One of the biggest mistakes Web designers make is cram too much information on a homepage. They are so afraid that someone is going to click away that they shove every product or service they provide right in your face.
Unfortunately, that's going to lead to the exact problem they were hoping to avoid: Visitors will get overwhelmed and leave.
A great homepage is one that:
A homepage is not an inventory display. Instead, think of it as a device designed to lead visitors where you want and need them to go.
By “core business message,” I mean something that differentiates your business from your competitors. It can be great pricing, amazing customer service, unique products or services, whatever.
Obviously there is no single formula for creating a site that is “pleasing to the eye.” Many different design styles succeed. But here are the design principles that are common to the best sites:
Finally, navigating your site shouldn’t be like “Where’s Waldo.” Navigation tabs should be clearly marked and prioritized to serve your visitors most immediate needs and interests.
While there are many sites that understand these principles, there are millions that don’t. I’ve chosen to look at two direct competitors in the consumer electronics business: Sixth Avenue Electronics and BestBuy.
The Sixth Avenue Electronics site does a good job of presenting its core message (“Save up to 70%”), but does a miserable job with the design and navigation of the site. Here are just a few of the issues:
By way of comparison, take a look at BestBuy.com.
Like SixthAvenue Electronics, the core message is discounted products. That’s about the only thing the sites have in common:
If your homepage is weak, it doesn’t matter how good your products are or how strong the rest of your website is. People won’t bother to find out. It doesn’t take a huge budget to create a great homepage. It just takes some sound business and design judgment.