5 sure-fire ways to create a killer home page

Greetings! Glad you’re here, because today’s SEO copywriting how-to video is about creating a killer home page.  However powerful your copywriting and skilled your SEO, if you’re making these all-too-common, conversions-killing mistakes with your home page copy, your business will suffer.  The good news is, bad as it may seem now, it is easily corrected!

If you’ve been following Heather’s weekly how-to video posts, you’ll notice the progression from the inaugural 3 skills every SEO copywriter must have to this step-by-step series, aimed at providing you with explicit guidance to creating a fantastic website.

Beginning at the beginning, Heather first addresses the home page: what you should include on your home page to serve both the search engines and your target audience, as well as what tactics to avoid.

So let’s review:

Why Focus on the Home Page?

Because the home page is the most important page on your site!  It is your second conversions opportunity following the search engine results page.

The Home Page:

  • Is the page most indexed by the search engines
  • Sets the “tone” for the entire site
  • Orients people: they know they’re at the right “place” and that you offer what they want/need

Your Home Page is Like a Funnel:

From a sales perspective, you should assume that your prospects are coming to your site directly from search engine results, a link, or an offline source.  Your objective is to first, immediately let these folks know that they’re at the right place and then second, direct them to exactly where they need to go next.

Your home page serves to segment your audience and then prompt them to move around your site. Your home page is a great “preview” of all that you offer, not an index of every single benefit you offer.

Tried and true strategies for writing a killer home page, whether B2B or B2C, are:

  • Use overarching benefit statements & general, overarching keywords/keyphrases

A well-written home page should serve as a “teaser,” offering a preview of the great benefits your company has to offer.  It isn’t the place to discuss each and every benefit you offer, or list each and every keyword or keyphrase in your arsenal.  It is the place to offer your readers a taste, then clearly direct them to exactly where they need to go for the full entrée.

Trying to say too much too soon overwhelms the reader, dilutes your message, and detracts from those keywords and phrases that actually apply to the home page.  The same goes for your home page footer:  jamming keywords and phrases into your footer doesn’t do anybody any good, period.  Don’t do it.

It is better to sprinkle your benefit statements and related keyword/keyphrases throughout your site.  You’ve product/service pages to address specific product/service benefits, about pages to discuss your company and mission statement, etc., and to include the corresponding, relevant keywords and phrases for those pages.

  • Link intelligently from your home page to your product/services page

Again, your home page should serve as a funnel, directing your readers deeper into your site.  As with benefit statements and keywords/phrases, you want to avoid linking out to each and every product or service you offer.  It serves all concerned far better to link to main sections/categories of your site.

Far too often, otherwise well-written home pages go wrong with this “link-o-rama” (mal)practice, whereby your prospect is confronted with one big hyperlink.  It only sabotages your home page content to jam it up with numerous internal links.  For the reader, it is both visually overwhelming and psychologically overwhelming.  Easy does it!

  • Write copy that is focused around your customer persona

Write as if you were addressing an audience of one:  your ideal customer.  You want to reach and resonate with that one person.  Writing general, untargeted copy will get you general, untargeted results.

This is a great opportunity to change up your copy to increase conversions by honing your message specifically for your customer persona.  Even if you have multiple customer personas, you can readily structure your home page copy to address each persona and then direct the prospect to vertical-specific, niche landing pages within your website.

  • Create a fantastic, benefit-oriented home page title

We’ve already discussed the importance of creating compelling, “clickable” page Titles.  Far, far better to compose a powerful home page Title that couples one or two of the main keywords/phrases specific to the home page with a strong benefit statement, than to write a so-so title that is stuffed with keywords.  You want to match your targeted home page copy with an equally targeted, clickable page Title.

  • Get to the point

Stay on track and relay your message to your customer persona as succinctly as possible.  Ruthlessly edit your copy and strive for an economy of words:  if you can say something in five words as opposed to 25, do it.  Your home page isn’t the place for waxing poetic!

So, what information should you have on your products or services pages? Stay tuned, as next week Heather will discuss how to craft conversions-driving copy for your company’s products/services!

Thanks for checking in!  As always, your questions and comments are most welcome.

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8 replies
  1. Sarah Clachar
    Sarah Clachar says:

    Great post Laura – and some tips I’ll put to use. It brings me to the purpose of category pages – to help reduce the burden on your home page to get people to where they want to go!

    Another tip from Nick Usborne – you want to help people get off your home page fast. And into the deeper content of your website where you hope they’ll linger

    Reply
  2. Laura Crest
    Laura Crest says:

    Hi Sarah! Thank you for the great feedback ;-) Yes, we want to get folks moving on into the deeper pages of the website where they will hopefully convert! That’ll be the topic of Heather’s next video post, so please check back next Monday!

    Reply
  3. Ken Jansen
    Ken Jansen says:

    Hi Laura and Heather,

    Laura – great post! Heather great video!

    I love to read your blog. It is always such a wealth of helpful information.

    A couple questions, in the video you mention trying to keep the copy shorter, where possible, for better SEO. Did you mean better SEO Rankings or did you mean better SEO since shorter might convert better? Or did you mean something completely different? I was thinking that if I mention a phrase or phrase a couple times, vs, once that the ranking results will be better since it will be easier for the search engines to determine what the priority phrases are.

    In the post, you mention clickable titles. I have named my pages more for descriptive page ranking words than reader interest. I do use the clickable titles for my blog posts.

    Thanks again for all of your wonderful SEO knowledge.

    Ken

    Reply
    • Heather
      Heather says:

      Ken, hi!

      Always great to see your comments. :)

      The challenge with home page copy is that some folks they have to write 1,500 words to explain who they are, what they do, and everything they offer. I reviewed one “home page” a couple weeks ago that was basically a very long mission statement – with no real call to action. You ideally have some content on the page, but you don’t have to tell your entire story. Just enough to orient your readers, give them the information they want to see and get them to click into an inner page.

      Great that you’re using clickable Titles for your blog posts – well done! How has that impacted your traffic?

      Thanks again!

      Reply
  4. Ken Jansen Kansas City
    Ken Jansen Kansas City says:

    Hi Heather,

    Well, lets see, after reading one of your posts, (I don’t recall which one d’oh) the next blog post I did, using your methods vs my b-o-r-i-n-g methods got me roughly 80 some comments on my activerain.com blog and my first featured post in 3 years. So that was pretty nice. It takes a lot more time to think of the ideas and write them well, but so does setting up a successful open house. (I am in real estate). Not being a huge fan of running open houses, I would rather write a quality post, have 80 visitors AND the post lasts essentially forever. So the ROI on a good post is pretty darn high.

    Following some of your other advice I have taken down the on purpose misspelled words from my website. I thought it might impact my traffic, but no significant variation one way or the other, but I FEEL better having done it. It also looks more professional. Thanks for paying such close attention to your blog. Not everyone does. Great attention to detail. :)

    Reply
  5. Adrian Maynard
    Adrian Maynard says:

    Superb post, Laura! You are completely right, your home page is the front door to your online home. Don’t you want it to be attractive and inviting? Your home page needs to walk a fine line between optimal SEO practices and visitor-friendly content.

    Reply
  6. Laura
    Laura says:

    Hi Adrian! Yes, absolutely, it is the art of SEO to balance on that high wire of serving two masters, as Heather so deftly phrased it. Thank you so much for the great feedback! :)

    Reply

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