5 things your homepage needs (and 5 things it doesn't)

8 minute read
The 5 things your homepage actually needs to help you connect with your ‘dream’ clients, explain what you do in a way that feels tangible for them and guide them through your sales funnel.
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You already know why you need a good website. You’ve heard all about attention spans and how little time you have to engage a user on your site.

You’ve heard it all before, so I won’t rehash its importance.

But I thought I’d guide you through how you can actually implement it in real life (and your own website), so that you stand a better chance of

  • New users sticking around longer (or, increasing engagement time)
  • Users coming back to your site often (or, the coveted returning user)

All of these things will help you write clear, concise and compelling copy for your website, while clearly explaining what you, who you do it for and why it matters to you and them.

And you know I’m going to place a lot more focus on strategy than design here, so strap yourself in, it’s going to be an intimate ride.

Thing 1: A clear focus on the result you provide

You’ve heard me talk about this here and here, but for reals, placing emphasis on the result you provide means you’re leveraging how you do things differently. Sure, there are thousands (millions?) of copywriters, but what is it about your copywriting business that’s just different? What is the result you provide your clients?

By putting more focus on the emotional benefits our clients experience when working with us, we won’t easily disappear into a sea of same-ness in the online business space, especially when marketing our services.

Action step

Read this post to figure out how you do things differently in your industry.

Thing 2: An understanding of who you really want to work with

And I am suggesting this in a way that is absolutely pain-point and manipulation-free.

By understanding who you want to work with, you’re able to speak directly to what they’re looking for or want support with.

And I’m not talking about the “branding for creative online businesses” type of heading here. I mean the intimate knowing of what they value, why they’re choosing to hire out and what they find yummy in a brand experience.

And then address that person, not masses of people. Bonus points for your website flowing like a conversation between the two of you (unless your brand is intensely formal and not conversational, which I’m guessing it isn’t because you’re here).

Action step

Write up a short paragraph about who the client you really want to work with is.

Need a bit more guidance getting to know who you want to work with in the ways that actually make a difference to your marketing and content? Take my Get More Fab Clients workshop here.

Thing 3: Why you care about what you do (and why they should, too)

This is your story, but it’s so connected to who you want to work with and the result you provide, even if you don’t realise it yet.

This forms the foundation of why you’re passionate about supporting that person, and your own experiences are tied to how you do things differently.

It’s also deeply woven into the future you want to be a part of creating in your business, or your vision.

I don’t recommend an essay here, and you are free to direct them to your about page if you want them to know more. Keep it concise with 3-5 lines that sum up the heart behind your business and the future you want for them.

Action step

Consider your experiences over the last years — any experiences your business was born out of. How have they changed or shifted you? What gifts have they given you? How have they grown your perceptions or beliefs? How have they evolved what’s important to you?

Thing 4: Knowing how you want to move them through your ‘funnel’

I say ‘funnel’ because I’m not a super big fan of overused marketing terms (and also, you don’t have to have an actual funnel). But it is super beneficial for you to know how you want someone to move through your brand experience.

This includes knowing where you want them to start in your community, and how they can become a client through that journey.

It could look like a free download with an intimate email sequence that introduces yourself, your work and how they can work with you.

It could also look like an introduction offer, like a paid-for workshop that’s low on investment and high on value. This could serve to introduce them to yourself, how you approach what you do and allow them to determine whether working with you is something they want to pursue.

It could be straight into a signature offer, too. And you’re encouraging them to reach out, connect with you and book a service.

Or it could be an invitation to book a free call where you could support them in one clear pre-determined area and then offer a way to support them further with paid-for services or programmes.

Knowing how you want them to move through your community and offers allows you to write up and include very clear calls to action on each page, as you guide them to complete a specific step.

Action step

What do you want your website visitors to do on your home page? What step are you encouraging them to take? Where do you want to send them?

Thing 5: A good grasp of what searches you want to pop up in

Yes, this isn’t quite as sexy, I know. But you do need to know what keywords are important to you, and not just on your homepage.

These keywords should feature throughout your copy as well as being included in your image file names, alt text and metadata (if you could be bothered, I know it’s super boring).

