Mar 13, 2021

Why You Might Be Focusing Too Much on Your Homepage

By Nikolai Bain

Too much emphasis is often put on the homepage of a website, especially in a website redesign. The feeling that your homepage has to be absolutely perfect is quite common, but also misguided.

Yes, your homepage is important, but less as a selling tool and more as a hook. If you were to try to convince every single customer type on your homepage, the page would be as tall as the Eiffel tower.

If you were to try and convince every single customer type on your homepage, the page would be as tall as the Eiffel Tower!

Your homepage should only be telling customers they are in the right place, and then moving them to the sales page that is most relevant to them.

This is why the homepage should not be doing much of the selling of a product or service. It should only act as a summary of the different solutions it solves and customers it helps, and then move customers to a specific sales page.


Apple's homepage is short and sweet. It merely introduces its latest products to get people to the sales page for the product they are looking for.


The homepage as a hook

Customers make snap judgements as soon as they land on a homepage. This is why fast loading speeds are important, along with a professional and compelling visual style that intrigues users and convinces them to read on.

You want to build a homepage that is sticky. One that is intriguing and persuades  customers to explore the rest of your website.

As soon as they have made their decision to learn more, your job is to guide them to the specific sales page that speaks best to them, as trying to do anything else is time wasted.

There are often several different types of customers you are trying to sell to, and you can't sell them all with the same storyline.

The way you sell to small businesses is going to be different to the way you sell to enterprise businesses, so it only makes sense to have a different story for each customer type you have.

Your homepage gets your customer to the service or product page they need, and then from there, the proper selling starts. Less effort should be put on trying to convince your customers on your homepage, and more on the specific product pages.

Your homepage should say, "Welcome! What problem can I help you with?", whereas a service or sales pages should say "Ah yes that problem, I can solve that for you".


Don't send ads to your homepage

When you run a Google Ad (or any other ad for that matter), you shouldn't be funnelling any traffic to your homepage. Why? Because your homepage should only be an overview of your business, not an explanation of how you can solve every single specific problem.

When running ads, they should be compelling in that they describe a specific problem and solution for a certain kind of business, not just a generic "check out our cool product!".

Therefore, rather than sending people to the homepage, you want to be sending them to a product, service, or industry specific landing page that fits their business and their problems.

This way, you can specifically craft the message to speak directly to them and their situation, and then drive the ad traffic straight there.

For example, if Asana (a project management SaaS tool) is going to run Google ads, they would convert more customers if they sent a head of sales to a sales team landing page, and someone looking to automate processing to an automation landing page. In this way, the solutions that they are explaining to customers are hyper specific to their situation, compared to just sending them all to the homepage.

The reason sales pages are more successful in selling than the homepage, is because you are presenting a solution to a client or customer when they are already aware of what position they are in, and the problems they are facing.


Notion’s sales page crafted around startups. It introduces specific features, and even an industry specific sign-up incentive.


Building better sales pages

So now that we have moved your customers away from the homepage and towards sales pages, how can we make our sales pages great, and not just be a list of features?

In general, benefits should be used over features when logical. When Apple first advertised the iPod, the tagline was "1,000 songs in your pocket", and not "has a 5-gb capacity".

Benefits are more emotional, and focuses on the result of a feature, rather than just the feature itself.

If you've built in a colour-coding feature into your product, you haven't done it for fun (I hope), you've done it because it helps your customers better organise their information, and therefore make it easier to browse and retrieve information. So would you make the tagline "colour-code your information" or "stay organised and retrieve information faster"?

A lot of this shift has do be done with the understanding of the problems your customers face. To boast about staying organised, you need to know that your customers struggle with being unorganised.

To focus on your sales pages you need to know more about the specific types of customers you are speaking to, and the problems they have. Often, the issues they are facing might not be exactly what you would expect.

A lot of the true understanding around this has to be done through research of your target audiences. You might get a lot of benefit out of having conversations with current customers, or make it easier for website visitors to explain their problems through surveys.


Summary

Your homepage should be visually distinctive, compelling, and fast to load. In comparison, your sales pages should be specific, benefit based, and emotional.

Because of this, the majority of the selling is not done on the homepage; it is only used as a hook.

Show your website visitors they are in the right place with a compelling homepage, and then get them to the right sales page to properly sell to them.



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