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Web Design

Homepage Design for Small Businesses

example of a good homepage design with excellent layout

This week I’ve had a real busy time designing and building 3 different company homepages.

  • I did them so naturally it got me to thinking how do I design a homepage?
  • What are the main aims I’m looking to achieve in this design?
  • What elements am I looking to include on this page to help this company make money?

I’ve been building homepages for business websites like yours for nearly 25 years and I’ve found that a lot of business owners come with ideas for their homepage that may not be the best for their business.

It might seem overwhelming if you are looking to build or update your website homepage, but it doesn’t have to be.

There are errors that business owners can avoid in the course of building theirs.

If you haven’t got the budget to get us to design your WordPress website, let’s give you some help to create a homepage that benefits your business website in every sense. I’ll list the most frequent things here, and show you the common mistakes that small business owners often make when creating their homepage and what I do.

First up…

legal web design homepage

Good Homepage Essentials.

Your homepage is often the first page that visitors see when landing on your site. It’s also the most likely page to rank in the search engines too.

Making good design choices could create a huge difference for your visitors.

What should a good home page look like?

A good homepage design says who you are, what you do and how you can help them.

First you need to create some homepage content.

Ask yourself:

  • How can you help this visitor?
  • If someone ended up on your site, what’s the one key product or service they can’t do without?
  • What’s the unique selling proposition (USP) of your business?
  • What problem can you solve for them?

A homepage like this will grab from the second they land on it and entice them to click deeper into your site, which is the first step towards conversions.

First work out what your message is. Develop your text, rework it, make it better and better.

Until you are entirely happy that every word you have written is perfect, don’t start the homepage design.

hairdresser web design

Overcomplicating the Homepage

The most common mistake that many DIY web designers make when creating their site is overcomplicating things.

It’s natural to want your homepage to stand out, but in most cases, less is more.

The main aim of your website is to convert visitors into customers. You don’t need every fancy feature under the sun. What’s more important is having a homepage that’s easy for your customer to navigate and understand.

Less is More:

We all know the statistic that website visitors form their first impression within the first few seconds.

That means simplicity matters.

A simple homepage design that helps the customer to be able to find what they need, but not feel overwhelmed.

single page web design shown as desktop and mobile

Instead of vague headlines, choose user-friendly language.

Use the language of your target audience. Or at least, words they understand.

Avoid technical jargon, industry terms and marketing waffle that might alienate or confuse them.

Your headlines should be clear, concise, and directly related to the content they introduce.

Vague or overly generic headlines are pointless. And they are everywhere.

What does ‘Safe. Reliable. Professional’ or ‘Welcome to our Website’ actually tell a potential customer.

I saw a mad statistic the other day that said we can potentially see thousands of adverts a day if we are online.

They’re probably right.

I’ve only got to mutter about needing a new potato peeler one dreary Tuesday evening and from there it’s an onslaught of social media adverts sending me pictures and adverts of every potato peeler on the bloody planet.

potato peeler advertNever mind the Tik Tok videos. That’s a whole other blog post.

I digress.

What I’m saying is that’s a heck of a lot of words you’re not actually remembering.

When attention spans are at a minimum, don’t waste a chance to say what you do, or what problem you can solve.

A good headline answers that question.

The best tip when writing your homepage headline is say

• What You Do
• Where You Do it
• What Problem You Solve

Reassure the visitor they are in the right place for the thing they were searching for.

It doesn’t matter what type of website you are building, or for what sector, ensure your H1 and H2 headlines include words people actually have search intent for and are the first thing a visitor sees. You don’t want to force them to scroll to see what you do.

When visitors can quickly grasp your message, they’re more likely to do something on your website.

simple homepage design

Good Homepages Have a simple navigation menu.

When it comes to navigation, simplicity is key.

A cluttered menu that has too many choices will only confuse visitors and make it difficult for them to find what they’re looking for – especially on mobile.

Having too many choices for your website visitor is proven to make them less likely to take a decision and click a link.

2 page website example of Simon Deweys new wedding photography website

Consider your menu as the map for your website. Write descriptive titles that lead users to sections of your site such as service pages. It’s good for humans, and it’s good for search engines too.

It’s advisable to streamline navigation menus, limit the number of choices presented at any one time, and use clear and concise language to guide users

This approach can help reduce overload, make the decision-making process easier, and actually increase the likelihood of them taking the desired action on a website.

Good Homepages have Clean and uncluttered design.

Your website is often the first interaction potential customers have with your brand. A clean design reflects professionalism and attention to detail, qualities that visitors will associate with your services or products.

It sets the tone for what customers can expect from you, establishing trust from the outset.

A less-is-more design approach allows your content to take centre stage. Without competing with loud backgrounds, animations or excessive graphics, your key messages are clearer.

If you’re a plumber in Manchester, using lots of Stock Photography of American plumbers is not only daft, it can actually damage your chance of converting the visitor. They want to see you.

When users don’t have to work hard to process information, they’re more likely to absorb your messages and take action.

Does your text have room to breathe?

If you want someone to read something, overlaying it on a busy photograph is really not going to help.

White space has been proven to make your messages easier to read so don’t cram everything together.

Remove unnecessary distractions.

I get it: all those distractions can do your head in.

We’ve all been on local newspaper websites, and the result is just about always the same: pop-ups, excessive advertisements, sections loading in late and moving your page around, the list goes on.

And the result? Even more frustration, leading to… yep, a rage quit.

To put it simply: just don’t do it.

By removing those unnecessary distractions, you help visitors to keep their eyes on what really matters and turning them into a paying customer.

Simpler layouts also have the benefit of adapting more easily to different screen sizes, ensuring your website delivers across all devices.

This flexibility not only improves your visitors experience but also contributes to better search engine rankings, as mobile-friendliness is a ranking factor for Google.

Good Homepages have great CTA’S (Calls To Action)

After writing all this content you now want them to do something. Their job is to grab your attention and get you to click through to do something – whether that’s filling out a form to contact the company, signing up for their email list, or checking out more details about their products or services.

The better they are designed with convincing words and an appealing look, the more likely you’ll feel inspired to actually click and keep exploring the site

Whether it’s an eCommerce homepage or a business landing page, a well-designed homepage is essential. It sets a professional tone and immediately engages visitors, establishing a strong brand image right from the start.

google reviews shown on homepage

Social Proof on your Homepage

This is the easiest advice  you can give.

If you have a testimonial, or you have a review, put it on your homepage.

It’s the first page of your website.

You have a review.

Show it off!

A simple way to add social proof to the homepage of your WordPress website is with a Google Review Plugin. It feeds through your reviews from your Google Business Profile and that is all the proof you need 🙂

Author – Jim Adams

Jim Adams, Owner of Designers Up North

Jim Adams is a designer with over 25 years of experience in the industry. As the owner and designer at Designers Up North, Jim has led numerous projects that have significantly impacted clients’ brands and digital presence.

Having attained a Bachelor’s Degree in Design & Photography with honours, mentored by professors such as Jem Southam, Jim has since worked extensively in web design, branding, and graphic design. Over the years, Jim has earned a reputation for crafting both print and web design solutions that surpass client expectations.

Thanks to his photography background he has an expert knowledge of web design for wedding photographers and continues to work on websites and marketing for some of the UK’s best photographers.

Connect with Jim on LinkedIn or contact Designers Up North.