When you first hear about a company, what’s the first page you look at on their website? When you Googled them, did you click on the result for their About page? The homepage? Or was it a post or landing page you saw first. Any page on your site can be an entry page for visitors, but three of them get the most visibility.
Duh. The page displayed at your root domain name is the most obvious entry point. It’s your front door, the big window on the sidewalk everyone’s supposed to see. Make it gorgeous. But it’s not meant for visitors to stick around ogling. They need to move. All that cool look and feel stuff must compel visitors to leave your homepage ASAP and take the step toward contacting you.
The tall, wide area below your logo and navigation is frequently called the banner. In the dark ages, this is where you might put an animated slideshow. We now know better. Pick one of those slides and make it static. This is your primary call to action, the most important thing you want customers to do. Switch this slide for a different one as often as you want as your promotions or offers change. Just don’t animate it.
Effective banners use a professionally taken picture or graphic. If you don’t have one already, start a relationship with a local photographer to take sweet pics of your staff, products, building and help produce other images your marketing team needs. Complement the image with concise marketing copy written in your brand voice. Finish with a clearly marked navigation button that commands visitors to Go, Start, Join, Find or whatever verb works for you.
Below your banner area, add subordinate calls to action and links to other relevant content. Many businesses spotlight their most important services with a brief description. Consider adding a video introduction or other interactive media. Keep it short, just a few nuggets of info and end each nugget with the same kind of strong call to action that works in the banner. Use the space below the banner to expand on what you do and usher customers closer to a sale.
Also titled About, Meet the Team, or Staff, this page is the second most visited after your homepage. Everyone wants to know who you are, where you’re located and most importantly, your story (the short version). There’s no right or wrong way to present this page, but it needs to answer those questions. Start with a short paragraph or two introducing your business. Follow that quickly with a picture of you or the team. If nobody’s photogenic, or your audience is the industrial market, a picture of your building works too.
The point of About Us is to verify your identity. It needs to make your business look real and present evidence for your trustworthiness. Give readers links to specific pages they should read next, or a specific action. It’s a great place to link to case studies and testimonials. Once customers enter your site, lead them through to the finish where they’ll call or contact you.
Landing Pages from Ads and Promos
These are the brief, tightly composed pages your visitors find when they click links on your digital ads and other promotions. They typically contain a brief description of a download with a short form to collect an email address in exchange. There’s not much writing and few pictures. Brevity just means you need to pay closer attention to each part.
Craft landing pages with the same care taken on the homepage. Strategically write and design calls to action and invest in good photographs or graphics. Tell visitors precisely what to do and make it clear how to contact you. Monitor these pages to see what visitors do. Did they call, download, subscribe or buy? Revise the page content and structure until it works.
Don’t Forget The Sidebar
Your homepage probably won’t have a sidebar. Most landing pages don’t have a sidebar. Your About page does. Your blog posts do. Sidebar are the perfect spot for low intensity calls to action. Put your phone number at the top, include a Recent Posts widget, link to social media pages or add an email newsletter signup. Keep it to three or four items. Your sidebar should never be taller than your About page and you’ll be fine.
Polish and optimize entry pages to exceed your visitors’ expectations. Make these pages sparkle with rich media, obvious navigation options and clear calls to action. It’s easy to write 300 words that end with “call me!” But useful, skimmable content with relevant visuals immediately sets your pages apart.
Want to know more about improving your website? Use our website self-audit tool to see what you do well and what you’re missing.