Put Your Homepage To Work!
© 2001 by Said Rouhani
Your homepage is probably the most important page of your whole Web site. Yes, even more important than your order page (or the pages where you pre-sell affiliate program products).
The first page most of your visitors will land on is your homepage. If your homepage doesn't grab your visitor's attention, your order page will be useless. You can have a super hot design. You can have the fanciest e-commerce package in the World. You can even have the most desirable widget for sale.
But if your homepage doesn't pull your visitor's interest and push your sales offer (without being pushy), you will lose an enormous amount of sales.
There are two aspects of your homepage that affect its sales power:
As always, the most important thing in this exercise of Internet marketing is: KNOW YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE.
Here are a couple of highly effective design and copy strategies you can use to boost the sales power of your all important homepage:
1. Keep vital elements above the fold. "Above the fold" is a term borrowed from newspaper lingo. It means the area that readers see first (which means the top of your homepage), so it is the most important area. Basically, this area does the work of grabbing your visitor's attention while your main copy is loading. You should place your Unique Selling Proposition, logo, and an attention grabbing headline above the fold.
2. Work your headline to perfection. Your headline is the most important piece of copy on your homepage. Make it totally irresistible. Here's a "secret" tip for headlines: don't give the opportunity for the reader to escape your headline. For example, "Do you want to make money online?" isn't a good headline, because it gives a way out for the reader. How about: "Learn all you ever wanted to know about making a fortune on the Internet". Much more powerful.
3. Offer something for free on your homepage. An ebook, newsletter subscription, special report, etc. An effective strategy is to use free books in conjunction with newsletter subscriptions (i.e. "subscribe and get this free ebook"). At least if they don't stay at your site this time, they'll be reminded to re-visit when you send your newsletter.
4. Optimize your homepage for super-fast loading. This is very important. One of the primary reasons people leave Web sites is because of slow loading. Keep the total size of your homepage below 40kB.
5. Reduce animations. In fact, eliminate animations (especially banners) from your homepage altogether. They distract from your copy and don't do anything to improve the sales power of your homepage. So what if they look cool? Are you in it to look cool or make money?
6. Get rid of outbound links. Why the heck link AWAY from your Web site on your homepage? If you don't want people leaving your site, then don't provide them with an opportunity to do so. As simple as that.
7. Put up testimonials. Find something nice people have said about your business and put them up as testimonials on your homepage (ask for permission first of course). Subject to approval of the person who sent you the testimonial, include the name and email address of the person at the end (and their URL if applicable). Testimonials are very important credibility builders. You MUST use them (if you haven't received any shining testimonials from your visitors, you're probably doing something wrong).
8. Keep re-working your copy. Your homepage copy will be a work in progress. It will take up to several weeks to get it right. You must constantly read through it and make adjustments, each time making it tighter and tighter. Do NOT write about yourself or your company on your homepage. It's all about your target audience and their needs and wants. Focus on the BENEFITS that your product has to offer. And don't try to get your copy perfect in one go: that's impossible. You need to leave it for a couple of days, then re-visit with fresh eyes, re-work, leave for a couple of day, re-visit, re-work and so on and so on. Until your copy is totally leak proof.
9. Finally: TEST TEST TEST! This is probably the most important aspect of doing business online. You must test everything you do, and if it doesn't work, you need to try something else. If you for example change your headline and sales suddenly increase significantly (and you haven't carried out any major marketing campaigns), then your headline is probably a winner. To be absolutely sure, revert back to the old headline for a week or so and check if sales drop. If they do, then you definitely have a winning headline, so stick with it. Yes, you might lose some money reverting to the old headline for a week, but as a result of knowing what works you'll be able to apply it and increase your sales.
Said Rouhani is the editor of the All-About-Making-Money-Online Ezine. Subscribe now for FREE ebook containing 50 home-based businesses you can start for under $500 (click below): http://www.all-about-making-money-online.com/newsletter/