Q: What content is best for my homepage?

The content on a homepage is a question I often get from clients. Not just the ones starting out, but most of those who want a redesign of their existing sites as well. In fact, a new client was referred to me two days ago and she asked me that most-asked-question.

If your homepage isn’t accomplishing your main goal (or any goal) you’ll want to read this post.

How is your homepage content performing right now?

A. The first question you should answer when considering what content to put on your homepage is…

What is your number one goal to achieve with your most visited web page?

It is a rare occasion when someone visits your site for the first time and immediately makes a purchase. So rare, that particular goal should not even be considered at this point. It’s a longer term goal. Though, you do need a page that leads to purchasing as obvious (easy to find) as possible.

Your primary goal is to capture a name and email address. To do that, you must offer something of value to your visitors. NOT a “newsletter” or anything so vague or intangible. After all, they don’t know you, nor do they understand what it is you have to offer them that they need. You need to let them know they need what you have!

So, along with that number one goal, think about your potential customer and adopt their mindset. They most likely came to your website because something has “already” spoken to them and touched some part of their psyche – usually a “pain” point.

What do you do when you’re in pain? You do what it takes to eliminate it. Right?

If you have a headache, you buy aspirin, acetaminophen, migraine pills or the like. Choices are plentiful. How do you decide? You draw from experience, read the labels, do research, ask friends. You find answers.

Finding an answer to a problem is the reason people end up on any particular website. Since they are looking for answers, and you know that, why not give them your answer right up front?

Considering what you offer, whether it is a service or product, it solves some type of problem. Think about it that way and write.

I have found that writing out somewhere around 50 headlines that provide answers to the problems I solve for my clients leads to GREAT copy.

You’ll find the best headline to put at the top of your page. You’ll also uncover great sub headlines and bullet points.

Speaking of bullet points, remember to “chunk” your copy. Rarely does anyone really read word for word online. Write short paragraphs, use bullets, headlines, sub headlines and leave lots of white space. Too much copy will overwhelm a first-time visitor and they will leave without getting your message.

In this headline exercise, you may also find the perfect giveaway to entice your visitors to give you their name and email in trade. We used to call it an “ethical bribe.” Ethical because your visitors want what you’re offering and a bribe because we want to contact them again so we need their information. If you don’t get that info, they will probably never return. The follow up, called “permission marketing”, invites them back by reminding them they found value when they visited your site the first time. (I will address permission marketing in depth in a future post. So stay tuned!)

Okay, so that’s enough for now. Get started writing those award-winning headlines and write your homepage copy — get your message through all the noise and light up your audience with answers to problems you can solve the way only you can solve them. Put your spin on it. Be YOU.