What prospects see and read on your website determines whether they dig deeper or (click the back button) when they visit your virtual front door. So, what kind of impression is your current homepage content making?
Problem-solving is the main reason users visit websites. Designing and writing your homepage to ensure visitors can access information and resources quickly is critical for online marketing success.
Thoughtful, carefully-crafted copy on your homepage—paired with marketing best practices—holds the key to capturing attention, conveying information, and building connections with your target audiences.
While intuitive navigation, clean design, and fast download speeds are all essential components of a good website experience, this blog will focus specifically on writing the words and phrases that will resonate with your audience and help you achieve your goals.
Keep reading to learn the strategies and tactics for writing homepage content that engages and converts.
Homepage content should be customer-centric
A great online customer experience begins with a website that meets the needs of your audience. Your homepage content should reflect that.
Self-serving messaging that doesn’t add value for the customer takes up prime real estate on your site and can turn away the people you’re trying to reach.
On average, the amount of time a website visitor spends on a page (“time on page”) is just 54 seconds, according to Contentsquare’s 2021 Digital Experience Benchmark report. That means you have less than a minute to show visitors they’ve come to the right place.
The only way to truly nail your messaging is to understand the needs and behaviors of your target audience(s). If you’re unsure what those needs are or how your buyers typically use the internet, website buyer personas are an excellent place to start.
What are buyer personas?
Buyer personas are depictions of your ideal customers created from interviews and surveys of actual people in the target group or those very familiar with their needs and behaviors.
When writing homepage content, website-specific buyer personas can be especially valuable, as they not only look at an audience’s needs and pain points but also drill specifically into what those individuals need from your website experience.
Website-specific personas take much of the guesswork out of determining what customers seek. They’re also helpful for keeping everyone on your marketing team aligned when developing messaging.
In her book Buyer Personas, author Adele Revella writes:
“One marketing professional confessed to me after conducting her first buyer interview, ‘This is almost like cheating. It’s like getting the exam paper weeks before the final. Instead of trying to guess what matters, I now know not only what the customer wants—I realize how she goes about it.’”
5 proven tips for creating great homepage content
Once you’ve developed website-specific buyer personas, you’re ready to take what you’ve learned about your ideal customers and develop homepage content that speaks to their needs and guides them as they engage with your website.
Read on for five tips and strategies for writing more effective homepage content.
Get straight to the point with a great headline
According to Copyblogger, eight out of 10 people will read headline copy, but only two out of 10 will read the rest of the content on the page. If a potential customer visits your homepage and only reads your headline, will they understand what you do and how you can help them?
By immediately clarifying how you can solve a problem or make life better for your primary audience, you’ll improve your bounce rate and entice visitors to learn more.
A great example of a strong headline comes from our client Lushin. As you can see on Lushin’s redesigned website, the homepage headline and subhead succinctly communicate the company’s mission to help their primary audiences—business owners and sales leaders—improve their skills and meet their goals.
Use stories to show, not tell
Prospects won’t choose to engage with your business simply because you tell them you’re the best. You can’t expect them to take your word for it without giving them some solid evidence.
Provide links to customer stories, testimonials, examples of your work, or data points to show (not tell) potential customers what makes you great and let them decide for themselves if you’re right for them.
Using big words may have earned you extra points on your high school English essay, but it will work against you when writing homepage copy.
Keep your content simple, with shorter sentences and plenty of white space, and shoot for no more than an 8th-grade reading level.
Pro-tip: The Hemingway Editor is a great free tool to evaluate your content and provide a readability score.
When writing homepage content, the red pen is your friend (or, in this case, the delete button). Cut out unnecessary extra words or jargon to convey your message as clearly as possible.
Check out these helpful examples from Hubspot for cutting out excess words:
- Reduce verb phrases. For instance, turn “The results are suggestive of the fact that” to “The results suggest.”
- Reduce wordy phrases to single words. You can change “in order to” into “to.” Another example: Turn “Due to the fact” into “because.”
- Avoid vague nouns. Phrases formed around general nouns like “in the area of” or “on the topic of” clutter sentences.
We recently worked with a great organization called The Mind Trust to evaluate their website content and strengthen their messaging, to make what they do and who they serve more clear.
Optimize for SEO
Search engine algorithms continue to get “smarter,” and best practices are constantly changing and evolving. Content writers must balance their target audiences’ needs with current search engine optimization best practices. After all, the content on your website is only effective if prospects can find it in the first place.
While we’ve thankfully moved on from the days of keyword stuffing, relevant target keywords still play a significant role in SEO. Keyword planning is a crucial component of marketing strategy and the best way to ensure your content gets in front of prospects through organic search.
Your homepage content should target a broad industry term, and as you create category pages, product pages, and blogs, you can drill down into more specific keywords.
Include your keyword in the title name, meta description, and throughout your homepage, with a keyword density of one to two percent. Be sure to optimize H1 headlines for SEO by including your target keyword, and don’t forget about images, file names, and alt text.
Include strong calls to action
Your homepage should act as a gateway to help get visitors where they need to be. If they want to contact you, they should be able to find your contact information easily. Use CTAs on the homepage to guide users to additional content that addresses their top needs.
That said, your site’s homepage content may include more than one call to action, but don’t integrate so many choices that its users get overwhelmed.
As you plan the content for your homepage, take a step back and think about why a user may be on the page, where they might be in the customer journey, and which CTAs make the most sense to get them to the next appropriate step. (This is where your personas really come in handy!)
You can see great use of CTAs on the Indiana Hand to Shoulder Center homepage. Its visitors can self-identify who they are (e.g., new patient, current patient, provider, or job seeker) and what they’re looking for (e.g., find a doctor, request an appointment, view specialties, or find locations).
The phone number and “schedule an appointment” buttons are also easy to spot in the upper right corner for quick access.
Writing landing page content
Many of these tips for writing good homepage content apply when writing landing page copy, too. A landing page is a standalone page on your website that aims to engage visitors in a specific action, with a primary goal of capturing leads. In some cases, top landing pages get even more traffic than the company’s homepage.
Writing effective landing page content requires an overall understanding of what motivates visitors and how you can get them to take action. One more shameless plug for those buyer personas. The content must also clearly explain the value they can expect by taking the next step.
For example, if you’re offering downloadable content, does the copy on the page provide an accurate preview and description of what they’ll get? Use effective copywriting—and a strong CTA—to deliver for your audience and increase conversions.
Choose a marketing partner who knows how to write homepage content that converts
An experienced digital marketing partner can help you create buyer personas, evaluate your market spending based on buyers’ needs, and educate and empower your marketing team with SEO-focused content creation strategies.
For 20 years, TBH Creative has been designing and building results-driven websites and helping marketing and sales teams hit their goals with compelling, persona-driven content and campaigns.