Clay Harper, Small Business Performance Expert, Infusionsoft

Clay Harper is an Infusionsoft employee of 3+ years, with experience in a variety of roles all having one common theme- helping entrepreneurs. He’s made it a point to stick around in customer facing roles because solving problems is one of his passions. And I’ll be the first to add that he’s darn good at it too. He’s got a level-headed, no-nonsense approach that really resonates with lots of folks.  In addition to his passion for helping small businesses, Clay is an accomplished traveler, business owner, and professional beekeeper (For real).  Anyway, I asked him to write, and here’s the awesome outcome.

3 Tips to Improve Your Website’s Homepage

“What do you think of my website?” is a question I am frequently asked by my consulting clients. Whether these entrepreneurs are do-it-yourselfers who made their own wordpress site or they paid thousands to a web designer to get it done, they all want to know if their website’s homepage is making a good impression.

Tell me truly… If you had a consistently underperforming employee, wouldn’t you fire them? Surely, you’d let them go? With great gusto you would!

Your website’s homepage is no different and it has three jobs that it must accomplish! Your homepage must:

1. Welcome and inform visitors about your business
2. Persuade to engage with your website
3. Obtain an email address/phone number

Homepages that accomplish this start on the right footing with customers, get visitors to interact more with their site and convert more visitors into email addresses, phone numbers and ultimately sales.

Welcome and Inform:

I believe it was Tolstoy who penned that “All happy websites are alike, but that each unhappy website is unhappy in its own way.” If you look at enough websites you notice that the good ones tend to have white backgrounds, use non-primary colors, and are tightly organized. They show rather than tell and they are judicious in their use of stock photography.

welcome_matYour website is the face of your business so it needs to be unique to you, but realize people have already figured out how to make a good website. You aren’t going to suddenly invent a new way to do it. Look at competitors and emulate those doing it well.

The colors, style and layout you choose greatly influence how people think about you. This is doubly true for new visitors to your website that find you organically or from your advertising efforts.

Keep your writing punchy and to the point and be sure to include more than one “call to action”. Remember that people tend to skip paragraphs longer than 4 sentences long. It is generally more effective to show than to tell, so use graphics (and video) when possible.

Take advantage of the natural way people tend to scan or read through web pages. In English, people read left to right top to bottom but they always look at things exactly that way. For more on this check out this resource.  Most modern themes for websites apply these patterns into their design so you should too.

It can be difficult to evaluate your own website. Have a trusted, web savvy person take a look and ponder on their advice. Lastly I don’t always use boring stock photography… but when I do I prefer ones that have Vince Vaughn in it.

Persuade them to click deeper into your website

shovelYour homepage’s second job is to get people to dive deeper into your website. Your homepage is the most trafficked page because it’s the first or second page that people visit. A good homepage has links and buttons that are persuasive to different segments in your target market.

Not everyone who hits your website is the same. Each person has different priorities and interests (like a snowflake). You want your homepage to educate and offer a virtual potpourri of interests so that the visitor can choose the one that most interests them. Self-segmentation!

Most homepages should be a filtering page where visitors can see a variety of options and click the one they like best. This means visitors to your secondary pages are prepared and ready to consume targeted content and click on calls to action.

Convert Visitors into Email Addresses and/or Phone Numbers

Finally your homepage must convert your visitors into email addresses. Conversion is the most important job for your website and your copy should be geared toward that end. Most websites convert visitors into email addresses using a web form to give away free valuable content in exchange for that email address.

traffic-conversionOnce the visitor (now a shiny new lead!) submits that email address you will need to deliver what you promised and follow up with an amazing nurture sequence of emails to persuade them to purchase. This is where email automation takes over and Infusionsoft (or whichever tool you use) springs into action.

I’ve been focusing on email addresses but the same is true for phone numbers. Just realize that people more closely guard their phone number as an email rarely interrupts dinner.

Often businesses will choose to have a more generic lead capture featured on their homepage, since most visitors hit that page, so an offer with broad appeal can be more effective. They save their more specific lead magnets for the individual pages of their website where they are most effective.

A homepage that welcomes, persuades visitors to dig deeper, and captures email addresses will bring you quality leads who are more likely to purchase. So take a look at your website. How does it stack up? Do you need to have a hard conversation with your website about it’s future with the company?

Creating a beautiful, high-converting website that you can be proud of is definitely some work, but having a website that educates, engages and is in-tune with your marketing is invaluable. Take action now!

Please post your questions and comments below, or you can tweet directly at Clay.