If you’re a freelancer and you’re having trouble finishing your website, it’s possible that where you’re stuck is on your home page.
So, let me give you a simple formula for writing your home page. By the end of this post, you could be on your way to having a functional, easy to read home page that not only assures readers they’ve come to the right place, but helps search engines understand your website so that you can get a higher ranking.
The purpose of your website
Think of your website as a continuous open house on your business. It’s your property. You own it. And it’s on you to be welcoming and inviting to the visitors you want to serve, and to quickly turn away the ones you don’t want to serve or you can’t serve.
And once you have the right visitors on your site, you need to keep them interested so that they will linger on your site and see everything you have to offer. If these visitors get bored or confused, they’ll hit the back button, and go somewhere else.
What to put on your home page
So, if the website is your open house, think of your home page as your great hall. It’s not the welcome mat and it’s not a curtain you have to pass through. Here I’m thinking of those artistic websites that open with an image that you have to click through to get to the real site.
Your home page is your welcome centre. And what would be really welcoming here is a statement that says what you do, and who you do it for.
Make that your headline. Then visitors who land here will know if they’re in the right place. And if they got here accidentally they can sneak out quickly and not waste any more time.
If you make your headline vague, or cute or clever, the accidental visitor will linger too long while trying to figure out what you are. And then if they click the back button, it will hurt your SEO ranking, because the algorithm will think that your web page didn’t deliver on its promise and is therefore not relevant.
Writing the headline could take a lot of your thinking time, if you let it. So start simple and get to the point, even if it’s not as eloquent as you would like. The better words will come to you later when you’re doing something else.
Next, flesh out that headline with a paragraph that expands on what you do for your customers. What problem do you solve? What do you bring them? What’s unique about you? It could be something in your background, your qualifications, or your method.
Next give them the briefing. What will they find on your website? Think about each page, and what it’s for. Now tell them what to expect on that page, or how they can use that page to help them. And include the links to those pages. Don’t make them jump up to the menu bar.
Why you want to have this briefing, is because when a reader clicks from your home page to another page on your website, that’s gold for the algorithm.
Finally, on the home page, invite them to contact you. What if they have an urgent need, or they’re ready to do business with you? Why not make it easy?
What not to put on your home page
Just like your great hall, your home page needs to be focused and free of clutter.
So let’s talk about what doesn’t belong.
The home page is not a sales page. That’s the job of other pages, like landing pages. Would you try to get a visitor to sign a contract with you as soon as they walk in the door? You know that wouldn’t work, and it almost never works on a home page either. And it’s just as annoying. You’ve already told the reader how to contact you, so that’s enough.
Telling the reader why they need your type of service
This is something you see a lot. It’s basically a misreading of where the prospect is in their sales journey.
For example, let’s say you offer event photography. By the time the reader finds you on the internet, they already know they want an event photographer. They don’t need you to convince them they should have an event photographer. They’re just trying to decide who to hire.
So write your page with the view that they have already made the decision to buy, and now they’re just shopping around.
But if you want to write about the value of hiring an event photographer, then do it as a separate page or a post. And you can link to that from your home page. Having that post might also be another way for prospects to find you.
Finish your website faster
I hope this helps you feel ready to write your home page, now that you know what to say, and how to say it. And better yet, what not to say so that you’re not wasting time trying to come up with the words.
Want more free tips that will help you finish your site? Then check out this guide to choosing and using fonts on your website.