Your website home page is important. Yet it's usually the last part that's attended to. As you probably notice, I'm always tweaking mine, to test what brings in better results. One day I was lucky enough to find a lady named Dixie, who is based in the UK like myself. Her website called Handmadelives.com has a wealth of information for creatives like you. I referred to some of her information when I wrote the craft show guide post. What stood out was a post on website home pages and her reasons why it's an important part of your business.
I'm very pleased to interview Dixie, so she can expand on her insights concerning website homepage's and your creative business.
Dixie, why is it so important to get your website home page right?
First impressions matter. If it looks dowdy and confused then people won't bother with the site. You have 15 seconds before they click away. So you need to present them with something that is clear and calm and a door that they can't resist going through just for a peak.
Why do you think many creative's struggle with getting their home pages right?
They are creatives, not salesmen and they are often uncomfortable in the role of salesman so they fudge it and incorporate every single thing that they have seen on other maker's home pages. Of course that is disastrous. It's like entering a hallway crammed with all the family's clobber, you just don't want to see the rest of the house, you want to get out.
So how should it be done? Give me three cornerstones for a successful page
It needs to look personal, one-off. Flashy effects, such as scrolling pictures, look corporate and distract. People have come for craft. Craft is about contemplation Your site should quietly offer clarity and lovely things.
Also you cannot have a decent homepage unless you are completely clear what you want it to achieve. The visitor has arrived, they are looking at that first page. What do you want them to do next? There should only be text, image and links which lead to your chosen goal. Your page should be a funnel not an explosion of possibilities. Web surfers jump about like scalded cats hitting links because they caught their eye, so don't link to your Twitter stream, sending them there is not going to fill the fridge is it? Don't let them out your net so easily. You want to sell to them. So send them to where they can buy. Your later pages can offer further links to other bits of the site but this first page must be goal orientated.
Keep it simple When you design your home page you have two approaches, you need to choose one then stick to the brief. You can either: lure the visitor with your product or lure him with the romance of your way of life so they want to buy a tangible link through your product.
What's your biggest don'ts for homepages?
Too many links; too much text; not enough empty space.