The homepage has so much responsibility. In most cases, our client’s homepages are the highest trafficked landing pages. They are the entry point for many different types of visitors in different stages of their buying process. The homepage needs to present content and images that effectively speak to the return visitors that already know your brand. It also needs to feature elements that will engage the visitor who doesn’t know your brand, has never been to your site, and needs a lot of love and tenderness to even begin browsing your site’s offerings.
The active window of your homepage has the highest real estate value. The active window can be found below the top header and navigation and above the fold of the site. The images and content found in this area will need to speak to the different types of visitors and engage them to move forward easily within the first few seconds when they first arrive.
It’s really important to take a look at the bounce rate on your homepage to understand how likely visitors are landing and leaving before clicking on anything else. To take it a step further, you should look at the bounce rate for the different segments of visitors on the homepage; those that know exactly what they want and those who are in the early stage of their buying process and need a lot of hand holding. This data will help you determine whether you’re doing a good job of presenting the right content and entry points for the different types of visitor segments.
You should take a look at navigation summary to see where visitors are going next from the homepage. This will give you an idea of what is standing out to the visitor effectively based on what you are presenting them today. The other data point you’ll want to take a look at is the effectiveness of each of the pages people navigate to from the homepage at converting visitors to your goal. Perhaps you’ll find that most visitors are going to pages x, y and z. With some digging, you may find out that although very few visitors are currently going to pages a, b and c, these pages are actually more effective at convincing visitors to convert. What this data will tell you is what you SHOULD be prominently featuring in the active window of your homepage instead of what you’re currently featuring.
One of our clients, thepartyworks.com, has a tremendous amount of traffic landing on their homepage. Based on some of the above mentioned analysis, we determined that they weren’t featuring the most valuable entry points within the active window of their homepage. The fact that the active window of their homepage was scrolling and had different entry points each time, confused the visitor even more.
See the original homepage active window to get a sense for the experience. We mocked up a new homepage active window with entry points that we knew would drive more visitors into their intended experience and would result in more sales.
See the variation that they tested their original homepage against.
Using the testing tool Visual Website Optimizer, we tested these two versions of the homepage against each other for the period of 20 days. The conversion rate was improved from the homepage to the cart by 19.99%.
One of the first few steps you take in your optimization project will likely be to optimize your homepage (of course your data should direct where to focus first). Be sure to feature links in the active window of your homepage that help drive visitors in any and all buying stages into their buying process, to get the answers to their questions and gain confidence to take action and reach your conversion goal. Be aware how the homepage influences the navigation experience on your site, and set it up to help convert more prospects. The homepage is the task manager for your website, make sure it gives opportunities to both your experienced and your fresh prospects.
Do you have any homepage building tips? Have you run any tests and found that certain homepage features worked really effectively, or better yet, failed you miserably? What kind of data do you look for on your homepage? Do you need help making sure you can placate all the visitors that see your homepage? We’re here for you!