I’ve explained how to write the main homepage headline in a previous tutorial.
In this tutorial I’ll explain about the other elements you need to put on your front page. Each element helps your website to win new clients.
If you’re a freelancer or one person business you might want to put your photo in the top right of your home page. Look straight at the camera or, if you have a headline at the side of your photo, you could look towards the headline. This guides the viewer’s eyes to your headline.
The purpose of your website
There are two things you must always keep in mind as you build your site, or any page inside it.
- Your website’s primary purpose and…
- Your most wanted response from the site visitor.
Here’s an example
- The primary purpose of my site is to win new clients.
- The most wanted response, is for my site visitors to contact me for a quote.
Most service businesses have the same primary purpose for their website. They want to win more and better clients.
You may have other purposes for your website. Such as reducing the number of unqualified prospects calling you. You can deal with those things on other pages of your website.
If your website’s primary purpose is to win more and better clients. Then the most wanted response you hope to get from visitors to your website visitors is for them to…
- Join your mailing list, or…
- Contact you for a quote
Some prospects will contact you straight away
Are your prospects likely to want to contact you straight away? If so, you need to build a good portfolio, write good case studies and gather good testimonials. These help your prospect get enough information to decide if they want to contact you.
Some prospects take time to make up their minds
Some prospects take several days, weeks or even months before they contact you. Concentrate on getting this type of prospect onto join your mailing list. Then educate them. Your aim is to convince them, over a period of time, that you’re the best placed professional to take on the work they need doing.
What is your primary purpose?
Building your mailing list
You don’t have to build your site with the primary purpose of building your mailing list. But for some service businesses, this is a good option.
Getting people to contact you for a quote, straight away
If you want prospects to contact you straight away. Don’t give your mailing list such high prominence.
What’s the difference between these two homepage layouts?
One focuses on your newsletter sign up form. And the other focuses on your portfolio, case studies and testimonials.
Lead magnets and bribes to subscribe
If you do want to focus on building your mailing list, you’ll need a lead magnet. This is a bribe to encourage prospects subscribe to your mailing list.
A typical lead magnet would be a PDF document. If this contains useful information. And your prospect wants it enough, they’ll exchange their email address for. They can download the PDF as soon as they sign up for your mailing list.
You’ll want to promote your lead magnet or bribe to subscribe in a prominent place. Usually this would go below your main homepage headline and subhead.
What if your main aim is to get people to contact you straight away?
You can still include a newsletter sign up form in this type of homepage layout. But you don’t need to put the signup form right at the top of your homepage.
Now you’ve decided if you want to concentrate on building your mailing list. Or you’re encouraging prospects to contact you straight away.
You can now get on with building the content for the rest of your homepage.
Your homepage needs to do two jobs
- Give an overview of your services
- Make it easy to navigate to each major section of your site
In the previous tutorial I explained how to write your homepage headline. In this tutorial I’ll explain what you need to put in the main body of your homepage.
If you followed the previous tutorial. You’ll already have a headline and a subhead that states who you help and how you help them. You’ve also shown how your client’s life is better in some way as a result of the work you’ve done for them.
What should you put on the homepage of your website?
These are some of the elements that you find on a typical service business website. They all serve a useful purpose.
- List of services
- Pricing table
- A link to your portfolio
- A link to your case studies
- A small gallery of your most popular blog posts
- Contact details and location
- Testimonials and 5 star reviews
Portfolio and case studies
Your portfolio, your case studies and your blog could each contain many posts or pages. But on your homepage you’re giving new users an easy to grasp overview of your business and your website. So you only need to include highlights of each section. These highlights should tempt the reader to click a link to read more.
You don’t need to go into detail with the portfolio items or case studies you list on your homepage. You want your ideal client to scan your homepage. As they scan you want them to them think, these people understand my situation. They might be useful to me, I’ll explore their website and see what they have to offer.
Your prospect is a blood hound following a scent trail
Imagine that your prospective client is a bloodhound. They’ve landed on your homepage. And they’ve discovered several exciting scent trails that they want to follow. Those scent trails are the teaser texts linking to your portfolio and case studies etc.
Use headlines, sub-headlines and images to make your homepage easy to scan. Enable your reader to sniff out the information they’re most interested in. Then provide links they can click, to jump to that section
Let’s assume a prospective client lands on your site…
Your homepage explains who you help and how you help them. Do this by giving some real world examples via your case studies, portfolio and testimonials.
Next they scan your headlines and decide your service might be useful to them.
They’ll find your content is well written, so your message is clear and easy to understand.
Your site is easy to navigate so they can find all the information they need to decide if they want to contact you to discuss their needs in more detail.
Make sure you provide an unmissable call to action. Your call to action could say contact us or it could say join our mailing list, depending on what you want the reader to do next.
Your homepage needs to convince the reader that they’ve landed on a site that is useful to them and is worth exploring.
Some people will want to contact you after reading your homepage. Most will want to click around your site and find out more about you, the service you offer and the people you can help.
As you help more clients you’ll gradually gather more examples of businesses that you’ve helped. This gives you content to use in your website’s case studies, testimonials and portfolio.
When a reader looks at your portfolio they’re hoping to find…
- A business like theirs
- That had a problem like theirs
- That you successfully helped them solve
- Then paint a picture of how nice life is for that business as a result of the work you did.
Aim for a good first draft, not perfection
Please don’t expect the first draft of your homepage to be perfect. Think of your whole website as a work in progress. Everyday, look for things you can do to improve your website’s ability to win new clients.
Think of your website in the same way that an Olympic athlete thinks of their personal best performance. Constantly look for ways you can improve upon your website’s current performance and find ways that improve your site’s ability to win clients.