Your website’s homepage is typically the most important page that you should be focused on, particularly from the perspective of content discovery. And because the average person spends less than 15 seconds visiting a website for the first time (source), this means that it’s your job to hold their attention for as long as possible.
Convincing someone to stay on your website for an extended period of time is no easy task. It’s actually quite difficult, especially considering our attention span seems shorter than ever. But thankfully, not all hope is lost.
With some recent changes that I have made to the homepage of Di Franco University, I invite you to check out five methods below that have been working for me. Put these into effect and you’ll be seeing results in no time. I can guarantee it.
Keep it simple.
If you want visitors to your website to feel welcome, then you’re going to need to keep things simple and easy to understand. This can be achieved by going with a clean design that’s not overly complicated.
Assuming you are using Squarespace or WordPress (see my comparison here), you’ll have plenty of templates to choose from. Remember that it’s important to make your website’s content the primary focus. This is essential if you want to pique the interest of anyone who is taking a look around.
Keep the overall vibe of your homepage concise and to the point.
Feature prominent content in a slider.
Your website likely features content that is considerably more prominent than others. This is a great indication that you’re not only on the right track to creating quality content, but it also means that you have a decent idea of what your audience enjoys most. Wouldn’t it be nice to keep that traffic coming in?
This is where implementing a slider comes into play. A slider is a large slideshow that can be used to feature certain pieces of content. Think of it as a spotlight that immediately grabs the attention of anyone who is visiting your website.
Referencing the screenshot above, you will see that Di Franco University features a dominant slider towards the top of its homepage. This is my way of increasing awareness for any articles I’ve written that I feel deserve to be noticed. And it also doesn’t hurt that the slider looks pretty damn cool.
No matter what software you are using to build your website, it’s going to be difficult for you to not find a way of implementing a slider. It’s an incredibly common feature that is used by thousands of creators every day.
Display an announcement bar.
If there is one spot on a website that is always sure to grab attention, it’s towards the top. This is where visitors’ eyes are naturally drawn to, right around where the header and main navigation can typically be found. A great way of taking advantage of this opportunity is to display an announcement bar.
An announcement bar is sort of what it sounds like. It’s a small bar at the top of any website that can be used to feature specific content. Whether it’s a new product that was recently added to a store’s inventory or the website’s creator is simply looking to increase signups for their email list, displaying an announcement bar can usually return some very positive results.
Using my personal website as an example this time, you can see that the announcement bar clearly stands out and can act as an effective call-to-action. Simply enable the feature, input some text, and you’re set. You can even customize its appearance, including size of the text and a variety of color choices for the bar.
Consider using a magazine layout.
If the website template you are using supports a magazine layout, then I highly suggest you consider taking advantage of it. A magazine layout, for those not familiar, is a summarized grid-like structure of content.
Going this route makes it easier for visitors to discover content on your website, without having the need to click through multiple pages. It also makes a website’s layout appear more professional. And because you can set up a magazine layout to automatically update with new content, this means less work for you and more time to focus on other things.
For Squarespace users, setting up a magazine layout is simple and to the point. For instructions on how to do this, click here to reference the official guide.
Feature an introduction video.
When redesigning my personal website, one of my primary goals was to feature an introduction video on the homepage. I wanted to instantly grab the attention of anyone who visited my website and provide them with a personal insight into what my brand represents. Needless to say, I am quite happy with the outcome.
So, what’s stopping you from featuring a video on your website’s homepage? Not only is going this route more enjoyable for the average visitor, but it’s also a fantastic opportunity to show more than you normally could with only text and images.
Give this method a shot. I promise, the work that is required will be worth it.
If you would like to see these five methods used as real-world examples, check out the homepage designs for Di Franco University and my personal website. Both websites are powered by Squarespace, but similar results can easily be achieved with WordPress, as well.