When I have a coding or graphic design question I want answered, I don’t go straight to Google. Instead, I take a stroll through the office and end up in the “design cave” where Pulse’s web developer and graphic designer do their work.
After working here at Pulse, there are common issues that crop up over and over again – mistakes that can be easily remedied with a simple tutorial or how-to. That’s how the idea for this blog post came to be.
At Pulse we’ve worked on a bunch of different websites, and we have quite a few more that are in development. I’ve noticed one thing that makes graphic designers hang their head – when it’s suggested that we try to cram a ton of stuff on a website’s home page. But that’s not what a home page is for.
It may seem easy, but when we’re putting together a home page, a lot of thought goes into the layout. That’s why I asked our Creative Director Mike Jandreau and our Graphic Designer Branin Blodgett to tell me what they thought the most important elements of a website’s home page was. Based on our conversation, we thought we would offer a few tips:
- A “hero” section featuring your product or service
The “hero” section usually has a large banner image placed front and center on your home page. This is called a “hero image” and it will probably be the first thing a site visitor sees. The hero section should always present the site’s most important content – in essence, it should feature the product or service you offer. This doesn’t have to be lengthy. As you can see on the Yankee Goldsmiths website, the hero section has the business tagline and a sentence about the exact service they provide. It’s simple and it’s effective.
- A unique value proposition/about the business section
A unique value proposition, or UVP, is a fancy title with a simple definition: it’s a statement that describes the benefit of the service or product you offer. A UVP should show how you stand apart from the competition. On the Yankee Goldsmiths website we’re using as an example, the UVP shows up right below the hero image. It takes shape in a few small blurbs about some of the services the business offers, and why exactly a customer should be interested.
- An option to contact you
This is perhaps the simplest element on the list – and also the most important. If you want people to buy your product or service (and you don’t have an online store) they need some way to contact you about it. It’s simple, but it’s often overlooked. On the Yankee Goldsmiths home page we put the contact option in a call-to-action (also known as a CTA) in the hero section. It’s front and center, and lets everyone know that they can simply click that button and get exactly what they’re looking for.
These were three of the major elements that I left the design cave with. Another small tidbit: use consistent colors that align with your brand. And avoid red. “Red is a danger color,” Mike said.
One last thing: don’t clutter your home page. “It’s easy to over-do it,” Mike told me. With so many great offerings from your business, it’s easy to let your home page get out of hand. As Branin said “stick to what you’re offering.” Keep to these basics, and you’ll have a great home page in no time.