Previously we’ve looked at the must have pages for your first website and today we’re going to look at writing content for the most important page on your business website – your home page.
The homepage is the page people visit when they type in your website address. For example you can see mine at www.harrisonamy.com
Usually, it is the most visited page on your site, and additionally is an ‘introduction’ page. If you meet people at a networking event and hand out your card, your connections are going to type in your url and visit your home page when they follow-up. Or if they use a search engine to look up your name or business name, it is likely to be your home page that is one of the first results.
So how do you write a compelling home page? Let’s look at that right now.
Before you write a thing…
First things first, when writing your home page content, start with the end in mind.
What is the most important thing you want your visitor to do?
This can be different for all types of businesses. For example:
- A business coach may want to encourage people to call for a free consultation
- A clothing manufacturer might want to drive traffic to the latest collection or special offers
- A web design company may want people to download the free white paper and sign up to the newsletter list
Spend time thinking about your own site and asking yourself what is the key thing you want new visitors to do when they visit.
It might be to subscribe to your list, or request a brochure, or simply read your blog depending on what is a priority in your business and marketing plan.
Once you know this, pop it to one side as we cover some general copywriting tips about the kind of content you want on your home page.
Your home page sells what you do (but talks to your customer)
Remember how we said your homepage is an introduction page to your business? This means that very quickly (within a couple of seconds) your visitor should have a clear idea what your business is about.
But more importantly, they should know why they would care about it.
So your home page message is a mixture of 2 things:
- Your interests (what you do and how you work)
- Your customer’s interests (what you can do for them)
Let’s look at a few components commonly found on a home page and see what you need to include in each one:
The tagline is a short sentence that sums up the identify of your business. Many people use this just below their logo, or across their header so that it’s one of the first things they see.
A lot of people spend weeks and even months crafting their tagline, but quite often you can start with a great one simply by writing down:
- WHAT you do
- WHO you do it for
- Small Business Coaching and Consulting for the Self-Employed
- Time-Management Classes for Creative People
- Web Design for Executive Life Coaches
It’s pretty simple, but it tells your target market straight away if they’re in the right place or not.
The main body of copy
Within the main body of text on your home page, there is no strict formula or structure that is “perfect” but there are some things you’ll want to bear in mind if you want people to see the value of what it is you do.
State clearly HOW you work
Many times businesses make the mistake of not being strictly clear about what it is they do and how they do it.
“As a teacher, we can help you improve your teaching skills and unlock your potential”
At first glance, there’s nothing really wrong with that. Except I don’t know how this promise is delivered.
- Is it by books?
- Is it a course?
- Is it a live workshop?
That’s why I really encourage clients to pin down what they do and how they do it, for example:
“We can help improve your business skills through a series of 1:1 coaching, live workshops and free resources found on this site”
This additional information is not only helpful to your reader, but it really focuses you into writing a lovely succinct message about what it is you have to offer.
Expand on WHO you work with
Next, I would suggest giving a few examples of the type of people you work with: i.e. your target market. This is also vital information that shows your visitor if what you have is relevant to them.
The key here is to be specific AND flexible.
I know. Sounds a little crazy, but trust me it works.
The idea is to give specific examples, WITHOUT being so rigid you turn your ideal clients or customers away.
For examples. Let’s say you provide web design help for small businesses.
The specific element is: small business owners. But if we simply say “small business owners” our audience might not see themself as a business owner, or may assume that their business is too small to benefit or be able to afford your skills.
A much better way to describe this, is to include some more flexible (but nevertheless specific) elements to expand on this description.
I provide web design help for small business owners. This includes service professionals such as copywriters, accountants or life coaches, offline businesses such as jewellery stores and bakeries, or even online product stores. It doesn’t matter if it’s only you in your business, or you have up to 100 employees, I can help you create a website that works hard for your business.
Whether you want to start from scratch, or just tweak your existing site, I have products and offers that can help you do just that.
Now, we’re not writing a huge amount of copy here, but we are clearly stating who is in our target market (and also what they want to achieve).
Have a think about your own ideal client and the different examples you can provide on your home page to make them feel at home!
Explain the benefits
At this stage, your website visitor knows what you do, they know how you do it and they know who you do it for.
Now’s the time to tell them why they’re going to love it.
This is where you explain the benefits of your service. You want to give a brief summary of how their life will be improved with your product or service.
One way to think about this is to explain what your product will help them do. For example, win more clients, save time, make more money etc.
The topic of benefits is a huge one in copywriting, and you can find out more on writing compelling (and credible) benefits for your business here.
Tell them what to do next
Finally, you want to tell them what they should do next to get started. So, remind yourself what your goal was and then let people know about it.
This is called a “call-to-action” and there are 3 elements to make one really persuasive:
- Tell them WHY they should take action
- Tell them WHAT they should do
- Tell them WHAT HAPPENS next
“If you’d like to improve your blogging skills, sign up to the newsletter by popping your details into the box to the right. Once you register you’ll get access to the free 10-day blogging crash course that will have you writing and attracting readers in no time
Remember, it’s not set in stone!
One thing I want you to remember is not to be afraid of publishing content on your home page, or worrying that you might change your mind in a few months. That’s absolutely normal and I would recommend revisiting this post every few months and checking your home page to make sure it’s still putting out the message you want your ideal customer to hear!
Hi Jean, thanks for the visit, let me know if there’s anything specific you’d like help with 🙂
Jean at The Delightful Repast says
Hello Amy, I came to your site through your comment at copyblogger. I can cook up a storm, but I’m strictly a novice when it comes to this technical stuff! I’ll be visiting your blog regularly in my quest to master the ins and outs of the blogosphere!
Thanks Walter, hopefully it gives those writing web copy for the first time a useful place to start.
These are important pointers you have shared here. The most important thing to remember is to make an implementation and learn from our errors. 🙂