem
- Steers site visitors on the path to signing up, purchasing, etc.
In this context, “converting” means the website visitor is accomplishing a goal established by you, the site owner. This isn’t always necessarily making a purchase. In fact, very few website visitors buy something their first time there.
Instead, your conversion goals should be more realistic, and less off-putting to visitors, than immediately asking for their hard-earned money. Conversions can include
- Sign up for your email newsletter
- Ask for more information via email or postal mail
- Request a consultation, estimate, or quote
How to Plan a High-Converting Homepage
Now that you have a better understanding of what makes a conversion, you can plan how to design our website’s homepage to increase the conversion rate. That’s the percentage of website visitors who click and follow through on a CTA.
We can lay this out in four steps.
1. Identify Your Buyer Persona
In brief, the buyer persona is your customer profile.
Use the classic journalism trick of “5W1H” – Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How – to start creating a buyer persona. It’s not just knowing who your customers are, but why they want to buy from you. What are their motivations? When do they need solutions? How are they addressing the problem now, and how could they do better? Where do they live, work, and play?
As we’ve written previously, understanding your buyer’s journey is essential to crafting an accurate buyer persona. When you know your customer better than they know themselves, you can communicate in their terms and appeal to them more effectively.
2. Create Your CTAs
Next, you’ll want to pin down your conversion goals, and come up with appropriate calls to action. Again, you don’t necessarily want “buy now” to be your conversion goal. Unless your product or service is in very high demand, immediately asking the website visitor to fork over cash is probably not going to be a successful strategy.
Instead, determine what you want your website to do for you. Do you want to connect visitors with someone in sales? Are you rolling out an email newsletter? Are you offering a course or other marketing collateral – perhaps as a lead magnet?
Write down your conversion goals and how you want to implement them. If you’re having trouble, consider contacting a digital marketing firm for help.
3. Design the Homepage
As you might expect, this step is the biggest and most challenging in the process. It’s also the most rewarding.
At BizTraffic, we recommend the excellent High-Converting Homepage Template created by Ryan Deiss at DigitalMarketer. This is a premium product, so we can’t recreate it here, but we’ll give you a general idea, so you can decide if it sounds like something you’d like to try.
In essence, a high-converting homepage has a focus on speed and clarity, with prominently-placed CTA buttons and links. The DigitalMarketer homepage itself is a great example, and we based our own homepage on this formula.
Here are some of the common elements you’ll find in high-converting homepages:
A Top Menu
This might seem obvious, but it’s important to make it easy for visitors to easily navigate your website. A great way to do this is with a simple menu at the top of each page. The menu should have links to the major sections of your website, with a CTA button in the top-right corner.
A Hero Image
The big photo or illustration you see at the top of many homepages is often called a “hero image” or “hero shot.” Ideally, a high-converting homepage will attempt to show the customer as the hero, solving a problem or improving their situation thanks to your product or service. An eye-catching image works, too.
You’ve identified your CTAs, so deploy them! In addition to the menu, include your primary CTA in a prominent place on the homepage. Make sure it’s immediately visible no matter what kind of screen is used to access the homepage: a desktop PC, a mobile phone, or a tablet. A secondary CTA can be used nearby as well.
Give your website visitors a reason to trust you. This can be done by showing news media coverage highlights, customer testimonials, product ratings on Google and Yelp, or some of your better-known customers and partners (if you’re B2B).
Product / Service Explanation
Include a brief section that illustrates in simple terms what your product or service is, what it does, and how it can make the customer into a hero for their company, customers, family, or by fulfilling whatever other needs you identified in their buyer persona. Then, use this simple explanation as a gateway to greater detail on another page, via a strategically-placed CTA.
Button it Up With Another CTA
The bottom area of your homepage, above the footer, is another great opportunity to convert. Use a contrasting color or photo as a background, then invite the visitor to Sign Up, Learn More, Request a Quote, Get a Free Consultation, or complete any other important CTA that aligns with your goals.
4. Go Live
After you’ve designed your high-converting homepage, it’s time to execute. It might be helpful to sketch the design on a whiteboard or notebook paper, then use that as a reference. If you’re using a major CMS like WordPress or Wix, there are lots of helpful tools available that can make the process easier.
The website building stage will involve a lot of trial and error. Be sure to have co-workers, colleagues, and friends take a look. Ask for advice on what’s working, and opportunities for improvement. If you get bogged down, don’t be afraid to ask a professional for suggestions.
The Bottom Line
The homepage is the most important part of your website, and it deserves the most attention. Even if you’ve had a website up and running for years, it’s not too late to try a different approach. Thoughtful design can make an immediate and significant difference in conversions, which means more customers and business growth!