The home/landing page is of utmost significance to an e-commerce store as it is a major conversion tool and needs to be given special thought and priority. It is the face of your website or campaign for visitors. It tells the story of your whole website/campaign from the first glance. The first few seconds on your homepage decide whether visitors want to stay longer and browse through the rest of it or not. According to some studies, the first 15 seconds on a homepage are sufficient to generate interest or lack of it for most users while some even suggest a smaller time frame of 5 to 7 seconds. With such a short amount of time to make a good impression, how can you make your home/landing page interesting enough to grab visitors’ attention so that they stick around for a longer time? This article highlights some best practices for online businesses to incorporate in their home/landing pages in order to optimize user experience and increase conversion rates.
Incite User to Take Action
The first question to answer is whether your website is fulfilling the requirement of the user including satisfying the purpose of his/her visit. The landing page of your website should be able to accomplish three objectives, firstly to occupy your visitors so that they don’t leave within the first few seconds, secondly, to describe the advantages of your product/service to them, and thirdly, to convert your visitors to customers. CTA or ‘Call to Action’ comes into the picture for the conversion part. Visitors’ attention is grasped by a catchy headline, interesting content explains the benefits of the product/service to them but it is the CTA that gets you the customers.
A CTA is usually a phrase, at times paired with an image that invites your audience to take some kind of action. That action may be anything from searching to subscribing to taking a free trial of the website’s services. The CTA is the link between what is already of interest to the visitors and receiving something of even greater value. Needless to say, the CTA should be strategically placed on the home/landing page so that the visitor notices it immediately and does not have to spend any time or effort in searching as that would be irritating for most visitors. Studies show that CTA placed above the fold show a higher number of conversions as compared with those placed below the fold.
Daraz.pk, one of Pakistan’s leading online shopping stores, provides ‘Search’ option as CTA on their homepage, along with a Flash Sale happening every 2-3 hours. The announcement of the flash sale on the homepage, along with a ticker creates a sense of urgency among users and they feel compelled to check out the products included in the flash, in case they don’t miss the chance of buying anything important.
When it comes to having a CTA, the best practice is to use a phrase with a clear and concise verb. In addition, instead of just adding a verb, you should include some words that appeal to the visitors and their needs. Be descriptive about what you want the user to do. Tell them with your CTA text what action you want them to take and what they will be getting when they click the CTA. Instead of using ‘Download Now’, try using ‘Download the E-Book Now’. This tells the user that they will be getting an e-book when they click on the CTA button.
An awesome example of a CTA is that of Netflix. They tell you the convenience of using their product, which is watching videos from anywhere and the option to cancel in case the user is not satisfied with the experience, followed by the CTA for a free trial of a month.
Most visitors come to a website in search of a product or service to fulfill a specific need. Your value proposition is your promise to the customer about how you will deliver value through your products or services. Your value proposition should inform customers why they should pick you above competitors and highlights the advantages of your products or services from the start. So, it is crucial that you describe the benefits of your product/service at the beginning of your homepage so that you grab the attention of users. An example of a great value proposition is of Uber because it clearly tells users the benefits to be gained when they ride with Uber, that is easy ride booking, drivers who know the location and options to compare prices and choose a car before booking a ride.
One way to turn away visitors before they have even reached the homepage is to add interstitial ads. This is especially true for those accessing the website from their smartphones and with 80% of internet users having smartphones, this is a big segment of the visitors to any website. Though irritating on a desktop or laptop, full-page interstitials are a huge inconvenience on smartphones. They make website navigation difficult for users and contribute towards an over-all poor user experience.
Another feature to avoid on your homepage is an automatic carousel. This is because the motion of the carousel distracts the user and the rotating deals or offers in the carousel fail to register themselves properly in the user’s mind. In addition, if there are 5 different messages in a carousel each with a CTA, the user maybe unable to act on any of them due to the fact that each message disappears after about 5 seconds. This is annoying for users too because they might want to act on or click on one of the banners.
A great example of homepage design is that of Dropbox Business, that has a simple design, clear value proposition and a CTA for free trial.
Additions to Homepage
It is a good idea to add the top categories of your website to your homepage because that is what users mostly come looking for on your website. It is also a good idea to guide first-time visitors towards your most-preferred categories so that their chances to buy from your site become high. First-time visitors would especially require some additional convincing in the form of social proof such as testimonials, reviews, social media posts about your products/services, verification seals, etc. to convince them to make the final buying decision. Therefore, it is advised to add social proof on the homepage of your website to motivate visitors to convert into customers.
In addition, the overall font size of the homepage, as well as the whole website should be big enough for users to actually read properly. A common error is to decrease the size of the text in order to cram too much content on the page, which results in the user not reading any of the message at all.
It is hoped that by following the tips given in this article, you increase your chances of converting visitors into customers. One thing to keep in mind is that the benefits of an optimized landing page do not appear overnight, you will need to diligently test and revise your landing pages to see the difference to conversions.
Stay tuned for the next part of this series, in which we will guide you on how to optimize the ‘Menu & Navigation’ features of your website.