Home Page Optimization – What to Include and Exclude
We can often be motivated to improve accessibility to our websites after a SEO audit or similar inspection, and what better place to start than our home pages? Unfortunately, we can often add unnecessary elements to our home pages that distract from the truly important stuff, or leave a negative feeling on the minds of readers and viewers. Building a perfect homepage can take time and many different revisions, but knowing what to include and what to exclude can speed the process up quite a bit. In the following article, we’ll outline some optimization tactics you can use that accomplish just that. Nobody wants a cluttered or ineffective home page, and now, you don’t have to have one!
Elements of Trust
When someone stumbles across your website for the first time, they will have little to no understanding of what it is you provide or can do for them. Before someone is willing to part with their money, they must first feel like they can trust you. Elements of trust – certifications, business licensure information, testimonials and other components – are definite includes for your homepage. Pinging users with information that verifies your position in business can only boost your potential.
Many businesses want to include multimedia (which is a good idea), but filling your homepage up with sliders and carousels of random images is not a good idea. First of all, it takes up a huge amount of space that could otherwise be used to describe your efforts to first-time visitors. Secondly, it’s less of an optimization element that text and even video can be. Always use elements that provide the most SEO benefit for your home page, or that create bonds of trust like mentioned above. Users also may not appreciate such large elements on your page, as they tend to be fillers and not adequate descriptors of your products and services.
Benefits of Use
Do you offer a direct product that ships to consumers? A service that someone can use online? Do you simply provide information for free? Whatever the case, the home page is the perfect place to showcase the benefits of using your products and services for readers, visitors and customers. Some people decide to create a fully-descriptive page to outline this content – there is nothing wrong with that, and in fact is encouraged. Pinging users with a summary of these benefits above the fold, however, will help you increase conversions.
You’ve no doubt seen it on dozens of website: some little video with a focus-grouped man or woman pops up at the bottom of the screen and starts selling you on whatever is being offered. This is truly a gimmick that makes your website look cheesy. It can also be intrusive and annoying for visitors, so abandon this approach for your home page (and any other pages) immediately. The merits of your product or service should be featured on your home page, but do it in a way that isn’t cheap-looking; how many of the sites you’ve seen like this actually look like legitimate institutions instead of fly-by-night money grabbers?