Killer Websites: Homepage analysis of

The homepage is your number one most important resource you have for your site to meet its goals. What are good things to have on your homepage? What is the user looking for? These are questions you need to ask. It all comes down to prioritizing what’s important.

The goal of your site should be obtainable from the homepage

If you’re selling a product, it would be a good idea to put products or ‘buy now’ buttons on the homepage, but also important not to dilute the consistency of the page by pushing too many products and telling your users that you want them to buy your stuff. That makes you look desperate. Put a few, perhaps a compelling ‘about us’ section, some social media update feeds like a ‘twitter feed’, and some ways the user can browse your site.

If you’re an informational site, you want the users to read your articles. Putting a feed with excerpts of your newest or featured content would be helpful. If you’re featuring some of your information, it’s beneficial to analyze using Analytics software like Google Analytics to see what type of content your viewers look at the most.

For example, lets say you’re a blog and have 4 categories:

  • Shoes
  • Brews
  • Snooze
  • Crews

If 70% of your users are interested in the “brews” section (for your fantastic beer knowledge), and 10% viewing each of the shoes, snooze, and crews articles, it would be wise to feature something about brews on the homepage, because it is an easy gateway for them to get to the info they’re looking for. This helps your user AND you, especially if you’re monetizing your information site.

In most cases, contact forms are very important. Putting a contact form on the homepage really helps with the number of people contact you. When I moved my contact form on the homepage, I got many more people that contacted me than I got previously.

For godsake, make sure the user knows who you are and what you do

I’ve seen too many times websites that doesn’t describe what their topic is. And in many cases, it’s not easy to identify just at a first glance of the page. This is especially true for generic-looking blog themes that are designed to work for any niche. I’ve also seen it for fancy image sites that want an artistic edge. There’s nothing wrong with either, but if you want traffic and for Search Engines to index more keywords, having a tagline helps immensely. And make it prominent. It doesn’t have to be huge like Mailchimp’s homepage, but let the user know so they have an idea of what they’re looking at. Have a look at this tagline showcase from feedGrids for some inspiration.
Mailchimp's effective large-text tagline

Using images and text…properly

It’s not absolutely required to use images since there’s effective text-only homepages out there, but an image can really compliment what you’re trying to do. Lets evaluate two things: writing and images.

Writing and text are a method of symbolically transferring information, ideas, imagery, etc through the use of characters. These characters form words, and when the brain sees a word, they can use it to translate into images, concepts, and what you’re trying to communicate. It’s effective for saying something in-depth and elaborate. I cannot possibly give you the information you’re reading in this article through an image, so I write it out and use images to compliment what I wrote.

Images are also symbols, but the mind takes one less step by not having to interpret characters into thoughts, because it’s right in front of you. It could still be thought-provoking like artwork, but doesn’t need to be. Images can be used for instantly letting the user know what you’re all about.

Link to your inner pages

You have just a single page to encourage the user to get to the other parts of your website. This is why call-to-action buttons are extremely important. They’ll decrease your bounce rate, while also helping the user find what they’re looking for easily.

An example of an effective homepage

As Pro Blog Design revamped their site recently, lets have a look and see what they’re doing. It shows what it needs to show, and nothing else. Users that visit the site for whatever reason will easily find what they’re looking for. This site uses the 3 most common ways of making money - ad revenue, product sales, and services and organizes that in a clear and concise manner by each of them being a column. I also won’t hide the fact that this was one of my biggest inspirations from a UI/UX perspective for my own homepage revamp (main block + 3-column style highlighting different goals).

At first glance, this is what I saw (numbered by order of prominence):

  1. Banner Images
  2. Tagline
  3. Feature Columns (Blog, Themes, Services)
  4. Call to action buttons
  5. Other Elements

The Header is visible, clean, and not bogged down with anything it doesn’t need like intrusive ads. It’s simply a logo and a navigation menu, so the user will put more emphasis on looking at what’s below and is not distracted by the header at all.

The Tagline is very easy to see - it was the 2nd thing that caught my eye when coming to this page after the main images. I understood the purpose of the site immediately.

The Banner Image is, in this case, featured websites. Since they create websites (as we learned in the tagline), this provides visual support and at the same time showcases some of their work.

The Blog is one of the better known of the web design blogs. They wouldn’t want to lose that on their homepage, and the previous design put far more emphasis on the blog and less on services. Since it has reversed and now the blog is an element within a services page, it’s a good choice to put it in an easy-to-access place… the left column and above the fold. It’s also listed as the first navigation item.

This column is also a feed of information, constantly changing so users can instantly see the new articles, which is also great for search engines since the homepage will constantly be re-indexed.

Their Themes are featured on the homepage, and go to their theme site, PliablePress. Since it’s another one of their three ways of monetizing, it’s justifiably prominent.

The Services offer solutions for what the tagline implies - blog and website design.

Posted Under: Design, Site Reviews, Videos, Web Design by Robin
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ShahinShahShahnur 5 pts

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reeha@inkjet 10 pts

Nice useful post. I acquired lot of pin points about my product selling through that post. especially the tip of using important and interested products info on the homepage for more attraction. great post.


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