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How to make your website visitors feel welcome
/ Louise Kinnaird
A recent visit to a hotel left me confused. I didn’t know whether I was in the right place – I couldn’t make out whether it was actually a hotel or a conference centre. There was no reception desk or concierge and there were few signs to direct me, so I made a swift exit.
In contrast, Husband and I stayed at a lovely hotel in Belgium. The reception was spacious, sophisticated, clearly signposted and the concierge was friendly and welcoming. They even offered us some coffee and Hors oeuvre upon arrival. We were impressed!
Why am I telling you this? Because your home page is the entranceway to all the wonderful things that your website is offering so it should be impressive. Don’t be that first hotel.
Your homepage is about more than just a few words and a few pictures. It has an important job to do. Just like the Belgian hotel, your homepage should be welcoming, with lovely décor (good design), clear signage and a friendly concierge (clear and welcoming copy) and clear directions to your room (the product or service you need).
So, what’s important to include in the homepage?
Grab their attention without being overbearing. Well-designed websites are no longer about standing out through busy design, bold colour and all-singing-and-dancing graphics. There’s no need for bells and whistles, that just confuses the eye and sends readers off in a panic. To stand out these days you need to use the less-is-more approach, using design that it easy on the eye. By all means, express your creative side, but be subtle and delicate. You want a refreshing quality to your home page – some calming, soothing design with simple creative appeal.
Like the grand desk of a 5-star concierge, the logo for your company should be represented clearly but not too overpowering. It should include a tagline that gets to the heart of your mission.
Ensure that you don’t put people off by overwhelming them with words (that’s what blogs are for) or being enigmatic with too little direction. Just like Goldilocks, your website homepage should be “just right” because you don’t have long to make a good impression and you’ve a lot of information to put across.
Page layout and navigability is crucial to the success of your site. And the home page is the signpost that gets readers to where they want to go, with ease. The main navigation area should be prominent – next to the main body of the page or directly underneath it, for example. And group similar navigation items together.
Include links to your social media accounts on your homepage if you want to expand your web presence. Sharing icons to your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, at the footer of your homepage will allow your audience to share your site’s content easily.
Your website homepage is usually the first page customers come to when they click through to your site; it’s the first impression that you give to your readers. And they need to feel comfortable, be impressed and stay a while to browse. Create something that not only attracts visitors but settles them down for a nice cuppa and some Hors d’oeuvre, before they go to their room, (or browse your website with the intention to buy).
Image courtesy of Pixabay
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