I’ve recently been talking a lot about website conversions, i.e. getting the website user to do something, whether that’s click a call to action, click to get more information on a service, etc. Well in this episode, we’re going to dive into your website homepage specifically.
Here are 7 things I want to challenge you to put on your homepage to help increase your conversions. These aren’t theory based, they are actual result-driven tactics that have made a big impact on designs I’ve built myself, that my agency has built or that many of my students have implemented and are working like a charm.
I challenge you to save your current homepage, create a revised version with these 7 elements and let it play out for a couple months to see how your bounce rate goes down and your conversions go up.
P.S. Make sure to listen back to episode 087 where we dove into conversions on a deeper level if you haven’t heard that episode.
P.S.S. This is all taken from my Website Design Course. If you’re ready to unlock your true potential with creating conversion based designs, join today!
In this episode:
00:46 – Homepage hone in
03:07 – 1) Clear headline
08:53 – 2) Call to action
11:35 – 3) Who, what, why
17:35 – 4) Link to main pages
20:50 – 5) Engaging graphics
22:49 – 6) Social proof
24:40 – 7) Footer grabber
27:10 – Josh’s challenge
You can also view the full transcription of this episode below.
Featured links mentioned:
Hey, everybody, welcome into the show. This is Episode 97. And I’ve got just a kind of a short and snappy episode for you in this one. We are going to dive into seven things that I recommend you have on your website homepage to get better conversions. Now, I just recently talked about site applied conversions. That was Episode 87, where I gave you some tips on conversions that will apply to not only your homepage, but your menu and other pages as well. Well, in this one, I wanted to hone in on your actual homepage. Because as most of you know, it is often the most important page on your website, it should really be the hub where all of your information, all of your most important information, at least, is there. And you can help start the journey for your website users. And I wanted to hone in on this and focus on this while we just recently talked about conversions, because again, it’s super important. And one really cool thing I’m excited to share with you is that every one of these little tactics, I’ve used myself, between my websites and my client sites over a decade of building sites for a lot of different small businesses. And these are all things that I’ve seen work really well more recently with a lot of my web design students. And a quick shout out to John who let me know, since implementing a lot of the things that we’re about to go over his website, he just redesigned it. And he is a web designer based in Michigan, he has seen his bounce rate dropped dramatically, meaning people aren’t going to his homepage and leaving, they’re actually engaging and moving forward. And more importantly, he seen way more contact forms coming through. People are actually getting engaged, finding the right information, and then clicking to move forward and then actually filling out the contact form. So I just wanted to say that these tips and tricks, they work. These are actual result based things that I recommend you you think about putting on your websites, particularly on your homepage.
Now, these are things where there’s a lot of ambiguity with this, as far as we’re not going to talk about design necessarily, these are just kind of content related things that I recommend you have. And you don’t necessarily have to put these in any particular order, we are going to cover some things that I recommend following I mean, I’m a big proponent of “Story Brand”, which is a really popular book right now. I’ve done some episodes previous about how you can use the Story Brand framework to really set up your webpages and your marketing. While I’m a big fan of that I do find it slightly overwhelming sometimes. So I think this path I’m going to give you these seven things will actually make it a lot easier for you to be able to maximize your website and then for your client site as well. So all that to say, this stuff works. This is all results oriented things that I’ve seen work and I want to share with you. So let’s get right into it. We’re gonna dive right into these seven points.
1) Have a Clear, Grabbing Headline
Starting with number one, a clear grabbing headline. This is one of the biggest failures for all websites. And I remember years ago, I didn’t really have any concept of pulling people in right away until I had built a number of sites and realized that you know what, when somebody loads a website, the first thing they see is going to be your headline, and it needs to get their attention and needs to grab them and it needs to inform them. Now, that’s kind of overwhelming, because it’s like how the heck are you going to create something that’s really going to pull people in within a couple seconds, and then also isn’t going to be a paragraph that’s going to take up the whole, you know, first section, the hero section, as we call it in the web design world? And it’s a good question, but my encouragement to you is to be intentional about it.
