So_That_s_What_Goes_On_A_Home_Page_ by georgetitan

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									Title:
So That's What Goes On A Home Page!

Word Count:
689

Summary:
In the early days of the World Wide Web, the word went around that the
thing to do on a home page is to heartily and sincerely welcome the
visitor. Today, this is unnecessary, cliched and ineffective. Instead, an
effective home page needs to quickly orient the visitor to what the
business or professional practice offers, distinguish these offerings
from competitors' and direct the web site visitor what to do if they are
interested in learning more.

It's especially importan...


Keywords:
Internet,web sites, websites,design,homepages,marketing,customers,clients


Article Body:
In the early days of the World Wide Web, the word went around that the
thing to do on a home page is to heartily and sincerely welcome the
visitor. Today, this is unnecessary, cliched and ineffective. Instead, an
effective home page needs to quickly orient the visitor to what the
business or professional practice offers, distinguish these offerings
from competitors' and direct the web site visitor what to do if they are
interested in learning more.

It's especially important to make a strong and clear presentation on the
home page if you want perfect strangers coming from a search engine to
spend more than 10 seconds on the site when determining whether or not it
is relevant to them. Getting business from such strangers is one of the
major payoffs of having a web site, and they lack the patience of someone
who has already had contact with you or been referred by a trusted
source. Even people seriously inclined to hire you don't have endless
patience to wade through hot air, jargon or superfluous preliminaries.

Therefore, a home page must make it possible to answer these questions
within 10 seconds:

* What is being described or sold here? What kind of business is this?
* Why should I do business with this company rather than its competitors?
* What should I do to find out more or get in touch?

In judging web sites for the Webby Awards, I have seen as many rich,
large companies as small ones overlook the first essential for a home
page - set the context. Orient the visitor. The perfect stranger may need
to know things that you assume everyone already knows, such as:

1. What business are you in? Include a commonly understood industry name
or the generic name of your primary product or service prominently in the
home page copy, if it's not already part of your business name or in the
tag line. When this information isn't plainly and obviously stated, many
visitors are screaming to themselves, "What IS this?" as they hit the
back button on their browsers.

2. Who do you serve? So many businesses - banks, restaurants, dentists -
leave it unspoken what state or province and even what country they are
in when that's essential to someone figuring out whether or not this
business meets their needs. When location plays a crucial role in
service, make it unmistakable where the business is. Other times, the
answer to this question is more subtle. You need to indicate that you
work with Fortune 500 companies, or mostly with authors, or with
ambitious fitness professionals and health club owners.

3. Why should someone do business with you? The best kind of answer to
this question involves presenting the benefits someone gets from buying
your products or services. Indeed, I recommend putting such benefits
right in your home page headline. For instance, for a caregiving support
site I created this headline: With Support, Caregiving Becomes a
Rewarding Journey. For a site about a book on outstanding women
scientists and artists, the headline read: Learn From Accomplished Women
Role Models How to Create a Fulfilling Lifelong Career. Note the inviting
tone of these headlines. Within the paragraphs of the home page copy,
refer again and again to what customers get and what makes you different
from competitors.

4. What should I do next? Even though you provide navigation links for
people to choose where to go next at the site, it's effective to say
explicitly what someone with such and such an interest should do. Your
call to action might have more than one part, such as: To learn more
about how Hyana Heights Club helps you stay healthy and fit, click here.
To book your free tour and complimentary aerobics class, click here.

Use these guidelines to create or redo a home page, and you'll enjoy a
significantly improved response from your web site both from people
landing on your site from search engines and those already somewhat
interested in what you offer. There's much more involved in turning web
site visitors into customers, but you'll certainly thereby have laid the
groundwork for a reasonable return on your web site investment.

								
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