Website Essentials - Part Two: The Home Page Handshake
Welcome to part two of my Website Essentials series! In this installment, I’m going to talk about a page that many business owners struggle to write—the Home page.
I know it’s exciting to welcome people to your website and tell them all about your amazing business.
But here’s the thing: when potential customers land on your Home page, you have only a few seconds to grab their attention.
That means you’ve got to resist the temptation to load up your Home page with every last detail you can think of because it’ll overwhelm folks and run them away.
Instead, stick to answering the burning questions on people’s minds that led them to your site in the first place.
Who Are You and What Do You Do?
Make a statement that tells people what you’re about and how you can serve them, and tell them upfront, without making them search all over the page to figure it out.
Think of this statement as an elevator pitch for your website—a concise message about who you are and what you do. I call it the “Home Page Handshake,” or “HPH” for short.
Now, the HPH isn’t your whole life’s story. It’s a one-two punch that lets people know they’ve found the perfect resource to get the thing they want or the ideal solution to their problem.
Don’t meander on for paragraph after paragraph; people’s attention spans are too short for that. Instead, keep it brief.
If you can sum up your “who” and “what” in a short tagline or statement about what you offer, or the results people can expect, that’s great. Remember: you only have a few seconds to grab those eyeballs, so make ‘em count.
Wondering how this looks in real life? Check out this example from one of my superstar clients who owns a mediation company. Here’s her tagline:
“Empowering You to Choose Your Course”
And here’s what she delivers:
“Real Solutions to Family and Business Disputes through Mediation”
In just 15 words, you know that if you have a conflict with a family member or business associate, you’ve found someone who can help you solve those problems through the mediation process.
And you also know that the process will leave you feeling empowered and in control of the path you took to get those problems solved. See how that works?
Let’s look at another one. This example comes from my client’s cupcakery website. First, the tagline:
“Making Life Sweeter, One Treat at a Time.”
And here’s how they deliver on that promise:
“You deserve desserts that delight. And my delicious confections do just that. From my Orlando, Florida ‘cupcakery,’ I’m serving up mouth-watering desserts perfect for any occasion. But no need to wait for a special time – treat yourself to a sweet reward today!”
Makes you want a cupcake, right? That’s the whole point of the HPH: grab ‘em and reel ‘em in.
Who Do You Serve?
If you haven’t already gotten clarity on your “who,” then now is the time. Think about who you want to help and incorporate that into your Home page.
Once you get clear on your messaging, potential customers who land on your website will feel like you’re talking to them directly. They’ll feel like you understand exactly what they need and you’re the right person to deliver it.
Take this example from my client’s home staging website:
“Selling your home? Excite house hunters with the home of their dreams and quickly get to that closing table. You see, people don’t buy houses—they buy homes. And we’re here to make sure your house feels comfy and cozy as soon as potential buyers walk through your front door.”
This short message conveys that the company serves people who are putting their house on the market and want some help with the process. And it connects with the reader by tapping into their biggest desire—making their house attractive so they can sell it quickly.
Think about exactly who you’re targeting and speak to them. And remember: if you’re talking to everybody, you’re not talking to anybody, so don’t be afraid to get laser-focused on your ideal audience.
What Do You Offer That’s Exactly What They’re Looking For?
This part is where I see a lot of folks miss the mark. But fortunately, you’re reading this, so you’re about to knock it out of the park.
Make sure you include a section on your Home page that at least previews your products or services and gives people a taste of how your offers are perfect for them.
You won’t go into all the details here—that’s why it’s a preview. Just give people enough to show them what you offer so they know they're in the right place. And then, you’ll make sure those previews link to your detailed products or services pages.
We’ll get into this in more detail in part 4 of this series when we delve into products and services pages, so make sure you catch that post.
Why Should They Believe You’ve Got the Goods?
Now, after you’ve done everything I’ve recommended up to this point, some of your potential customers will be ready to make a purchase or book your services. But most people need to know more by way of social proof.
Build your “know, like, and trust” factor by sharing testimonials or reviews from people you’ve served who got awesome results. If you’ve never collected customer reviews before, go ahead and reach out now. Satisfied customers are usually happy to help.
And when you request reviews, give your clients some guidance so you can get good, usable information. Ask them to tell you about the results they got from working with you or how your product helped them.
How Can They Connect with You?
There are many ways you can invite visitors to connect with you on your Home page. Don’t worry about using all of them, though.
The goal is to start building a relationship with your potential clients, so when you’re deciding how to invite them to connect, keep your end goal in mind, and use that to create a Call-to-Action (“CTA”).
A contact form at the end of your Home page is a great way for you to invite people to connect with you by sending you a message or making an inquiry.
You may prefer to have a separate page on your website for the Contact form, so it’s up to you to decide what’s best.
But keep in mind that not everyone wants to fill out a form, so consider another invitation to connect.
There are many other types of CTAs you can try, like an invitation to join your email list, download a free guide or checklist, book a consultation, book a discovery call, etc.
The point is that you want to include a CTA on your Home page because some people aren’t ready to buy your products or book your services at the moment they visit your site, but they’re still interested in what you offer.
You don’t want to risk them forgetting about you or not coming back to your site later, so if you connect with them and stay in touch, you’ll be top of mind when they’re ready to move forward.
Next week’s topic is the "About" page, and I’m going to dispel some myths about what you should (and shouldn’t) say on this essential website page. You don’t want to miss that one, so if you’re not already on my email list, make sure you subscribe today so you can get the next blog post hot off the press.
And if you’ve got a website that you know needs help right away, head on over to my Website Review service. You’ll get my feedback on your entire website and an action plan so you can quickly make improvements without spending tons of money or endless hours trying to figure it out on your own.
by Jennifer Westbrook | JenWestWriting