Today I want to talk to you about a topic that is very important with regards to your marketing: a website. More precisely, your home page on your website. First, do you have a website? Because if you don’t and you have a small business or even a team, you should have one. You MUST have one. Maybe you do have a website and you’re getting compliments on a recurring basis. Do you also get requests through your website? Are people writing you asking for your product or service? If you aren’t getting requests, you should be worried. So today I’m going to talk to you about an effective homepage for your website. I won’t go through the details of the entire website, I really just want to focus on the homepage.
Why is it important to have an effective homepage?
- Your website is your storefront AND your sales team when you’re not there or when your team is not there. You want to put out the best.
- People don’t have much time. Your homepage should quickly connect with your best clients.
- You want to rank for google and other search engines.
Here are the step-by-step instructions for creating an effective homepage:
- At the Top: Contact Us, Call to Action, Social Media Links
- Menu Section: Logo, Products/Services, Our Story, Blog, Contact
- Header: Hero Shot, Tagline or Message that connects with people
- What You Do: 3 Main Lines, Features — image and text that is relevant
- Your Promise: 3-6 points about “How you serve differently”
- Footer: Logo, Shortcuts, Recent Blog Posts or Live Feed, Contact Info
- BONUS: Call to Action along the route
Here are some Do’s and Don’ts when creating your homepage:
- Don’t be scared of technology. Many tools are easy and have templates already built-in. Weebly, Wix, etc.
- Don’t underestimate the importance of a home page.
- Don’t delay because you don’t have the time to do the whole website.
- Do your homepage even if subpages are old school, big names do it…
All right, now I promised you a website. It’s going to be Solpak. So go to solpak.ca and you’re going to see the live example of this. By looking at the site, you be the judge. We’ve seen a dramatic improvement in our traffic since we switched to this a few years ago. Then, download the homepage template as well. You will be able to fill in the blanks and see how your home page would look.
Thank you for listening and watching, or reading. Please do me a favor. Go on Small Business Sherpa on Facebook. Please like my page and this way you’ll be updated on future sessions. And if you have any questions on starting or running a small business, please send me a shout out, a quick message and I would be happy to respond. Remember, with the right tools, and the right path, you too can enjoy your business.
[The following is the full transcript of this episode of Small Business Sherpa: The Podcast with David Salerno.]
Ah! Hi. Ha ha. Do not shoot after lunch. Folks, do not try this at home.
Hi. My name is David Salerno. I’m the founder and owner of Solpak Packaging Solutions, but that’s not what I want to talk to you about today. Today I want to put my Small Business Sherpa hat on and I want to talk to you about a topic that is a very important topic with regards to your marketing and that is a website. And more precisely, your homepage, the home page on your website.
So, the question I have for you is; first, do you have a website? Because if you don’t and you have a small business or even a team, you should have one. You must have one. And watch this. Hopefully, I’m going to convince you why.
Now maybe you’re getting compliments from your website. “Wow, your website is so good. It’s so clear what you do,” and you get that kind of feedback on a recurring basis. Do you get that kind of feedback? And now, are you getting requests through your website? Are people writing to you asking for your product or your service? If you don’t get requests through your website, you should be worried, unless you get no traffic. I could ask you do you get traffic on your website, but that’s for another topic.
All right. So today I want to talk to you about an effective homepage for your website. Now, I will not go through details of the whole website. I really want to focus on the homepage. And quite frankly, if you don’t have a website or if you have a very old website and you want to revamp it, it might be a good consideration to just focus on the homepage. You’ll do the rest later because quite frankly, it’s your business card. Right?
So, effective homepage. Now, why is it important to have an effective homepage? Your website is your storefront and your sales team when you’re not there or when your team is not there. You want to make sure that you’ve designed your homepage with that in mind.
Second, people don’t have much time. They are going to scan. So if for some reason they find your site or they have the address to your site and visit it, they won’t spend much time. They’re just going to scan it. You want to make sure you design your homepage to be effective and quickly connect with those people, especially your future clients.
And finally, you want to rank for Google. I’m not going to claim here that I’m going to give you the top seven secrets of SEO, search engine optimization. I will, however, pepper with ways upcoming with actual tips for ranking on Google SEO. Now, I’m not a designer. I’m a small business owner and we have the top of the keywords for our industry and we keep getting feedback on how our website is amazing. New employees, new clients. We’ve had bankers tell us it’s clear and we even had it reviewed by a competing firm and they were really impressed because we were hitting on all the targets that need to be on an effective homepage. And that’s what I’m teaching you today. Hooray!
All right. Let’s start. Okay. So, now I have a confidence here to make. Catherine, who is in charge of production, has actually challenged me to talk for only 10 minutes. And you can imagine that now I’ve talked for three minutes so I have seven minutes left. Four minutes, she tells me. Or, I might ask for an increase in budget. Anyway, are you guys ready? I’m making it quick today.
