Home page content – What do you actually need to say?

What does your home page do for you? If it’s an old-style affair, you’re probably missing a trick or two.  

In the olden days a home page was the place where you bunged all the information you possibly could in an effort to tell the full range of visitor types who you were, what you did, for whom, where, how and why.

Typically text-heavy and feature-led, home page content had a seriously big branding and direct response job to do. Unless you were already a household-name brand, your home page had to win trust in an early adopter’s world where the majority of people treated ecommerce with suspicion. And it had to cover an awful lot of ground to achieve its goals.

Now things are different. Ecommerce went mainstream years ago, users trust the internet and home page content plays a different, benefit-led role. More like traditional direct marketing, it’s about snagging the right people’s interest, making it super-easy to find everything they need, honing in on the information your most important visitors want to see and presenting everything in an engaging enough way to keep them on-site.

Home page content confusion

Some of the people I work with are hell bent on including as much copy on their home page as possible to cover every possible eventuality. Others are keen to create home pages containing no written content whatsoever. Neither is a good idea. Too much copy puts humans off, too little means search engines can’t tell what the page is about and can’t index it properly. How do you get it right?

13 things to include in your home page content 

  1. use the same navigation as you use on internal site pages for consistency. There’s no need to be clever and creative. It’s much more important to keep things simple
  2. make the navigation absolutely crystal clear so nobody can get lost
  3. if your business name and logo don’t make it clear what you do, add a strapline that does
  4. start with an image or sentence that elegantly encapsulates the benefits of your products or services
  5. explain things clearly and simply, with no ‘read more’ or links to extra info
  6. target your message squarely at people who want to buy products or services like yours instead of catering to the needs of visitors from every stage in the sales funnel
  7. use quality visuals to support your message – if you need to explain an image it isn’t doing a proper job
  8. answer the most frequently asked questions that people ask about your stuff
  9. pick a maximum of three key terms to concentrate on, incuding your brand name
  10. wander off-piste below the fold if you want. The old below/above the fold things is way out of date. If your content is good enough people will keep reading. If it isn’t, they won’t
  11. incorporate a couple of good testimonials, reviews or news items to boost your credibility
  12. Remember a call to action! It’s essential, but something far too many people forget
  13. include social media buttons so people can follow you on impulse without having to hunt for links

What happens when you get it right?

  • judicious use of key terms means your home page gets indexed for those terms
  • you attract more relevant visitors who are at the sharp end of the sales funnel
  • because you give them what they want, they stay on your site for longer and explore farther…
  • … and more of them become customers

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