When you watch those house flipping shows on TV, you see people spending tens of thousands of dollars on kitchens, bathrooms and additions. High-end counters, cabinets and fixtures. More square footage.
But when it comes to home improvements that deliver the highest ROI, guess what project lands at the top of the list without fail, year after year?
A new front door. Average cost? About $2,000.
A new front door instantly enhances a home’s curb appeal. It’s the focal point of the front of many houses, welcoming every guest potential buyer who approaches and enters. Yet the front door often takes a backseat to the “wow” factor of a new kitchen or bath.
In an age of social media brand pages, mobile apps, landing pages and video, too many businesses overlook the importance of the Home page of the company website. More specifically, the written message being delivered on the Home page.
The Home page of your website is your company’s virtual front door. Like the front door of your house, your Home page is primary entry point for visitors. It’s often their first point of contact with your business. Sure, some people enter through a side door or backdoor, like a blog post or a page for a specific service, but most people still land on the Home page.
The question you have to ask yourself is this.
Is my Home page message welcoming and compelling enough to make people want to walk in and explore other parts of my website?
Here are six common mistakes I see businesses making that could be causing people to bounce away from their website without ever setting foot inside.
1) Lack of Clarity
The worst thing you can do is assume people know what you do. Because we’re constantly told how important images and videos are, too many businesses forget to provide very basic information on the Home page of their website. Or they just don’t think words are very important.
On a very high level, the content on your Home page should clearly explain what you do, the value of what you do, and the outcome you deliver. If this information is either missing or unclear, you’re not meeting a very basic expectation of a website visitor.
2) Information Overload
On the opposite end of the spectrum, businesses will often throw everything and the kitchen sink into the content on their Home page. But the job of the Home page isn’t to provide people with every last detail about your business.
The job of the Home page is to pique the visitor’s interest and motivate them to move one step closer to a sale. This typically happens by clicking through to a page about a specific product or a specific type of problem.
Instead of overloading your Home page with information, keep the content on a high level. Preview or tease information on interior pages that serves as the next step on the buyer’s journey.
3) Missing Call(s)-to-Action
Speaking of the buyer’s journey, don’t assume your website visitors know the directions. That’s a dangerous assumption to make.
Depending on the complexity of your products and service offerings, you might have different calls-to-action for different stages of the buyer’s journey. You might have different calls-to-action for different groups of visitors who have different problems to be solved and needs to be filled.
Make sure your Home page includes one or more calls-to-action so visitors know what you want them to do next and how they’ll benefit.
4) Forced Keywords
I can’t help but chuckle when I see a headline on the Home page of a website that says something like “NJ personal injury attorney” or “Princeton area website development company.” It’s even worse when the business tries unsuccessfully to integrate cumbersome keywords into the actual content.
“We’re a NJ personal injury law firm that’s committed to fighting for you…”
If it sounds forced to you, think about how awkward it will be for a visitor reading it for the first time. Write for your audience first and everything else, including Google, second.
By the way, more and more people are searching by asking questions, not just names and locations. Tools like Google Voice Search are making search queries more conversational. Answer these questions with equally conversational website content.
5) A Net Too Wide
Very few companies on the face of the earth can be everything to everyone. Walmart and Amazon come to mind. I’m guessing your company can’t compete with those behemoths.
Instead of writing for any client, write for your ideal client. If you have more than one type of ideal client, separate the content that targets each group into call-out boxes or some other design element. Have each section link to a page that caters exclusively to that ideal client.
6) Same Old, Same Old
If you use marketing clichés like “best service” and “friendly, knowledgeable staff,” or your Home page content is so generic that any other company in your business category could use it if they simply swapped out the name of the company, that’s a problem.
I’ve heard business owners say, “All my business comes from referrals. My website is just a place where people can go to find out a little more about us.”
Do you not want the business of people who don’t come through personal referrals? When those referrals do go to your Home page, can you guarantee that they won’t research a competitor if they don’t like what they find?
Hint: You can’t.
Take nothing for granted. If your website’s Home page content sounds like everyone else’s, you’re telling the world that you’re no different – or better – than your competition.
Any of these mistakes could be costing you money. At the very least, they could be causing you to work harder than necessary for the sale. Your website’s Home page is your business’s front door. Make sure the content draws people in.