That means you have to be wary of the window of time in which you can hook your customers, says Patrick Woods, director of the Memphis-based investment firm AM Ventures.
In a blog post, Woods explains the temptation to condense a company's product into a pithy blurb and put it front and center on your homepage.
"Plenty of studies show that there is indeed a small amount of time during which you must capture a visitor’s attention," he notes. "But if that’s true, wouldn’t you rather say something meaningful and interesting, versus spouting out a basic description of your features?"
Instead, he suggests opting for a message that is true to your brand, but far more engaging.
"Users land on a site with a specific intent: either to purchase something or to explore a solution," he explains. "They arrived on your page, so they probably know a little about what you do from the get-go. Think about what you want to customers to take away from an experience with your brand, not just the nuts and bolts description of what you do."
Citing Mailbox, Scanadu, and others with great homepage copy, Woods outlines three things your website should do to hook customers:
Sell your product. Prospective customers want to know one thing: What's in it for them? A good hook doesn't leave them guessing, Woods explains, so lay out the cool factor and benefits of your product. Don't force the customer to draw their own conclusions.
Make an impact. Selling your product requires going above and beyond what needs to be said, and saying it in a way that resonates with people. Good homepage copy states the core objective--and does it in a meaningful way, says Woods.
Whet their appetite. Your homepage is just that--a home base. So the copy on your home screen should entice readers to read more of the page, armed with the context of the headline, says Woods. Give visitors the framework to understand what you do on a deeper level, plus a teaser to suck them in.
FRANCESCA FENZI reports on entrepreneurship, technology and small business news from San Francisco. Her work has previously appeared in TIME, USA Today, Pop City and The Northside Chronicle. @FrancescaFenzi