Must Haves for Your Homepage

This post from Michael Elliott was live-blogged from his talk at the Growth Hacker 2014 in Seattle, WA

The goal of Michael Elliott’s presentation is how to implement good qualities of design on your homepage to sell your product, because you never get a second chance to make a first impression on your homepage.

Some of the key elements are to not be a stranger to potential or prospective customers.  It is important to tell them what the product is and what it does. Know what the customers want and need through your homepage. Making the website easy to use will help the customers understand and want to select your product. Make sure the webpage is SEO ready and easy to navigate. When it comes to design, white space is your friend and helps with navigation. Some good examples include, MailChimp, Freshbook, and Mint.com.

You should know what your goals are when you build a product. Don’t just say “this is what your customer said.” You have a product that is better than others and your website should help guide your customers to that conclusion. On Freshbooks’ website it’s clear that they went out and talked to their customers and built a site that solves their problems with online invoicing, accounting, and billing. You will never get the sale unless you ask for it, and your landing page needs to ask for a sale and service your customers needs.

The landing pages are optimized to get people to sign-up for your product. Don’t write paragraphs of information explaining why your product is good. Give your customers a clear call to action to sign-up and be interested in the product.

Now onto how some bad pages are designed. Bad pages may have great visuals but their page will be cluttered, have too much writing, or implement cool website features in bad ways that make navigation difficult. Just implementing a cool visual like Flash without having a clear call to action for your product is bad. To avoid these bad page qualities, test with mock-ups or other strategies before you build a webpage. Spend more time on design up front before you build, because the design will make a difference.

Good websites are designed to make it seem like they’re easy to use. Good design makes complicated sites look easy to use, and help sell the product.


Michael is the owner of RocketDog Communications, a Seattle brand and design firm that has helped Microsoft, GE HealthServices, Amazon Services, and many others find their unique voice. Michael tweets @MichaelElliott is also a board member with the Seattle Entrepreneurs’ Organization.

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