An effective homepage. I will go through all the content that I will give you a way to go see an example. I will talk about it here but I’ll give you an address to visit after so you can see this in real life action.
Step-by-Step Instructions to Creating An Effective Homepage:
1. The top. This is the small bar you see at the top. What I strongly recommend is some sort of phone number. Right? And it’s going to be small at the top where they can contact you with the call to action. So it could be “Call us” because some people just hate looking at websites. They just want to talk to somebody. Tell them right off the bat. That’s why it’s at the top. And then they’ll call you. Right?
Second is you want to have your social media here. Right? Facebook, Twitter, maybe Instagram. It depends on your industry and your service. Maybe it’s Pinterest for you. So you decide. Why has it at the top? Because some people do not trust websites and they want to know more about who is this company, who is this person? So they’re going to click here and they’re going to go visit who you are. And hopefully, you’re populating. So only put the social medias you’re actually active in. If you only have one, that’s okay. Or two, fine. Put the ones because some people will want to see your credibility on social media before they even look at anything else. Okay?
And finally, I’m going to write CTA, call to action. Now, in my course I talk about the concept of storifying your business and having an attract plan. So that would be for later, but for today, all I’m going to tell you is you need to offer something to your client for free that will get their attention. And in our case, it’s free samples. So it depends. In your case, it could be a free layout, free design, free trial of your app, whatever the case may be. Why? Because some people are action oriented. They are not patient to read. If they have ADD, it’s even worse. Give them an action to do right off the bat.
2. Logo. Okay, so this was the little quick shortcuts here. Then you have your logo. Make sure it’s clear, it’s not pixelated, meaning its high-resolution. You could have your tagline underneath of it makes sense. Make sure it’s there. Then you have your menu. The menu will vary depending on what you can do. But let’s say for the sake of the story we have products, we have our story, we have your story, you have a blog and you have contact. So that could vary a lot, honestly. But what’s important here is that they see your logo and that the navigation in your site, no matter how small or big and expensive it is, will be easily accessible here. And again, you have a contact option. All right? We usually read from the left to the right in the Western world, at least, and then you will hit contact.
3. You get the header shot. And I apologize. I am terrible at drawing. This is supposed to be wider. This is when you see a big nice picture with a tagline. So you have a big nice picture. Right? This is so nice. And then you have your tagline. Okay? Now, your tagline has to connect with your clients. Now it’s your chance to connect and make your visitors want to read more because they are going to stop there. I’ve seen statistics on some websites where you can see the percentage of people as they go through and as they scroll down over the fold, they call it, so they scroll down and it drops down from 80% to nothing. Right? So your job is to bring them through because you’re telling them a story here. Okay. So picture, header, tag line that connects. So in our case, we decided for Solpak to put “Your Meal Packaging Partner” because there’s a promise in there. Right away we talk about meal packaging. So we’re not into tire packaging. We’re not into bulk packaging. We’re into meal packaging. It’s a very niche market and “partner” sends a promise. All right. Some will advise to put another CTA here. They see this and are like, “Oh, I like this. Who is this?” and then call to action. You can put many call to action.
4. Number four is what you do. What you do … Did I just say a word in French? Ahhh. I was checking if you are paying attention. All right. What you do can take many forms. In our case, we recommend putting the top three product, service or feature that you are offering. If it’s one app, it’s a feature. It’s features. If it’s product lines, it is the case. If you only have one line … But you could have your three. And then for each you have a nice picture, a nice representation, some sort of text that is pushing the benefit for the client. What are they getting out of this? And so forth. In our case we focus on having “Package, Seal, and Deliver” because we have packaging, sealing machines and delivery solutions. Bingo.
5. Now it’s your promise. I talk about the concept of define your promise in your branding in the course “Small Business Sherpa, the Course” which will be upcoming in the next few weeks. Your promise is basically you’re telling them, “Okay. I’m serving you. Here’s my tagline. Here’s what I’m offering. But here’s how I’m going to deliver.” Because they’re going to say, “Okay. I’ve seen this type of service or product elsewhere. What’s with you?” Differentiator. Little icons with the visual. Humans are visual. They need fast. All right? You could have another tagline here of why you are different. Okay? Some people are intellectual, cerebral. They need words. They need to read and then think. Image is not enough. So you put a tagline. An example: It could be an overnight delivery, a guarantee 30 days. It could be top app of its category. It could be many things but an icon and a little text of why it’s different. All right?
