If your home page just had a picture of an orange, and your website brought your business $1 million a month, would you change it?
I hope not! Unless, of course, you know a definite way to pull in $2 million.
Somehow, your orange is effective. People are clicking on it and sending you money, and this image is funnelling your users into action.
What is Your Funnel?
Taste is subjective, and everybody has different desires for their home page. Some business want animation. Some want video. Some want lots and lots of copy. But no matter how your home page looks, it is only an effective site if users do what you want them to.
Your site goals are paramount, and in order to achieve a solid return on your investment, your home page needs to deliver a clear, exciting message.
The 38-Second Rule
Here’s something you should know; the average user spends only 38 seconds on a web page. If your home page copy takes over 38 seconds to read, you have lost your average customer.
The average person reads 200-250 words a minute. So in 38 seconds, the average person reads 125-160 words. So the average person will have read up to this paragraph; then they’re done.
But you’re not average…keep reading!
Below is a list of practices that will help you funnel your users into your site goals:
Ask Questions, Provide a Solution
If you ask a questions, people answer them unconsciously. Follow the questions up with your business as the solution:
Is your website bringing wealth to your business?
Do you want more subscribers?
Is your business on the first page of Google?
If you answered “no” to any of the above, click here.
33 words…and you have told your users that you can solve their problems by providing a better website.
A great live example is at Acting Success Now, one of our clients at Seventh Planet, Inc. Robert and Michelle Colt are experts at asking questions in their marketing copy.
If an image is worth a thousand words, you have just saved your users four minutes of reading. And if your image provides your users with a solution, it is effective.
If you run a school, have a photographer take a picture of you teaching a happy student. If you sell a product, create an elegant box shot. If you are a caterer, show everybody your venue.
This section may seem redundant, but you would be surprised at how many sites fail to compel their users with imagery.
If users have to click three times to buy your product, sign up for a class, or download your catalog, many of them won’t do so. Make it as easy as possible to sell what you’re selling.
Use an image. Make it clickable. Use a different color. Put it on every page. You will be amazed at the results.
inEntertainment, a client of Seventh Planet, Inc., has an “Order Now” clickthrough.
Give Something Away. For Free.
It’s your business; you know who buys, and your product makes them happy. But if people haven’t bought yet, consider anything you can give them as a means to gain a solid lead.
One great way to do this is to provide something value-added. If you sell perfume, provide a sample. If you are a career coach, give them a 15-minute evaluation. If you sell software, allow them to download a demo.
In exchange for their email address. Create a form on your home page that will put their email on your distribution list. Then send them something that will generate more interest. It’s a win-win. They get a sample of your excellent product, and you have a customer who is now interested!
Bride’s Night Out, a Seventh Planet, Inc. client, has an innovative “Get the Scoop” offer in their site header which generates lots of business for the company!
If you want an effective home page, all you need to understand is that your impression is limited by time. Create something that your users will understand quickly, and your return on investment will skyrocket.
Seventh Planet, Inc. has a world-class creative team that can help you with any website you need. Please feel free to visit www.seventhplanet.net to view our full portfolio.
by Erik Passoja, September 23, 2010