Any web designer worth his/her salt knows that your homepage is the first thing your potential customers sees. Now, you’ve probably heard this many times before, but it bears repeating. Because frankly, if your homepage isn’t doing its best, you could be losing a lot of business. So if you’re wondering how to generate more leads from your website, it’s a good idea to start with your homepage!
Having said that, let’s look at a specific vertical & the common mistakes we see. For this case we will be looking at a wedding planning business. Here are the most common mistakes and how to fix them…
Web Designer Mistake #1 – Lacks Sufficient Info
This one sound like a no-brainer. But, as a local Houston web designer we often come across wedding businesses that make visitors fish around for the info they want. Trust us, that’s the last thing a bride, or groom, wants to do!
Fix It: As the first page your visitors will see, your homepage should clearly answer WHO YOU ARE, WHAT YOU DO, and HOW TO CONTACT YOU. All in less than a few seconds, at the most!
Make sure to have your email address, phone number, mailing address, and social media links on your homepage. It’s an even better idea to include this information on the footer of your entire website. That way, the visitors can have access to your contact info everywhere they go. Plus, this is also helpful in getting your business listed in the local search results. Because it makes it easier for local customers to find you.
Your web designer needs to use well-written content to effectively communicate what you do. Help your visitors know they have come to the right place. Use high-quality images (no stock photos please!), short and compelling taglines, and jargon-free language to communicate the unique benefits your business. This will pique the interests of your visitors and encourage them to explore further.
Web Designer Mistake #2 – Flash
A Flash animated intro with an audio running in the background may seem like a cool idea to impress your site’s visitors. The truth is, you run the risk of annoying those who may not want to spend any extra time before they’re able to access your homepage.
Flash not only tests your visitors’ patience but can also do more serious damage to your site’s performance. For instance, in a website based entirely around Flash, the homepage has visuals in place of text. And, since search engines can’t read it, you lose all SEO value (no matter how good it looks). Plus, Flash doesn’t work on iOS, and it’s not mobile friendly.
Fix It: Ditch Flash for HTML5. While HTML5 does most of the things that Flash can, it’s ‘readable’ by search engines. Because Google like websites that work well on mobile, you should remove Flash and focus on getting your site mobile-optimized.
Also, Google now counts site speed as a ranking factor. You should focus on delivering the fastest desktop and mobile-friendly experience. Test your website’s speed by using Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool.
Web Designer Mistake #3 – Not Location Optimized
When couple starts researching potential wedding planners, they are looking for someone local. For instance, if a bride or groom has been looking online for the wedding planner, they are most likely to type “wedding planners in [city/region].” Failing to optimize your homepage with proper keywords along with your LOCATION will make sure you don’t show up for this type of search query.
Fix It: As a local business, it’s necessary that you include the city or region you serve prominently on your homepage. Make sure to have the full address with the state and zip code, phone number, and business hours clearly spelled out for visitors. You can also use a custom Google map to show the service area and driving directions.
Also, make sure that you have your targeted city/region and relevant keywords included in your homepage content. These are basic local SEO techniques that most web designers miss.
Web Designer Mistake #4 – Not Proving What You’re Saying
In other words, your homepage isn’t credible enough.
You are trying to promote your business so it’s only natural that you’d talk about its positives. Its perfectly natural to show what are others saying about you. That’s what a bride-to-be would want to know, right?
Fix It: Add real testimonials or snippets of ‘thank-you’ letters you may have received from previous clients. By showing off the great experience ‘real’ people have had using your product or service, you come off as more credible.
You could even include photos or videos of happy customers endorsing your business. For example, if you are a wedding photographer, you could display some of your best wedding shots on your homepage. Visitors may feel inspired and ask you to recreate something similar for them.
If you have more testimonials to show, create a CTA (call to action) button, asking visitors to “see more” and leading them to a separate testimonials page.
Web Designer Mistake #5 – Too Much Going On
Some businesses try to cram as many elements as they can into every square inch of their homepage. After all, you need to grab the attention of your visitors. And, what better way to do so than to put tons of videos, images, blinking mail icons or flashing banners and buttons, right? Wrong!
A homepage that’s too cluttered makes your site look completely outdated and slows it down. But the worst part is, it confuses your visitors and prompts them to turn their back and run.
Fix It: Opt for a clean design and layout that provides visual relief with clever use of white space. While images, videos, and buttons can enhance the user experience, going overboard with them will have the opposite effect. But remember, it’s necessary to place them strategically on your homepage. That is if you want to get maximum impact.
At the same time, this ‘less is more’ approach doesn’t necessarily have to be boring. The right web designer will make your homepage look minimalist yet stunning. Improving its navigation & usability. Which always has a positive impact on your conversions and sales.
If you’ve spotted any of these mistakes on your homepage, you should fix them right away. Or, you can call our local web designer team at ProEngage Local for a free website consultation.