6. Testimonials. Now people are saying, “I like all of this, but are other people using it?” They won’t tell you. You’ll never know. But they are thinking, and you are thinking when you see other sites, “Yeah, but who’s using this?” Testimonials. Okay? Ideally, pictures. It could be a few one. It could be a carousel that’s rolling, and what they’re actually saying. Put picture of people, folks. Very important. Why? We’re still geared to look for our kind when we look at information and this is exactly what you want, is you want them to see people who are saying nice things about you. It doesn’t matter if they know them or not. If you have known people for your industry, that’s amazing. That’s like jackpot right there because they are saying, “Oh, Oprah likes my material or my service or my quilts. I don’t know, is that something Oprah would like? But anyways, the point being is you want people to know that other people are doing it too.
7. And finally, the footer. Now remember, some people will read this like this, like that, then they get to the end. They want to know how does this thing end? So you get to the footer. And usually, you’re going to have your logo again because now they are gone. Unless you have a fancy type that shows the menu at all times, they’re going to get to the end and they might not even remember where they are, so you put the logo again. You want to put the shortcuts. Right? Shortcuts to your menu. Some people will put links to items that are hidden in these menu bars just to make sure that they link. So you could put your product lines specifically here or what not. And finally, you could put to make it more live, maybe your blog, your recent blog so it creates some sense of newness in the footer. And finally, you want to put your contact info again. Because somebody who is maybe looking for a product or service, they’re going through your thing and they’re making up their mind as you’re reading. Then they get to the testimonials and are like, “Okay. Okay. It’s everything I wanted and other people do it.” So, path. Contact information. It could be a call to action.
So feel free to add call to action along the way, depending. Now it’s a design decision so that they have the opportunity to click on something to get to the next step with you.
Do’s and Don’ts for Creating an Effective Homepage:
All right. So that’s basically an effective homepage. Now I’m going to talk about a few do’s and don’ts. This is not rocket science. Right? This effort, it could be daunting. So don’t be scared by technology. Many tools are online. I’m thinking of Wix, Weebly are two of them. Feel free to send me a shout out if you’re like, “Oh, wait a minute. What’s that that he said?” If you don’t know those tools, there are other tools. If you have a bit more means, example you could hire a developer. You could find them on oDesk. I think it’s called Upwork now. Or Fiverr. You can find somebody that would build you this in WordPress, for example. And once it’s built, you don’t have much to do. Maybe update your testimonials to give more info. If you have a blog, obviously, then you need the power of a blog. And that could be done with a partner.
Now, the other thing is, don’t underestimate the importance of the homepage. Trust me. Remember I talked about as SEO? I did not mention anything here. And quite frankly, there’s a lot of images, which is great. You also want in each of these texts lines to put content that’s relevant to your industry; the features of your product, the benefits. Maybe in your tagline you’ll put a little subtext. Obviously, if you have other pages with products, you’re going to put your content. Don’t underestimate the power because sites, Google, Bing and the others will find you.
Then, don’t delay because you don’t have the time to do a whole website. Because this could be scary. But you know what? Never mind all of these elements. Just stay there. Stop there and have your call to action that becomes an email or a form that comes to you and that’s it. But don’t delay in having a homepage that is really your storytelling.
And finally, don’t delay the … Hold on, I’m having a blank moment here. If your subpages are older or if your site has been there a long time and you’re like, “Oh, my God I have to change everything. This is too much,” No. I’ve seen some of the biggest names … And I won’t name them here … Who actually reshape their homepage but leave the old structure behind. And it’s fine because what you want here is to get the attention and then the attention of your visitors. And I’ve seen banks do that, actually, to be honest with you. You go behind and it’s the old structure because the bank has, I don’t know, 12,000 pages with all of the services and connectedness. So that’s it.
All right. Now I promised you a website. It’s going to be Solpak. So go to solpak.ca and you’re going to see the live example of this. By looking at the site, you be the judge. If you feel that, “Okay, this story flows and if I were in that industry I’d really want to take part of it,” you tell us. We’ve seen a dramatic improvement in our traffic when we switched to this a few years ago.
Then download the homepage template that I’m going to make available as a download. You will be able to fill in the blanks and see how your own home page would look like. So please, feel free to download the homepage. Make it a team activity. Just have fun with it and build and say, “What would we place here? Who would be our testimonials?” and what not.
So I hope this was interesting. I busted my 10 minutes,, and it’s fine. I can take it. I’m a big man. However, next time I’m going to have to be more focused. And I want to thank you for listening and watching. Please do me a favor. Go on Small Business Sherpa on Facebook. Please like my page and this way you’ll be updated on future sessions. Right now I’m pulling about one a week. And if you have any questions on running a small business, starting, I mean it. Please send me a shout out, quick message and I would be happy to respond.
Once again, thank you very much and remember: With the right tools, the right path, you too can enjoy your business.
Ugh. Okay. That’s it, folks. Cut.