This post is part three of a series on how to quickly upgrade your website, don’t miss the first two posts below and be sure to download the free workbook that accompanies this series!

Post 1: Upgrade your About Page
Post 2: Upgrade your Navigation Menu
Post 3: Upgrade Your Home Page (this post)

Not to freak you out, but your website homepage is a big deal. You have only a few¬†seconds to grab your visitors’ attention and make a good first impression. The good news is that an effective homepage doesn’t have to be complicated, in fact – clear and simple is best! With just a few tweaks, you can upgrade your homepage and have a unique and eye-catching front page to represent your business.

Main Elements of a Homepage

Before we begin with the changes, let’s briefly go over the main elements of a website’s homepage.

On most websites today, you have a “header” area that is the top-most part of the website. You often have an organization’s logo, and a navigation menu that lists the other main pages of the site.

Many websites have at least one part of their homepage that is broken into two or more columns. Sometimes these sections are called “sidebars” or “blocks.”

And finally, at the bottom of a website is often a footer. This footer area can sometimes contain another navigation menu and often has links to social media accounts and copyright information.

Everything that appears on the page before you scroll down is referred to as “above the fold”, while anything below it is called “below the fold.” This term is borrowed from print journalism and references a folded up newspaper. The most important information should always be above the fold, because not everyone who visits your website will scroll down to read more.

Homepage Goals

As I said above, your homepage is a critical tool for capturing potential customer’s attention. This first impression is very important! You want your homepage to:

  • be easy to navigate and have a simple but eye-catching design
  • allow your visitors to easily and quickly identify what your business is about
  • make it clear when you what you want your visitors to do next (e.g. read about your CSA program, or find out which farmer’s market you are selling at this weekend)

Similar to the exercise we did in Part 2: Upgrading your Navigation Menu, you want to think of your ideal customers when designing your homepage.

Do you want local families to sign up for your CSA program? If so, use a good quality photo of another family picking up their vegetables from your farm.

Do you live near a highway that gets lots of traffic from road-trippers? Include nice photos of your product or farm stand with instructions that entice them to add your conveniently-located farmstand to their itinerary.

Ideas for Upgrading Your Homepage

  • Change the background color to white
    Below is an example of a homepage with three different backgrounds: colored, patterned and white. While some of these design choices are up to personal preference, the white background does allow you to focus more on the text on the page and is more professional for a business website.

    Depending on the website platform on which your website is built, it is relatively easy to change the background color of your homepage. In Squarespace, you can edit the site background through the Style Editor in the Design menu.

    In other websites, you may have to enter the hexcode for white, which is: #fff

  • Keep your font use consistent and clean.
    A font is the style of characters of text that you use (also called typeface.) You should only use two to three different fonts on your website, tops! Compare the two images below, which one looks more professional? Which one is easier to read? Once you find one
    font you really like, you can often google it’s name and find another font that pairs well with it.

    Make sure your font sizes follow a visual hierarchy down the page (largest to smallest) so you can lead your customer’s eyes down the page in the proper direction. Compare the image above to the one below, which one leads your eyes better?
  • Make sure your homepage has the following items.
    1. Intuitive Navigation: Your navigation menu should be simple for a first time visitor, and highlight the information your ideal customers need to see (such as where to find your products, or learn more about your farm)
    2. Headline or text that succinctly describes your business. This could go anywhere above the fold on your homepage. Use descriptive words to entice potential customers!
    3. Easy to Find Contact Information
    3. Social Media Icons (if applicable): Customers love to get to know the people behind the business!
    4. High Quality and Original photos, at least large one above the fold, often called a hero image.
    5. A Clear Call to Action: What should your visitors do next, visit your online store, read your farm blog?

Want more help upgrading your website? Check out my Website in a Weekend Course!