I taught fourth grade for over a decade. I remember the fear in some of the kids’ eyes when confronted with a blank page of paper and being asked to write something. Some of us have that same fear when it comes to dealing with a completely blank website. I totally get it. We all have some ideas, but it’s really hard to know where to start.
To help those kids get started, sometimes I would give them a template for what to write. Having an outline and a starting point somehow made the task seem much less scary and much more do-able. Sometimes we all need a little guidance to help us get going. Once we get started, though, it’s much easier to keep going and finish the task.
Now that I’m a web developer, I sometimes give my clients a similar template to help them get started with their websites. Just having an outline for the homepage is usually enough to get the momentum going! Clients often tell me that they appreciated the jump start. And, they often say that there are things on the template or list that they wouldn’t have otherwise thought to add! So, if you’re asking yourself, “What should I put on my homepage?” you’re in the right place!
On most websites, the home page follows one of a few different patterns:
1. A big, well-designed menu for all the other pages with no other real content.
2. A big header, followed by sections that are teasers/ parts of the other pages.
3. A sales or lead generation landing page that leads the visitor through the pitch.
4. A blog roll page with excerpts from featured or the latest posts.
The menu & blog roll have content that is already decided, and designing a sales pitch landing page is a whole other topic. The majority of solopreneur and small business websites (or at least the ones I work with) follow the pattern in #2 above- they have a big header image & some title text, followed by sections that highlight parts of the other pages.
This tends to work really well for most small businesses, because they can give a lot of information and focus on what they want to feature without requiring that the visitor go through their entire site. Plus, if you’re just starting out, you can begin with just the sections all on one page, and then build out those other pages as you go.
All of these examples are easily built (or pre-made for you) if you’re using the Divi theme for your WordPress website.
Here are some suggestions for what to put on your website’s home page:
A big image or design with the name of your business & your tagline over or next to it. This is also a good place to put your most important call to action and a prominent button. You know, just in case they don’t scroll…
Here are two example of hero images from websites I’ve built for women solopreneurs (a hypnotist & a writer):
Important or Urgent Information
Your current clients will be using your site (in addition to your potential clients), so it’s important to make sure they have access to any urgent or important information that they might be looking for. Highlight upcoming event dates, sales or special deals, new or featured products, or recent awards.
Add a short paragraph about you or your company. You really only need a picture and enough so that your visitors can get a sense of who you are. You can add a ‘read more’ button that leads to your about page, so they can read your full story if they are interested. This is also a good place to add your social media follow buttons.
A Way to Contact You
This one is (obviously) super important! Your website visitors need a way to get in touch with you if they want to work with you or ask you questions. Make sure to include a contact form or other way for them to reach out.
Featured Products or Services
Your website’s home page is a great place to showcase a few of your most popular products and get people to click through to your store. If you offer services insted, you can choose 3-4 of your most popular services and highlight those on your home page. The goal here is to show off a smaller selection of what you offer, to get people to click through and find out more.
If you’re just starting out, you may not have any reviews or feedback yet. But as soon as you start selling your products or taking on clients, make sure to ask them for testimonials. It’s important to have positive feedback from the people who work with you, because it shows social proof that other people are happy with your work. If you have a few reviews, you can show all of them. But, once you get to a point where you have many, many reviews, you might want to make a slider or some other way for people to scroll through all of them more easily.
An Email Opt In
If you have an email list, definitely include that on your home page as well. It gives potential clients and customers a way to stay in contact with you.
Photo Gallery / Social Media Feed
We all know that pictures are worth a thousand words. By including a few photos in a small gallery or by pulling the latest posts from your Instagram feed, potential clients can get a lot of information about you in an instant.
Closing Call to Action
Give your potential clients something to DO when they get to the bottom of the page! Include one or two buttons with clear calls to action. Things like ‘contact me,’ ‘read more about X,’ ‘book an appointment,’ ‘subscribe to our newsletter,’ ‘get your free ebook,’ or ‘visit our store’ are great examples of clear calls to action that let your visitors know what they can do next if they are still interested.