You’re home page is important for many reasons, as it’s linked to most frequently (for small business) and unless you’re coming in from a landing page or internal blog, it’s oftentimes is the first place prospective clients make the first impression of your company. Moreover, it’s an impression that is created in mere seconds while only absorbing 20% of home page information (source)!
It’s also the hardest to design and SEO because there’s the urge to convey everything about your business (which is often not helpful to both visitors and spiders). Every business has to answer the question, “how do I design my home page to: present professionalism and credibility, intrigue customers to click to additional information, be friendly to search spiders, and ultimately convert customers.
Here are a few tips to effective design home page design and typical mistakes that we often see client’s make.
1) Using images that are too large for your content area
2) Having more than 7 main links or long names in the navigation
3) Use of random text sizes, fonts and colors that are different from your brand style guidelines
4) Missing header <h1> tags
5) Not knowing what the goal of the page is and understanding where it lies inside of the overall site goals. (This is the most overlooked and most important!)
Usability Best Practices
1) Use bullets and numbers to highlight text
2) Know design standards and understand when to break them or not
3) Keep link text consistent and clear (all links underlined or all links blue, etc.)
4) Design to your target audience (tween or baby-boomer?)
5) Always be testing! (A/B testing or multivariate testing)
There’s a few in the industry of web design usability and search that stand out. Those are Jakob Nielson and Shari Thurow. At the top of their game, their research and testing is top notch. View the History of SEO interview with Shari Thurow.