How to Write Your Website’s Home Page to Make a Great First Impression
Have you ever wanted to make a killer first impression?
Maybe you were on a first date, a job interview, or you were attending some type of networking event.
Whatever the case may have been, you had certain outcomes in mind.
You wanted to look your best, say all the right things, and you were hoping the other person would take some type of action.
You wanted your date to like you, the boss to hire you, and that person you were networking with to add you to their network in the hopes of furthering your career.
Writing your company’s Home page is no different.
With a flashy look, the right web copy and a clear call-to-action, you can not only make a good first impression, but you can get your prospects to choose you over the competition.
You can get them to click, subscribe, and even buy from you.
To make that happen, you must first remember the seven rules of web copywriting.
The Seven Rules of Web Copywriting
- Short Sentences and Paragraphs: Don’t assume that every visitor to your home page will read every word you’ve written. Most are going to skim. That means you’ll need to write concise sentences and paragraphs. A sentence or two will do, as long as you get your points across.
- Edit Like a Surgeon: Take out all extraneous words. If a word doesn’t belong or contribute to the sentence you’ve written, cut it out.
- Avoid Technical Jargon: Unless you’re writing for a technical audience, assume that you’re writing to the lay person. Avoid long words when a shorter one will do.
- Choose Active Tense: Avoid passive tense whenever possible. Instead of saying, “Your teeth can be cleaned here,” Say, “Come in for a teeth cleaning.” Being active shows confidence and assertiveness. It’s the tense an authority figure would use. To use anything other than active tense shows that you’re unsure of yourself, and that’s definitely not the message you want to convey to potential customers.
- Don’t Repeat Yourself: Once you’ve written your rough draft, go back through your document and look for redundancy. Did you repeat phrases or concepts? If so, go back to point number two and cut that crap out. Your copy will flow much better without those extraneous sentences, phrases, and paragraphs getting in the way.
- Speak to Your Reader: Notice how I didn’t say “readers”. You’re speaking to a single person, and that’s the person reading your copy at the moment. Use terms like “You” and “Your”, which will make your writing more personal, and you’ll be more likely to get a positive reaction.
- Make Your Words Matter: Once you finish your final draft, go back through once again and decide which words should stay and which should go. Don’t be afraid to break grammar rules to help your words and sentences flow.
Once you have the rules of web copywriting committed to memory, it’s time to craft a Home page that turns doubting discoverers into craving customers.
A Magnetic Headline
Every Home page begins with the most crucial element: the headline.
Visitors landing on your page will see your headline first, before anything else. If your headline fails to entice, intrigue and explain what your page is about, readers are not likely to progress much further.
Your headline shouldn’t be longer than 6 to 12-words. This is the case for several reasons:
- Potent Phrasing: When you condense your words, you’re forced to use more powerful wording.
- More Visibility in Google: Longer headlines are likely to get cut off in Google search pages, especially on smaller screens. Shorter headlines will be read in their entirety.
- Shorter Headlines Proves Skill: A copywriter should be able to say the most with fewer words. By choosing concise headlines, you’re proving your worth as an expert wordsmith.
Your headline should describe the very thing your company offers. That is, your readers should be able to discern from your headline alone precisely the thing they’re hoping to gain.
Let’s look at a few examples.
QuickSprout: Make Better Content.
If you are looking to improve your content creation skills, then QuickSprout’s headline probably speaks to you. That’s precisely the idea. You know you’re in the right place and are more likely to stick around a while.
Aquent: Creative, Digital and Marketing Staffing Agency
If you run a firm that is looking for creative talent, then this headline, ahem, delivers. Do you want quality talent? Yes, you do. Therefore, you’re more likely to scroll down to read further about Aquent’s services and how the organization operates.
CopyBlogger: Build Your Authority with Powerfully Effective Content Marketing
If your goal is to become an authority in your niche, you’ll know that you landed right at home. This headline – like most of CopyBlogger’s content – is incredibly electric, prompting you to scroll down to learn more.
CoSchedule: The Best Way to Plan Your Marketing, Save a Ton of Time
If there’s one thing most marketers need help with, it’s planning and time saving. By using this headline, CoSchedule is waving a flag, trying to get these individuals’ attention? Did it succeed? Hell yes it did. Where do I sign up?
