The purpose of a website homepage is to get the visitor to understand what the company does and decide if they will consider buying a product or service. The homepage doesn’t close a sale. It sets up the closing. There seems to be some confusion about the purpose of the homepage. So if you want to learn how the homepage sets up a conversion and the elements used to set up a sale, keep reading.
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A client recently called me and wanted to use their website’s primary product page as their homepage. The rationale was, “It’s what we do, so why wouldn’t we want it to be our homepage?” It is a compelling argument that makes sense on the surface. But it is not a good idea in practice. While homepage elements should include product and service information, separate and dedicated homepage and product pages still provide the best user experience and the best way to optimize a website for search engines. As I explained this to the client, they asked, “So what’s the purpose of a website’s homepage.”
The Purpose of the Homepage
If your business has a website, the purpose of your homepage is to tell visitors what the business does and how it solves a problem. Most people looking for business websites have a problem. They are searching the internet for solutions. When they click on a link to a website, they think the business can solve their problem. Therefore, a visitor should first see a clear statement about what the business does and how it solves the visitor’s problem. For example, if you own a residential cleaning company, the messaging at the top of your website homepage should clearly state, “We clean houses.” That’s what the company does.
Next, state the problem that’s solved. In this case, the problem may be that the visitor hates to clean, or maybe the person does not have time to clean. You can solve both problems with a single message. “We will leave your house sparkling clean, saving you time to spend doing things you love to do.” This message should be reinforced through images, videos, and supporting text. As a result, visitors dive deeper into your site to learn more. If the visitor is looking for a maid service and your homepage is set up properly, they quickly know your company should be in the consideration set. If you can’t solve their problem, they will bounce off to another website whose company can solve their problem. Getting your business considered by new visitors is the main purpose of a website homepage.
Content that establishes Expertise, Authority, and Trust
Now that your business is being considered, the rest of the content on the home page should establish expertise, authority, and trust. Start with a preview of the products and services the business offers. This preview should highlight important features with a bullet-point list. Additional elements are a feature-specific image, and a link to a separate product or service page. The separate product or service page provides all the details needed to close the sale. By establishing expertise and authority in your industry, people are more apt to click on other pages on your site. This results in people spending more time engaging with your content.
Customers often make purchase decisions based on testimonials. The homepage is a great place to showcase a few well-written reviews. Third-party review sites collect and publish verified testimonials and give credibility to your testimonials. Additionally, if your company belongs to professional organizations like the local Chamber of Commerce, the Better Business Bureau, or Angi’s List, make sure you display those emblems on your homepage. These emblems provide credibility, earn trust, and help people make purchase decisions. To learn more about how expertise, authority, and trust play a role in SEO, read our recent article, “If You’re Hungry for Higher Google Rankings, It’s Time to Eat!”
Trash that Contact Form
One thing a homepage does not need is a contact form. The contact form is the least preferred method of contacting a company. According to an article published by UX Collective, when someone has a time-sensitive inquiry, the preferred contact method is live chat, followed by email. From a website-building perspective, elaborate contact forms often require special plugins that introduce additional HTLM and CSS code. This code can slow down page rendering and contribute to poor user experience. Contact forms are simply not worth it, especially since visitors don’t use forms when more preferred methods of contact are available.
Homepage SEO Considerations
We tell clients that companies need to be known for what they do, not who they are. People will never search Google for your company name unless they know it already. So, don’t spend time and resources optimizing your company name if your company is not a household name like Amazon, Coca-Cola, or Ford Motor Company. Unless your website is blocked from crawling, when someone does search for your name, your site will be listed on the search engine results page, I promise.
A homepage should be optimized for what the company does. Pick keywords that relate directly to the products and services offered. Additionally, pick a keyword that you can rank for. If you offer residential cleaning services, it may be hard to rank for the keyword Maid Service. But if you offer 1-hour maid service, a keyword like “Express Maid Service” might be easier to rank for and get conversions quickly. To learn more about Keyword Research, read our article “5 Keyword Research Steps to Create Winning Content”.
One thing that often makes optimizing the homepage a challenge is the website URL. The URL is a big factor in SEO and is often yourcompanyname.com. But this is not helpful when you want to optimize for what you do. Some companies get around it by buying domain names that reflect what they do instead of their name. For instance, some law firms use domains like theinjurylawyers.com instead of the firm’s actual name. This can be part of a successful SEO strategy.
Conclusion on the Purpose of a Website Homepage
The purpose of a website homepage is to get the company considered for hire. Once in the consideration set, the job of the homepage is to establish expertise and authority within the company’s industry. And finally, building trust through testimonials and professional associations inches the visitor toward conversion. The goal is to keep the visitor engaged with your content and stay on the site for as long as possible. When the visitor clicks on pages deeper into the website, the homepage has done its job.
Sand Key Ventures is a website company focusing on user experience daily. We build new websites and provide SEO services to keep websites running clean and Google happy. Call us at 727-249-2749 to discuss what Sand Key Ventures can do for you. You can also send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you prefer to copy and paste the email link, here it is email@example.com. Thanks for your time, but now we’ve gotta run. We have websites to build and audit, blogs to write, eCommerce to manage, and photos to edit. Until next time, take care.