Now, there’s a number of different ways to go about creating nice headlines that convert and we are going to be talking in the future here about conversion based titles and headlines and words that sell. But let me just give you some ideas that will help you create engaging headlines. First of all, it should be very clear what you or the company you’re working for does that is one of the most important things if you have a headline that is super confusing and is very vague. And somebody who doesn’t know the business doesn’t quite know what you do right away. That’s a problem. Now, that doesn’t mean that you need to put every service right in the beginning there. But you definitely need to explain what the company does for me. With my web design agency. I found a big conversion boost when I changed the headline to we build awesome websites. And I pulled that from my networking group because one exercise we had in my networking group was we had to say what we do in I think was five words or less or I think in a drastic case, you would try Try to do it in three, but at most five. And what I found was, I could talk about digital marketing, I could talk about SEO, I could talk about conversion based stuff, I could talk talk about all these topics, but it was just confusing for people. So what I boiled it down to was, we build awesome websites, I could talk to any business owner, and they can immediately understand exactly what I did. Now, that was obviously just the starting point, then we would go into the different types of web design, we would offer and different types of sites we could build, and then talk about maintenance and SEO and content. But at the heart, at the core of it, we do websites, that’s what we did, I made that very clear. Now, that’s one idea. And again, none of this is black or white, right or wrong, you can really form this to work for you.
One another idea that I found to be really helpful was to have a more results driven approach. So sayings, you know, try to articulate what you do, but also kind of painting a picture of what somebody is going to walk away with, after working with this company. And a prime example of that is my current website at Josh Hall Co. So previous, when I first launched my website, I had a headline that said, Hey, I’m Josh. And then I went into kind of what I was all about, but the headline was literally just Hey, I’m Josh. It was a very, it was almost like a personal blog type of site at first, which it kind of started that way. Then I realized something. I realized, first of all, I sound like a total douche, because I’m just talking about myself. And I didn’t really articulate what somebody was going to walk away with after going to my site. So I changed my headline back in I, let’s see, I think this was the the early part of 2020. And the new headline goes like this, this is on my site right now. If you go to Josh Hall co on the front page, the new headline is this, learn how to build awesome websites and create a web design business that gives you freedom and a lifestyle you love. Now, my question to you is Does that sound familiar? It probably does. Because you’re listening to this podcast, and I pulled this from my podcast intro. I came up with that intro. Because it dawned on me that I really help people in two ways I help people build websites, and I help them create a web design business. And then the result is they get freedom and a lifestyle they love by building a web design business and creating nice sites.
So I learned, I practice what I preach. And I learned to package all that up in this nice little compact quote that very clearly articulates what I do, and then the result that they’re going to get. And if you go to my site and look at this, you will see that I have highlighted in my green color, build awesome websites and create a web design business. Those are both highlighted. Now, there’s a lot of different ways you could go about that you could italicize that you could excuse me bold that, you could underline things, although generally underline is attached to a link. So you don’t want to, you know, sometimes I’m hesitant to underline something unless it’s a link. But I say all that to say when I change that, you guys, I saw an immediate impact. I mean, like the day I did that I saw so much more engagement. It literally like I literally saw my core sales jump, just by changing that front, that front page that line, the heading. So it’s important, it’s really important. And I’m gonna I’m gonna pull a quote that I just saw my good buddy Wes McDowell, he posted on his Instagram, your website headline will be the first and often last thing a website user will see. And I love that. Because yes, it’s the first thing they see. And if it doesn’t grab them, and if it doesn’t intrigue them, then it’s going to be the last thing they see because they’re gonna be off your site. So all that to say, be intentional about your headline, make it either results driven, or very clear about what you do and the results. Try to you don’t want to make it a paragraph. But you can you can go with a decent sized headline as long as it’s attention grabbing and engaging.
