Website Content Worksheet

How to Write an Effective Home Page

The ‘Home Page’ is the first page that most people will land on when they click your link in ether search engine results, or a directory listing or even if they see it on Google Maps. That makes it one of the most important pages on your website. The purpose of your home page should be to instantly grab a visitor’s attention and then help them find the information they want as quickly as possible.

If your home page does not have all the facts or the copy is confusing, visitors will just hit the ‘back’ button and go to another website from there. That’s why getting your home page right is extremely important regardless of if you are selling products, services, or building your email list.

Below we’ll discuss a couple of things which should help you come up with some excellent home page copy of your own.

Keep the Content Concise

Most people today have a very short attention span. You have 8 seconds at best to convince a visitor on your website to stick around, and because they are landing on your home page, the copy needs to be well thought of but concise.

Your home page copy has to cut to the chase. Don’t talk about your background, previous work, or anything else but instead tell the reader what they want to know. Tell them how your website can benefit them right off the bat.

Generally speaking, a home page should be an average of 300 words. While businesses write longer home pages, those are mainly just for SEO purposes. Make sure that all the important stuff comes first, and then if you write 1k words for SEO, all of that can be at the bottom. So, in other words, your value proposition should be on the first half of your home page.

In our experience, the exact length of your home page will depend on a myriad of reasons like who your visitors are and what you want them to accomplish on your website. Also, if you can give them the information needed to make a decision right away. You also need to provide them with a solution to their problem in the shortest time possible.

For instance, if you’re running an eCommerce store that sells socks. Instead of your home page detailing how the socks are manufactured, where they come from or your warranty, it should lead with all the discounted socks. Most people searching online for clothes and shoes are looking to save money, so if you give that to them right away, you’re making a sale. It is only within the inner pages that you can detail more information about the stocks sold at your online store.

Use the Target Keywords

Search engines like Google will use keywords to determine your place in their rankings. So, if you want to rank well within your niche, it is essential to include your keywords in the home page texts. Make sure to use the keywords that best describe your business and ones that prospects are using to find you.

While we recommend keyword-rich copy regardless of the industry, it is important not to stuff keywords into your content. Your home page texts should be human-readable and grammatically correct.

You can use a tool like www.wordtracker.com to determine the best keywords to target. The tool also gives you suggestions as to which ones you should target. If you are still not sure what keywords best describe your business, then it would be a good idea to hire an SEO expert to figure it out.

Write Home Page Copy for Your Visitors

To start with, you need to know what your visitors want and what interests them? Many visitors may be searching for an answer to a question; others may land on your page because they want to buy a particular product. So, they have this mentality of “what is in it for me,” and they are looking at your page from this point of view.

90% of visitors on your home page don’t want to read your company’s profile or history. They may probably decide to learn more about what the company is all about later. What they want to know is what is in it for them?

A good test which we’ve used to see if our copy is user-oriented is to count how many times the copy contains the terms “we” and “I.” Compare that with how many times you are using the terms “You” and “Your.” If the “We” and “I” outnumber the “You” and “Your,” then there is a good chance that you’ll lose the reader. You will want to redo at least sections of the copy to improve this ratio.

Focus on Benefits and Not Necessarily Features

Instead of broad generalization about all the features, your product offers, i.e., being fast, being large, being better than 90% out there. Focus on what benefits the reader will get from it. For instance, you will reach work faster, or you’ll look like a million-dollar, and people will respect you.

You will want the home page to focus on the facts and not hype or fluff. If you can further back your statements with data and testimonials to support those claims, then you’ll gain a visitor’s trust. That trust will surely turn into a sale or client sooner or later.

When drafting your copy, make sure that you know the difference between benefits and features. Make a list of both before you write anything. A quick explanation of this is that a feature is something that will help you achieve something. A benefit is how well that product will help a client or customer. As you can see, there is a fine line between the two, but there is most definitely a line that you shouldn’t cross when drafting copy.

