Writing copy for a website’s homepage is a tricky business. There are many challenges. The copy needs to grab browsers attention, maintain interest, explain, intrigue and support a group of second level pages.
There’s no right or wrong way to achieve this. Some companies even decide to ditch content for beautiful images, it all depends on your company’s target audience and key messaging.
Here are a few tips to nail your homepage copy:
Do it last
Only approach your homepage once all the other website copy is in place. Your homepage is a synopsis of the site as a whole, so you can’t write about something that does not exist yet.
Once the rest of the site’s words are in place, grab key elements and start writing your homepage.
Build your homepage from the bottom up. From the heart of the page’s content to the introduction of your page and then the title. Writing a homepage is effectively a process of distilling down your company’s vision and ethos.
First-time visitors arrive at your site with a clear purpose in mind. They are looking for something.
Your headline must clearly and quickly communicate quickly the primary value proposition of your site.
In other words, you must explain why is it better than all the competing sites out there offering similar services or products.
This is a tough job and you need to cut down the waffle. Remove adjectives and adverbs. Stay focused. Understand what your audience is looking for. Communicate that promise and your value as clearly and quickly as possible.
Clarify headlines with introductory text
It is impossible to communicate ever value proposition in ten words or less. If you have a business that offers a number of different products or services, keep your headline simple and then use some short introductory text to expand your message and clarify its meaning.
Put this introductory text beneath your headline so it flows. You need to be aware of your readers’ eyepath. For example, if you want someone to read a block of text immediately after reading your headline, place it within the same column, with the same margins, one following directly after the other.
Give visitors help finding what they want
You must help visitors find the second-level page that best matches their immediate interest. It’s an obvious point but homepages are often cluttered with too many features and links.
If 90% of your visitors end up visiting two or three second-level pages first, make links to these pages as obvious as possible on the homepage.
Unless you are a globally recognized brand, visitors may feel unsure about your business.
Give them reassurance. Your copy can achieve this through the tone of your headline and other text on the homepage. Don’t be too blatant or salesy in your approach. Write in simple, clear and honest language to draw visitors in. Go for the hard sell on second level pages – not a visitor’s first port of call.
There are many other elements to writing a great homepage, but these points cover the basics. When I write a homepage, I aim for simplicity and clarity. I keep the end user in mind and want them to feel confident that they have come to the right place.
If you need help with your web copy, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. I can take the horror of writing a homepage away.
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