2) Provide a Clear Call to Action
And that’s going to segue us to the next topic, which is the one of the most important things to have on your homepage for sure. And that is number two, a clear call to action. So under your headline, and I’m not talking about any design specifics here, you can make this look however you want. And I know a lot of you artsy folks are like oh here we go headline in a call to action. And let me just tell you, as somebody who often thought outside the box and tried to not go the typical route, I’ll just tell you if freaking works. So unless you want to build a super artsy site that doesn’t convert and just confuses people, I would heed this advice. Have a nice grabbing headline, and then followed up with a very clear call to action. Your call to action should be a button or a link that tells people what to do. Now I’ve talked I talked a lot about conversions on call to actions in that last episode about conversions that was 087. So I definitely recommend going back to that. If you haven’t heard that one. But a call to action. You need to tell people what to do. And I know that sounds tricky because you don’t want to feel like a jerk and it’s kind of weird to tell people what to do. But website users need to be told what to do. Again, you’re starting their journey when they get to your homepage. So you have to tell them where to go and what to do.
Now, the call to action could be a number of different things. It depends on the industry. It also depends on what you want people to do. And this is one of the questions we have in my agency with our questionnaire. We ask clients, what do you want people to do when they go to your website? Is it fill out the contact form? Is it get a quote? Is it request a free consultation? Is it book a call, whatever the actual call to action is? Make that the button. Don’t use passive slang in terms like learn more gets stuck, we’ll get started to be okay depending but make it assertive. tell people exactly what to do and don’t and often you don’t want to say “contact us” because what the heck does contact us mean? Does contact mean contact to get a quote? contact for questions? does it mean contact and somebody will call you? make it very clear. Get a quote, book a call, start your you know, start your journey, whatever it is make it very clear and have a really nice call to action under that headline. Preferably, again, we don’t we’re not gonna talk about design too much, but make it pop. And the words and the words of client slang, make it pop, make it stand out, make it very clear that way. If people click right away, great, you’ve got them. But if they scroll on, they’ll still know what they should do. This is a big one. One of the biggest points and important tactics have a clear call to action is that even if somebody scrolls pretty quickly, they’re at least going to know, when I’m reading the rest of the information, I should still book a call or still request a free console, they’re going to know so having a clear call to action is key.
3) Give The Who, What, & Why
Now number three, your website homepage should have the three Ws www. Now. You might say, well, Josh, do you mean www dot like the prefix? No, I’m not talking about the URL at all. Actually, what I’m talking about is the who, what and why’s. Now these three W’s again, I talked a little bit about Story Brand. Because I’m big on the story brand framework. I’ve seen it work for me, not only on my homepage, but course pages landing pages, it’s a great framework. It is a little overwhelming for me, I love the book, and I love all that stuff. But I have found I try to mix what I learned with story brand. And then also just with this idea of who we are, what we do, and why we’re different. Or why we do what we do, you can kind of mix those two together. Although you’re then you’re bleeding into about us and story. But I found the y to be kind of why we’re different. And I’ll tell you why here in a second. So those are the three W’s who what why my recommendation for you is to articulate these three W’s very clearly now, where they are in the page and how you organize them what they look like totally up to you. This is where the fun comes in. Because you can kind of you can craft your home pages differently depending on the industry. And for you as web designers, you need to be very clear about these three things. And let’s just talk about you as web designers or a small web design agency right now.
