So you’ve got a website and things are humming along quite nicely. But did you know you might be making some simple homepage mistakes that could be costing you big time? Losing new customers, sales or subscribers are common consequences. So, let’s explore three mistakes you may be making on your homepage and some simple ways to course-correct and get back on track in a snap.

Data? What Data?

Do you know where your customers are coming from, what parts of your website they find most useful, and how often they’re coming back? If not, it’s time to call in Google Analytics. Your best friend in the world of data about your website. If you’re not currently looking at data by using Google Analytics or another tool, you could be missing out on important information about your website visitors. By understanding where they come from (referrer), what keywords they searched that lead them to your site, what pages and content they viewed while they were there, and how much time they spent; can provide you a wealth of knowledge that you can use to make changes or test particular elements of your site.

Where Am I?

When a visitor arrives at your site, is it immediately clear where they are and what they can do there? If not, you may want to consider a refresh of some of the basic elements of your site that most highly influence conversions, including:

Your Headline: Within 3-5 seconds, a visitor should know, “where am I?” and “what can I do here?” A headline should answer these questions but keep it short and to the point.

Calls-to-Action: Your call-to-action, or what you want a visitor to do when they arrive at your site, should be crystal clear. Don’t make them guess, or they’ll leave. Keep your call-to-action in a prominent place and try to stick with just one or two main calls-to-action so you don’t confuse visitors with too many choices.

Effective calls-to-action usually begin with an action verb like:

  • Sign up
  • Subscribe
  • Start a Free Trial
  • Donate
  • Buy Now
  • Test it
  • Get the Deal

Navigation: Your navigation should naturally follow the actions you want your website visitors to take, and the information you want them to find and discover on your website. Is your main navigation across the top or down the side? What works best for your audience?

Forms: Do you have a form on your homepage? How long is it, and how many fields are you asking visitors to fill in? Think about collecting only the bare minimum amount of information you need, like an email address, in order to sign up for your mailing list. You can collect other information at a later point. By making your forms short, you remove barriers to people filling them out. If you ask for too much information, too soon, you may end up with a lot of empty forms.

Test? Who’s Got Time to Test?

As a small business, you may be crunched for time and resources, so testing your homepage might be pretty low on your priority list. But you may want to rethink it, because doing a simple test can result in big learnings that can lead to even bigger results for your business

If you’ve never conducted a test, or an A/B test as it’s called in the biz, it’s simply comparing two versions of the same element for an equal amount of time, to check which of the two versions performs better. Follow these simple guidelines to test for success:

  1. Test one element at a time so you don’t muddy your results.
  2. Run your test for a long enough period of time to get enough traffic to your website so your data will be relevant.

If you test too many things at once, you won’t know what’s having an impact and, if only and a handful of visitors see your test, you’ll need to run it long enough to get some statistically relevant data.

To make things easy, there are some user-friendly tools out there to help. Two that we use include Google Content Experiments and Optimizely. With Optimizely, you just enter the URL for your website, then they’ll hold your hand and take you on a “guided tour.”  It’s basically a testing wizard that walks you through the paces – Perfect for both beginners and pros alike.

If you’re making any of these mistakes with your homepage, you’re now armed with the knowledge to make some changes that can immediately impact your business.

Are you making any of these homepage mistakes and what do you plan to change? Share in the comments.

© 2013 – 2018, Contributing Author. All rights reserved.

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