If you notice in the above examples, underneath each headline is a short paragraph that expands on the ideas the headline put forth. You would be well-served to follow suit.
This short description serves an important purpose, as you may not be able to nail the purpose of your site with just your headline alone.
The trick to writing this paragraph is to ensure that it flows seamlessly with your headline. Furthermore, this paragraph should espouse the benefits of using your site, from alluding to the benefits of your products and services to celebrating the successes of your very best customers.
Here are some examples:
Freshbooks: Find out how FreshBooks helps millions of service-based business owners make everyday invoicing and accounting easy, fast and secure.
The headline describes what FreshBooks offers and the paragraph explains what you, as a customer, will receive. You also get a little social proof, as you now know that millions of customers just like you have chosen the company’s accounting and invoicing software, and to excellent results.
LastPass: Simplify your online life with LastPass, the convenient and secure way to manage your passwords.
I use LastPass personally and the home page is one of the reasons I became a customer. Who has the mental capacity to remember the dozens of passwords we’re forced to keep up with daily? I know I don’t.
The paragraph under the heading (Passwords Made Easy) lets me know that the service is convenient and secure, which is exactly what I was looking for in a password manager.
AWeber: When you communicate through email, you can build a loyal audience of people who truly want to hear from you.
What business owner doesn’t want to grow their business? When you read the headline, you’re immediately hooked. But then there comes this powerful paragraph that lets you know that you can build a “Loyal Audience” of people who truly want to hear from you. That’s like having your own captive audience, which is every marketer’s dream.
If you’ve done your job with your headline and opening paragraph properly, prospects are now thinking, “Who else has used this service with good results?” This is where social proof can push someone who’s “On the Fence” to your side of the yard.
Earlier I showed you how FreshBooks inserted social proof into their opening paragraph. They used the McDonald’s technique: Millions served here.
There are other ways to insert social proof into your Home page copy, some of which can be seen below.
LastPass: Used & Trusted by Millions
LastPass decided to let you know that millions of others have used their service by offering actual proof. Here they have inserted three testimonials along with the names and photos of the authors. You also get to see how long each person has used the service. What a way to display legitimacy.
CopyBlogger: More Testimonials
CopyBlogger uses the same tactic that LastPass did, and each person describes the confidence and authority they took away from using the site. No wonder the site is killing it in the content-o-sphere.
CoSchedule: Brand Logos
CoSchedule takes a different approach. Here the brand has displayed the various companies that are currently using the service to get ahead. By using name brands, the company puts themselves heads and shoulders above their competition.
You’ve let your audience know that they’re in the right place and you’ve shown that you’re legitimate. Now the prospect wants to know more. Like, how do you operate and how do they use your service for maximum benefit?
This is where you’ll want to include relevant information about your products and/or services in tiny chunks. This either means short paragraphs underneath concise headings or providing information with short sentences and paragraphs as we explained in the 7 rules of web copywriting.
AWeber: Bite-Sized Chunks
AWeber has made it easy to say yes to their email marketing service. They’ve pinpointed all the benefits their audience will be looking for: Time Saving, Importing of Email Addresses, Integration with Various Platforms, Expert Deliverability, Speedy Growth, and Live Customer Support.
Underneath each of those headings is a single sentence. Easy, peasy, and the customer has no other choice but to say, “Yes!”
FreshBooks: Even Shorter Bite-Sized Chunks
FreshBooks certainly didn’t beat around the bush, and the company doesn’t have to. They’ve made their Home page very easy to consume. There are three simple blocks of text – Easy to Use, Save Time and Get Organized. Can’t get much better than that.
If you notice on every one of these Home pages, and especially in the graphic above, you see a simple and clear CTA. In the case of FreshBooks, it’s, “Try it Free for 30 Days.” Yours may say, “Buy Now” or “Click to Subscribe”, or whatever else you are expecting your audience to do.
If you follow these steps, you’ll entice your audience to stay on your Home Page, you’ll accurately describe what you do and what your audience will get out of using your products/services; and you’ll increase conversions exponentially.
Don’t have time to write your own Home page, or all the other pages your site has to offer? Contact me and tell me about your organization and what you’re hoping to gain. I’ll put my skills and expertise to work for you.
You’re about to make an excellent first impression. Get your Home page written like a professional and your prospects will soon become thirsty and loyal customers for life.