Let’s start with who. Be very intentional and clear about who is running the show. If it’s just you, if you are a web design Freelancer or a solopreneur, do not be ashamed of that, say, have your verbiage say me and I, if it’s just you and a couple subcontractors be very clear about that, say me and a couple subcontractors, here’s our team. If you are an agency and you’re a bigger agency be very clear about how big it is. And who’s there. This is absolutely key because clients want to know who the heck they’re about to work with. No client in 2021 is going to pay 1000s of dollars having no idea how big the team is, who they’re going to work with. It’s all about the personal touch. And I see a lot of web designers falsely represent themselves because and I understand when you’re when it’s just you, you’re afraid that maybe agencies are going to want a bigger team and more people to work with. But generally the opposite is true. They want a trusted web design girl or guy. So there’s a lot of opportunity there. And if you were like me, where it’s you and a small team or a couple people you subcontract out to, you can absolutely say that for me. What worked really well was I said Josh and the team, and I just made it very clear who was on the team. I had a team page, which was one of the most popular pages on the website according to Google Analytics. And it was just very clear about who works with us and who does work often. And frequently as opposed to people who come on as ad needed on an ad needed as needed basics, excuse me. So be very clear about that. And if you are an agency be clear about your agency and the size, there’s nothing wrong with that some people are going to gravitate towards solopreneurs some people might want an agency for more of a full service type of approach. So just be very clear about that. I want to encourage you not to false represent yourself as far as the who.
Now the What. The What are your services, your primary services, I recommend solidifying your services down to your top three, six at most. Once you get above six services, then you’re becoming a full time service type of agency, that generally means you’re going to have to have quite a few people to be able to keep up with all those different services. And you can do that. But just be very clear about it and don’t overwhelm or confuse clients. Even if you offer 13 things. My recommendation is to put them in categories. So make it very clear the main categories of what you do, and then filter from there, then you can link those to their own pages, which will have more details, which we’re actually going to talk about next. But be very clear about the what, and again, whether you put the who we are above what we do, after the hero section after the headline and call to action, that’s totally up to you. But either way, I would have very clearly what we do who we are, or vice versa, what what we do, who we are and what we do.
And then again, the why this is the big one. Now again, you could talk about why you’re different, why they should choose you or kind of your why as a mission, you could certainly intertwine these in a number of different ways. But what I found to work best is why ask yourself this question, why should somebody choose you over another web designer, and I actually want to make this an exercise because I was meeting with a client one time, and they straight up asked me and I was not prepared for this question. Luckily, I was a little more established at that point, I was pretty quick on my feet. And I basically told them, well, you’re going to get a much more personalized service with me, and I’m going to really care about your project. And I’m not going to treat like a number. I’m in this with you. That’s basically what I said, and I got that project. But it did catch me off guard. But the really cool thing about that was I realized, wow, that’s actually really good question. And then I took it to the next level. And I actually made it a little content section on my website. So here’s here’s a little challenge. Here’s an exercise for you. I’m going to ask you this question. And you can pause this if you want after I asked you whatever answer comes to mind. Use that on your homepage. So here’s the question, why I’m in the clients shoes, “Why should I choose you over another web designer?” So think about that positive? You need to think about that question. Okay, if you just pause it and you came back to it, here we are, we’re back. Whatever you just either wrote out jotted down or thought about in your head. Here’s a freebie for you. You just got new fresh homepage content. You’re welcome. Whatever that answer was use in your why section? Why should somebody choose you have that after your who and what and I guarantee you, it’ll make a massive impact on your conversions. And it’ll help people to trust you, and understand how you’re different and why you’re different. So those are the three W’s, the who, what and why.