Take a Personal Approach

The majority of people will feel comfortable buying from you if they think that you are directly talking to them and addressing their needs. That’s why the copy on your entire website should be friendly and conversational, but it is particularly crucial for the home page. You’ll want to use simple words to best describe how people will benefit. However, if you’re selling a product which is geared towards highly educated people, then speaking to them will mean using complex words so that they take you seriously.

It is perfectly OK to write your home page text in the second person. So, “you” and “your” is fine with the intention of giving your texts a personal feeling.

You will also want to draft home page copy in a way which sort of shows that you’re speaking to a single person. After all your page is going to be read by one person at a time. So, try to make sure that the copy does not speak to the masses but to an individual. Again words that personalize your text matter a lot.

Headlines and Subheadings

Most visitors, unless they like reading (which aren’t many), will be turned off by large blocks of text on your home page. It is imperative to use only catchy headlines with highly informative subheads. The intention of each subheading is to break up what you’re trying to communicate into an easy to understand format. Breaking up the texts also makes your home page easier to scan. So, visitors will be able to quickly see what your business or product is all about and then proceed to read more carefully.

You will want to use the main keywords in the headline and also the subheadings where possible since this will help with boosting SEO. Also, using these keywords makes it easy for visitors to your page to find the search term they used in a search engine, and that quickly tells them that your page is relevant to what they want. So, in a way, you’re hitting it off with them without wasting any time.

Be Excited

Most internet users today are pretty savvy, and they are very skeptical too. So, if you’re filling your content with exaggerations, that will mean that you lose trust. Sure, a little enthusiasm is recommended, but for many newbie writers, it is easy to go overboard.

One way of ensuring that you don’t go overboard is not to use exclamation points, don’t bold a lot of the texts or underline them either. Sure these techniques have their place, but they should be used with discretion. If your home page is too hyped up, that will end up costing you credibility. So, you’ll want to mix equal proportions of believability with enthusiasm, after which the results will speak for themselves.

Proof Before Going Live

You might be on the clock and want the home page to go live ASAP but take the time to proofread the text. Make sure that your punctuation, spelling, and grammar is on point. Don’t copy other businesses and use incorrect grammar regardless of your industry. If anything, incorrect grammar distracts visitors from what you’re conveying, and it makes you look less professional.

PRO TIP

One thing that has worked very well for us is to check back to home page text again in a month. It is sometimes a surprise since the errors we notice seem so easy to spot, and so we wonder how they slipped past us in the first place.

Misspelled words and sentences that don’t make sense are a good way to lose credibility. That’s why even the most seasoned and experienced writers proofread their home page texts multiple times.

If you don’t think that proofing is something that you’re good at, maybe, ask a coworker or friend to take a look. Nothing beats having an extra set of eyes read over and fix a couple of issues.

The Headline

Usually, the headline of your home page or the H1 tag as it is called is the first thing people write. But some copywriters like ourselves leave it for the very end. The reason why we leave it for the end is that the headline matters arguably more than anything else and so we want to make sure that it is the very best in every way possible.

As copywriters, we know that it is not practical to write a headline for 100% of people landing on our website. Trying to make everyone happy is the wrong approach, and that will consequently mean nobody is happy.

In our experience writing for 100% of the people will net you an average conversion rate of 2%. Perhaps that’s why many Fortune 500 companies have low conversion rates.

Before you draft a headline for your home page think who will benefit most from your product or service. You might want to use a tool like SurveyTime.io to find out who your most enthusiastic buyers or clients will be.

Your headline should be geared towards the following type of people:

  • Those who are relatively easily attracted to your service, product or site
  • Are likely to try out your product or service
  • Find your product or service valuable
  • Are likely to refer you or your product to their friends and family

So, your headline should speak to these people first. Then if it attracts others, that’s bonus points for you.

Your headline should have the most unique benefit of your product or service. That should instantly get people hooked and get them to stay on your page to find out more about what you’re offering.

Conclusion

Your home page is one of the most essential pages on your website, but you already know that. However, it is easy to go overboard with trying to make it perfect. Sometimes things will only improve with trial and error. So, don’t worry if you think that the home page text isn’t perfect because it never is when you’re writing it yourself, but it will improve with time and experience.

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