Business from home

So That's What Goes on a Home Page!
Date: Wednesday, January 25 @ 15:08:01
Topic Motivation and Advice


In the early days of the World Wide Web, the word went around that the thing to do o要 a home page is to heartily and sincerely welcome the visitor. Today, this is unnecessary, cliched and ineffective. Instead, an effective home page needs to quickly orient the visitor to what the business or professional practice offers, distinguish these offerings from competitors' and direct the web site visitor what to do if they are interested in learning more.


So That's What Goes o要 a Home Page!










by Marcia Yudkin

In the early days of the World Wide Web, the word went
around that the thing to do o要 a home page is to heartily
and sincerely welcome the visitor. Today, this is
unnecessary, cliched and ineffective. Instead, an
effective home page needs to quickly orient the visitor to
what the business or professional practice offers,
distinguish these offerings from competitors' and direct
the web site visitor what to do if they are interested in
learning more.

It's especially important to make a strong and clear
presentation o要 the home page if you want perfect strangers
coming from a search engine to spend more than 10 seconds
on the site when determining whether or not it is relevant
to them. Getting business from such strangers is o要e of
the major payoffs of having a web site, and they lack the
patience of someone who has already had contact with you or
been referred by a trusted source. Even people seriously
inclined to hire you don't have endless patience to wade
through hot air, jargon or superfluous preliminaries.

Therefore, a home page must make it possible to answer
these questions within 10 seconds:
* What is being described or sold here? What kind of
business is this?
* Why should I do business with this company rather than
its competitors?
* What should I do to find out more or get in touch?

In judging web sites for the Webby Awards, I have seen as
many rich, large companies as small o要es overlook the first
essential for a home page - set the context. Orient the
visitor. The perfect stranger may need to know things that
you assume everyone already knows, such as:

1. What business are you in? Include a commonly
understood industry name or the generic name of your
primary product or service prominently in the home page
copy, if it's not already part of your business name or in
the tag line. When this information isn't plainly and
obviously stated, many visitors are screaming to
themselves, "What IS this?" as they hit the back button o要
their browsers.

2. Who do you serve? So many businesses - banks,
restaurants, dentists - leave it unspoken what state or
province and even what country they are in when that's
essential to someone figuring out whether or not this
business meets their needs. When location plays a crucial
role in service, make it unmistakable where the business
is. Other times, the answer to this question is more
subtle. You need to indicate that you work with Fortune
500 companies, or mostly with authors, or with ambitious
fitness professionals and health club owners.

3. Why should someone do business with you? The best kind
of answer to this question involves presenting the benefits
someone gets from buying your products or services.
Indeed, I recommend putting such benefits right in your
home page headline. For instance, for a caregiving support
site I created this headline: With Support, Caregiving
Becomes a Rewarding Journey. For a site about a book o要
outstanding women scientists and artists, the headline
read: Learn From Accomplished Women Role Models How to
Create a Fulfilling Lifelong Career. Note the inviting
tone of these headlines. Within the paragraphs of the home
page copy, refer again and again to what customers get and
what makes you different from competitors.

4. What should I do next? Even though you provide
navigation links for people to choose where to go next at
the site, it's effective to say explicitly what someone
with such and such an interest should do. Your call to
action might have more than o要e part, such as: To learn
more about how Hyana Heights Club helps you stay healthy
and fit, click here. To book your free tour and
complimentary aerobics class, click here.

Use these guidelines to create or redo a home page, and
you'll enjoy a significantly improved response from your
web site both from people landing o要 your site from search
engines and those already somewhat interested in what you
offer. There's much more involved in turning web site
visitors into customers, but you'll certainly thereby have
laid the groundwork for a reasonable return o要 your web
site investment.

Marcia Yudkin (marcia@y...) has helped to judge the
Webby Awards for six years, as well as the Inc. Magazine
Small Business Web Awards. The author of Web Site
Marketing Makeover and 10 other books, she performs web
site reviews, web site makeovers and creates
marketing-smart web sites from scratch. See her sample
home page makeover at http://www.yudkin.com/sample8b.htm .



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