4) Link to Your Main Pages
Now, let’s focus on the what section a little bit. Because one really important thing. Every homepage should have for not only website usability as far as you know, people finding the information they need. But it’s also a big impact with SEO. And that is to have links to your main services and main pages in that what section. So when you articulate your services, one of the quickest wins for SEO, if you haven’t listened to any of my previous episodes on SEO, is to have your service pages have their own pages with a lot more detail. I see a lot of people make this mistake where they load their homepage, with a ton of detail about services. But guys, your homepage is not the page to put all the details on the detail should go on that page. So if you’re going to talk about your web design services and the tools you use, don’t talk about that on the homepage, give a brief snapshot of your web design services and then link off to your web design page. And then there, that’s where you can load that up. Same thing with maintenance. Same thing with SEO. Same thing if you’re doing digital marketing services, anything like that, give a snapshot of it, you can keyword optimize it for sure, but then link it to their own pages. Again, huge for usability, also really big for SEO. And it’s it just leads to a much more better a better customer journey for people because they’re not going to be so hung up on the homepage with a ton of information. your homepage should really just be kind of the roadmap that gets people where they want to go on the site. That’s that’s the big way to think about a homepage. So have that what section with very clear links to their main pages. And actually, as a practical example, if you go back to my site at Josh Hall, co you’ll see this on my homepage. Now. It This is easier with a small business that doesn’t have too many services. For me, this was really tricky, because I have a lot of different stuff on my website. I’ve got over 300 posts at this point between tutorials and podcasts and blog articles, all kinds of stuff. So I sat down and I had to map out okay, what are the main areas of my site that are going to be the start of the kind of the funnels the journey that people are going to take so for me, what I did was on the homepage, you’ll see this if you go to my site right now, you’ll see kind of six main sections and this is where all the main majority of my content is my courses, which have all which at the start of all my courses. The podcast right here which has all my episodes archived tutorials, which have categories under it for different types of tutorials, whether it’s Divi, WordPress, etc, I have a whole section for all of my blogs and vlogs kind of one section that will split people in between my writing and my videos. I just recently put my web design club on the front page, because that is a huge aspect of what I do now. And then the next one that I added, I decided to do the Meet Me page that meet Josh page. The reason being is because that was one of the most popular pages on my site according to Google Analytics. And there’s a little trick, if you kind of look at your your Google Analytics, see what pages are the most popular, and work those in because that will help Google determine what pages to get people to quickly. So those are my little, those are my homepage, that’s my homepage section that kind of links them to those funnels those other pages. So in your case, and for your clients do the same thing.
5) Create Engaging Images and Graphics
Now, as an addition to this number five, is to make sure that you create engaging images or graphics, especially for that section. So on my page, when you go to that section, you’ll see that I created little icons, little vector art icons, which I’m actually planning on getting these redone because they’re a little cheesy right now they’re okay, but I feel like they’re just a little a little corny look. And so I’m about to redo this among other things on my site. But if you can visualize anything on your site, do it. Now you do have to do this sparingly. And there is a difference between good written content that’s accentuated with an image or a visual. And sometimes you can over image it, you can make it you know, you can make it too many images, too many graphics. So you do want to do this sparingly. But I highly recommend for your services section, in particular, create an icon or use a really engaging image real images, if possible. And if you do stock, make sure it’s not a cheesy stock image. But really accentuate and visualize your services. The other section that I highly recommend that you visualize are any type of benefits, any any type of results or solution based type of benefits with you or the people you’re working with. Highlight those with a really nice graphic, there’s all kinds of sites out there where you can get icons premium and free. And there’s a bazillion different, you know, stock photo sites now as well. But in any case, make sure you’re very intentional about services and benefits. And even the who, what and why’s if you can with a nice graphic or a nice icon or an image that just helps visualize what people are seeing, because people are more visual now than ever. So you really need to, to make sure you don’t bore people with a bunch of text, make sure the visual engages because visuals, engage images and icons, engage, words sell. So one of the best ways to really get somebody’s interest is a nice little visual. So do that, particularly on your services.
6) Post Social Proof – Reviews and Testimonies
Now, number six, another really, really important aspect of a homepage in particular that I’m just shocked at how many people don’t have this is social proof. That is testimonials, reviews, anything that is a real customer, a real clients, giving either a quick blurb of snippet, or some sort of video review is a super great, I actually just did a podcast recently. What was that episode? Said Episode 90. Hold on. I’m looking I’m looking I’m looking. 90 See? Oh, yeah. 89. So I just looked through my episode archive there. 87 was conversion based tips for websites. 89 was how to get amazing testimonials. If you haven’t, go back to that one as well. Because you could basically take point number six here and really expand it with that episode 89. Because I talked about how to get really amazing testimonials. In short, there’s a few different types of testimonials, you can do just a plain written one, you can get actual Google reviews. And ideally, you get video reviews, which make the biggest impact. In any case, make sure you have a very nice testimonial section. The beauty is you only need three, that’s that’s my go to if you can get more that’s great. You can you know put put them in a number of different areas and ways on site. But three look great. And that’s generally what most people are going to scan through and then move on. So if you can get three testimonials, even if you’re brand new in web design, get testimonials from your first three clients, then you’re good to go add that social proof because once somebody understands what this company does with the headline, they know what to do. They know the who, what wise, they understand the main services and they’re engaged with images, they want to see what others have said and that’s why you need your social proof. So that’s number six.
