Every business needs an amazing homepage; it's the first thing your users are going to see, so it forms a powerful first impression, and it also serves as a gateway to the interior pages of your site, where they'll learn more about your brand (and hopefully convert to become paying customers).

The problem is, it's hard to pull an astounding homepage design out of thin air. Instead, it's easier to take a look at some of the most effective and/or innovative pages out there already, and use them as inspiration for your own designs.

If you need help getting started, these 10 trendy homepage designs should point you in the right direction:

  1. Oribe. Immediately, you can see that Oribe's homepage is visually striking. There's a stark black-and-white image with simple text that draws your eyes, and after a moment, the homepage switches to offer a background video. If you scroll further down, you'll find information about the brand and its main products, but it's presented in a way that doesn't interfere with the overall tone and visitor experience.

  2. Konica Minolta. Konica Minolta's homepage features scrolling HTML, which is an up-and-coming trend in the world of web design. As you scroll down the page, it appears as if you're watching animation unfold. It's packed with colorful visuals, but not so many that it detracts from the purpose of the site, and there's ample information about the company and what it does to entice users further into the site.

  3. Mint. Mint is an excellent example of minimalism and simplicity in action for a homepage. It features a strong background image, which is always important, but it's not gaudy; it's laid-back. Similarly, the copy on the page is simple and to-the-point, with no jargon or sales tactics to mislead customers. It's perfect for Mint's audience, comprised of young, casual people interested in financial services.

  4. Motors.co.uk. Motors.co.uk features a background video, which has become a mainstay for many industries; it's an easy way to show off what your company does without distracting users. The homepage also has above-the-fold search functionality, helping users find exactly what they're looking for, and showcases the latest blog posts to entice new readers immediately.

  5. Active Theory. Active Theory is a creative agency, so it better have a good homepage to anchor its potential customers. The background design here is amazing, and the lack of obtrusive text means it's not interfered with. The imagery is even interactive, giving users the chance to engage with the design.

  6. Dropbox. Dropbox is the perfect example of emphasizing function over form. It doesn't have many flashy visuals or interactive components; instead, it merely offers a simple explanation of the service and a way to sign up. If you're after more conversions, this may be the best route to take.

  7. National Geographic. Would you expect National Geographic to have a homepage that isn't beautiful? The brand is known for compelling visual images, and that's what you'll find on its homepage. The photo itself changes regularly, encouraging repeat visitors to find something new every time they visit.

  8. GoPro. Along similar lines, GoPro is a brand known for enabling stunning videos--and you'll find richly detailed background videos on its homepage to compel visitors. You won't find much text on the homepage, even for its core products, which makes it another excellent example of minimalism at work.

  9. Take It. Take It is another homepage that makes use of auto-scrolling and compelling visuals. The imagery in the background changes dramatically as you scroll down, and the premise is explained briefly with a perfect illustration. It's a fantastic introduction to the brand.

  10. Vesper. There isn't a lot to see on Vesper's homepage, but it tells you everything you need to know. In just a few words and with a short background video, Vesper makes its purpose known (and makes a great first impression).

Remember, one of the most important qualities of an effective homepage design is originality, so it's not a good idea to blindly copy something another site has done. This is especially true if the site you're using as inspiration is from a completely different industry or targets a different demographic. Instead, only derive elements, vibes, or general ideas from these sources. You need to make your homepage wholly your own.

Published on: Nov 22, 2016
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.