However, there's a difference between a pretty site and a powerful site--in other words, a site that actively converts for you.
Use this list as a checkpoint, to make sure your front page is hooking people and communicating the good stuff as effectively as it can.
The first few seconds someone lands on your site are crucial! They're trying to determine what they're dealing with and whether it matters to them. It should be instantly clear what your site is about.
It's easy to assume that they'll look through your portfolio or read your blog posts, and figure it out. But in a lot of cases, they won't even make it that far. They'll be outta there if they can't immediately figure out what you do or whether they want it.
It should be visible at a single glance. Pull them in, and entice them to learn more.
This is not the time to be vague. Look at this ambiguous, cloudy little gem: “I empower women by helping them to rediscover their strength.” Great, but: how do you deliver that? Coaching? A fitness plan? A past-life regression? What are you actually delivering to them?
A solid basic formula to use is: "I provide [fill in the work] for [fill in the type of client] who [fill in something the client needs/wants/struggles with]."
And of course, style it up to sound more interesting--just make sure your intent isn't lost in translation.
Here's the brand intro I'm currently working with:
Web + branding for creative, rebel-at-heart entrepreneurs
(who are dying to break free of the standard "rules" for business)
See? Captivating, precise, and most of all, clear!
We're talking both design and imagery here. If you've never been through a branding process with a professional, check in yourself: do your colors support the vibe you're going for? (Look to color psychology for some direction there.) Do your photos and graphics evoke the emotions you want your audience to associate with you?
The nonverbal counts for a lot. You may be sending conflicting, or confusing, messages without even realizing it. It should all make sense together, and it should support the same overall message and goals. (And if you've never taken the time to actually identify those messages and goals, let's talk!)
Yes, yes--you want to provide them with client testimonials, a portfolio of work, and links to your blog, email list, and social media. You want them to immerse themselves in your site and build a relationship with you.
But don't forget that your site is also (hopefully) there to act as a point of sale as well! Don't get so focused on throwing everything you've ever created at your audience that they get distracted from the BIG goal, which is to get them to actually work with you!
If you're a service provider, feature a way to book you (or inquire) prominently in your main navigation. I'd even suggest dressing up that link with a button or some different styling, so that it stands out from the rest. For product-based businesses, same thing, but with a link to the shop.
On more permanent content such as your About page, Portfolio, etc., don't leave your audience hanging at the end! Close with a call-to-action to shop your products, book a project together, or whatever makes the most sense for you. Don't forget about linking to these things in relevant blog posts as well!
The bottom line: make it so easy for your audience to find out how to pay you, that there is no possible way they can miss it.
I get it. Your business is your conduit to making big shifts on a global scale, and there is SO MUCH you want the world to know about your incredible work!
But it can't all be thrown at people at once. It's too much. Let the audience dive into your work at a natural pace; don't knock them over with a tsunami of information.
Your front page is a place to intrigue people and pull them in. Use your secondary pages or a blog feature to give the full story.
I'm not hating; I lovvvvve a selfie. But save them for your social media. On your website, you need photos of yourself that look professionally shot. Hire a photographer for a shoot of branded photos and headshots. If that’s not something you feel ready to do yet, set up a tripod or ask a friend to take a few shots of you at your desk, outside, or wherever it makes sense for your brand and the kind of work you do.
The front page of your site is prime real estate, and you want to lead with the best. With very few (rare) exceptions, an iPhone selfie in a smudged mirror is probably not a look to put front and center.
You do not need 12 pages all linking from your front page. You really don’t. People will NOPE right out when they have too many options in front of them.
Lead them through your website. Pick a few priority links that are most likely to lead to a sale (your about page, your services page, your portfolio, for example) and feature those links prominently. Save your supporting content for other areas of your site.
There are enough cookie cutter websites out there. There's enough site copy out there that sounds like it belongs on a term paper. But if you want to really connect, be you.
Write the way you speak. Use visuals that really feel like you. Your website is your home base and your best employee. It does the work of giving your audience everything they need to know to decide whether or not to hire you.
And we know you didn't go into business for yourself just so that you could operate like every other corporate drone out there. Innovate, baby!