7) Super Snazzy Footer Call to Action Section
And then finally, we’re going to wrap up with number seven, which is even more so a surprising section that so many people lack on their websites. And it’s not just you, as web designers. It’s everybody and I was totally guilty on this myself and that is what I like to call Call a super snazzy footer call to action section. I am blown away by how many people between web designers now I’m picking on you as a web designer, how many of you have focused so nicely on all these other sections? And then when you get to the end of the page, you put a little teeny contact button or you don’t put anything at the bottom of a page? That is a no, no, you need to, to really focus special attention on a nice grabbing footer CTA. I talked about this in that last conversion, Episode 87. And I want to reiterate it here because on a homepage, in particular, just remember, when somebody scrolls through your homepage, they should be taken on a little journey, understand all the elements that we just covered. And then by the time they get to the end, you should reiterate that main call to action. And here is where you can have some fun. This is where you can add some effects. Whether you’re using Divi like I do, or Elementor, oxygen, whatever platform or theme you’re using, do something that makes that section either pop in or just give it some some nice flow. Make it big, don’t make it a thin line. Don’t make it super small, make it actually big that jumps out that tells them what to do. And you can there’s a number of different ways you can go about this. You can add urgency, you can ask a question, you can give a challenge, you can talk about a result, you can have social proof under the call to action, although generally I recommend having the testimonials above this section. But either way, have something super fun, colorful and engaging, that pops out to tell them what to do. And ideally, it’s the same call to action that they saw up top. And that will really reaffirm exactly what they should do.
And if you do that, if you put all these seven elements on your websites, guys, I promise you, you will see better conversions. And I challenge you to do this. Usually I challenge somebody to do one thing at a time. But you guys probably have most all this in place. So I want to encourage you and challenge you to do this. And I want to hear how it works for you. Now, if you love your current homepage, save it as a template, especially if you’re using Divi just save it as old homepage. My challenge for you is to do a new homepage with these tips, these conversions and let it play out for a couple months and see how it’s helping you.
So let’s recap real quick. Is this my challenge for you? These seven things, a clear headline that grabs them and gets them pumped up, a very clear call to action that assertive tells them what to do, add your three W’s the who what Why’s your why, four links to the main pages in your web section, and then make sure you add engaging images or icons, especially in that section and other parts of the homepage to make it visually appealing. Add your social proof, add nice testimonials and then add a super snazzy footer call to action. And guys, I’m telling you, you will see better conversions and results from your homepage. And once you learn what works for you, you can start doing this for your clients. And here’s the really fun part, you can start charging a lot more money because your designs are actually proven and they’re actually getting results. So just by implementing these seven things, you’re going to start making a lot more money if you implement it. So implement it right now. Let me know how it goes. I really do. I want to hear how this helps you. So leave a comment on this episode. It’ll be Josh hall.co/097. I would love to hear how this helps you out.
And I should say too, before we wrap up here, this, all these things I’ve talked about come from my website design course. So if you like this, and you would like to take things to a whole nother level with conversion based design. This is just the surface of what I teach in my design course I would love to help you even further with conversion based design. There’ll be a link on the show notes for this page. You can also just go to Josh Hall co/design. And that’ll kick you over to my website design course it’s open right now. We talk about a lot of fun stuff like this. On a much deeper level. I would love to help you take this to a whole nother level. So check that out today. I would love to have you join in to help you with conversion based design. And in the meantime, again, my challenge to you is to implement these seven things right now. Let me know how it goes. Alright guys, see you on the next episode.