This obviously boosts your SEO and makes your page way more findable by the people you want to work with. And it’ll work best when you actually know what they’re looking for or searching.

Action step

This is a multi-step action step. First, write up keywords you feel are relevant to your work and what your would-be clients will be searching for. Second, offer and schedule a handful of interviews with people who align with who you want to work with. You could offer them something in return and then use your call to ask them questions about where they are, what they’re struggling with, why they’d hire out, what they’d search for, where they’d look for it and what brand experiences they enjoy.

Then look through their answers and highlight keywords. Measure them up against yours and use critical thinking to build your final list.

This is helpful business-wide, but in terms of your homepage and utilizing your client voice, it’s a no-brainer.

So, those are the 5 things your homepage actually needs and, just for fun, here are 5 that it just doesn't and why:

  • Links to blog posts
  • ~You really don’t need to make your home page longer, I promise. And if someone wants to visit your blog, they can do that by clicking the very clear link in your navigation bar.
  • ~Giving users 1-3 clear options on your homepage si plenty. Giving them the option to read your about page, your services pages, download your ‘free’ offer and read blog posts are just too much.
  • ~Don’t do it.
  • Pop-ups
  • ~Look, I’m not saying they can’t be useful. I’m saying you don’t actually need them if you’ve injected your call to actions with good strategy and clear messaging.
  • ~So if you’re spending too much time figuring out that Flodesk pop and styling it/hacking it so that it matches your site design seamlessly, just stop.
  • ~Consider a pre-footer promotion that you can include on each page rather, since the pop-up won’t (or shouldn’t, at least) be shown again if they close it.
  • A 10-link long navigation bar
  • ~Please, please don't do this.
  • ~I’m sure there are at least 5 links you could put in your footer, rather.
  • ~And if you can’t, group those links into folders, to give each link context and also hide them until a user clicks the folder name.
  • Clutter
  • ~In terms of copy: you don’t need long winding pieces of text on your homepage. Sometimes waffling on a website is good — it can improve your SEO for sure. But don’t waffle through sections just to add keywords or because you think your website visitors need all of that information off the bat (they don’t). Keep your headings, paragraphs and calls to action clear, transparent and concise.
  • ~In terms of design: leave space. You don’t need to fill your website with hoards of images and varying fonts to make it look good. Visual clutter can actually assist in your website not looking good, especially for mobile. Keep the layout and design elements clean and simple, especially if you’re diy-ing your own website. Leave ‘white space’ for the content to breathe and use heading styles to move the eye through the hierarchy of information.
  • Search function
  • ~Unless your an e-commerce site, you don't need a search function on your home page.
  • ~If you want to have search functionality on your site, add it to your content pages (like blogs) and connect the search results to that specific collection so they get relevant search results.

Know you need a website but don’t fancy diy-ing it yourself?

Or you want a website that’s as beautiful as it is strategic, filled with brand messaging that connects with those dream clients?

I love designing and developing websites that share the right story with the right people — in the most beautiful way. Book a complimentary call and we can chat about what you need and how we can make it happen together.

Keep this checklist handy

I’ve added this to a PDF checklist for you so you can grab a coffee (or a glass of wine), a new Google doc and get these 5 things done so your website can work with you in getting more fab clients.
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5 things your homepage needs (and 5 things it doesn't)

Hi! Hello. I'm the author, Lorin.

Red wine appreciator, amateur gardener and the voice and heart behind everything here.

I work with small business owners who want more rad clients, growth, and clarity and less rules, formulas and lost-in-the-crowd brand stories by supporting them in building a business they love and brand they believe in.

Partnering with me goes well beyond branding and I’m never in it for the short term. This is also not your typical design studio: I’m equally invested in working with businesses that aren’t ready for or don’t want to invest in design.

So that either way, we wrap up our project with what you need to communicate what you do, who you do it for and why it matters in the most compelling way, without sacrificing your vision or values in the process.

Got more meh clients than fab ones?

(Or maybe just not enough clients at all?)

Start with your brand messaging!

Grab my Brand Messaging Guide and a cup of coffee (or glass of wine ;) ) and find out what small and impactful changes you can make this week to start getting more (fab) clients. Or find out more about it here.

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