You meet new people almost every day. And every single time, within the first ten seconds of meeting that new person, you will generate a general impression. Sometimes that first impression turns out to be wrong. Nevertheless, it can have a lasting impact on your opinion of that person.
The same goes for a company website. Your website, and your home page in particular, is the public face of your company. This means that you have ten seconds to make a good impressions on new website visitors. Will you turn those visits into leads, or will you send them away?
Put Across a Purposeful Message
An effective home page is capable of holding new visitors’ attention for at least ten seconds. A study conducted by Microsoft Research showed that the first ten seconds are make or break for a site. The reason being that visitors work from the assumption that what they see is what they get. A first impression must be one of clarity and purpose. A strong and easy-to-understand message should show visitors exactly what they can expect from the site.
Use Empathic Images
People like to do business with other people, not faceless institutions. That is why it is a good idea to show visitors a human face, someone who represents the business or someone who represents the target consumer. Studies show that images of people on a website’s home page can double the conversion rate. The ideal image is one that exudes trustworthiness and affability, as well as professionality.
Be a Thought Leader
Thought leadership, or the quality of being an opinion leader, expert, and go-to person in your field of business, has the positive quality of exuding credibility and trustworthiness. Thought leadership cements your reputation and leads to lasting relationships with consumers. Presenting yourself as a thought leader on your website can be achieved by focusing on the unique strengths of your product or service. Show visitors clearly where your business excels. If your strengths are innovative design, for example, showcase this by using beautiful images. If, on the other hand, you differentiate yourself by focusing on customer service, be sure to let visitors know that experts are on hand to answer all their questions.
Gain Visitors’ Trust
Today’s consumers are skeptics, and who can blame them? Luckily, you can gain the trust of new visitors quite easily by using testimonials by other consumers. Or, if you are in the business-to-business industry, case studies can work to your benefit. Testimonials or case studies will support your claims to expertise and increase your trustworthiness. The best place to put a case study or testimonial is “above the fold”, which in Internet terms means, visible without having to scroll down or right.
Make Content Sharing Friendly
With social sharing generating about 10 percent of all Internet traffic and 31 percent of all referral traffic, you had better make sure that your home page content is social media friendly. If you feature news items, blog posts, or other content on your home page, make it easily shareable by adding social media sharing buttons directly below the content.
Finally, spare a thought for visitors using mobile devices. While many of your visitors may still be using a desktop or laptop computer, you may find that more and more visitors are viewing your home page on a mobile device. All of the above is still valid for mobile visitors, but you may have to curb the loading time of your home page, which makes using images harder. If a large part of your target audience is moving to mobile, it may be time to find a mobile-friendly solution. That way you don’t have to miss out on generating those valuable leads!