Your website is not just a decorative accessory for your business. It’s often the first impression someone has of your business and it needs to be assisting you in making revenue. This starts with an effective homepage design.
We’ve spent years building websites for our service-based businesses (offering branding and website design) as well as for our digital product businesses (selling online courses, e-books, memberships, and more).
Optimizing your website to be more effective in support of your strategy is vital to making your business successful. Your website should be working on your behalf to reach your revenue goals. If you aren’t hitting your goals and you desire growth, you need to consider the possibility that your website isn’t doing its job.
In this article, we’re going to share with you the processes we use over and over again to design an effective homepage.
How To Gauge The Effectiveness of Your Homepage: 4Qs Clarity Test
Before you go making changes to your site, you need to gauge how effectively your homepage is communicating with your customer at the moment. Start by climbing into the shoes of someone visiting your site for the first time who knows nothing about your business.
Does your current homepage CLEARLY answer these 4 questions:
Q1: What do you do?
As a visitor, would you know immediately what kind of business your site promotes and what mental category to put it in? What’s the two-word category that your customer/client should put you in? You don’t want someone to be confused about what kind of business you run.
Q2: Are you for me?
As a visitor, would you be able to identify if this business was geared toward you? Would you recognize yourself in the copy or resonate with the design elements?
Your website homepage should explicitly state your audience somewhere. Your target audience should be able to say to themselves, “I’m in the right place!” It’s about showing them that your business, brand values and personality are a match for them.
It also helps you sort through who you want to be working with. What kind of customers or clients do you want to be spending your time with? You want your site design to speak to those people, even if it means people who don’t fit that bill will be turned off.
Q3: How can you help me?
As a visitor, would you know how your life would be improved by hiring this business or buying a product from this business? There should be a clear outcome stated for your client/customer. As Donald Miller from StoryBrand says, “make the customer the hero” and show them the journey they can go on with your business.
We love this quote from April Dunford on positioning yourself and your product:
“Customers don’t care about your unique features, they care what those features can do for them. Your positioning needs to be centered on the value that you alone can deliver for customers.”
Q4: What’s my next step?
As a visitor, would you know what action you should take next if you were interested in this business? It should be super obvious, compelling and visually distinctive.
Please, for the love of Pete (whoever Pete is) stop burying your email signup form in the footer of your website, especially if that is one of your main objectives for your website. Also, don’t just say “sign up for my emails,” add a compelling statement as to WHY someone should give you their email address.
Design An Effective Homepage Using Our APSOSA Framework
What do you do if your website DOESN’T pass the 4 Question Clarity test?
Don’t panic! We’ve come up with a magic spell (because, fun 🧙♂️) that will get your website and homepage working toward your business goals in no time. We call this spell “APSOSA” and feel free to shout Websitium APSOSA! as you continue reading.
Our “APSOSA” framework is the secret to telling a clear and compelling story that helps your homepage hit your objectives.
Use the APSOSA spell if you want to redesign your home page to CLEARLY speak to your customer and support your primary objective.
These are the following six elements that should be communicated clearly through your design and copy.
A – Audience:
You want to be able to identify who you’re talking to and they need to immediately recognize themselves in your copy.
P – Problem:
Speak to the problem that your audience currently has. Remind them what they’re struggling with.
S – Solution/Offering:
Tell them the solution to their problem and position your offering as the thing to provide that solution.
O – Outcome:
This is where you describe how their life will be better on the other side of buying from you/working with you. Paint a picture of the future they could have.
S – Sauce:
What makes you stand out from the sea of other websites they’ll check out that day. Be memorable and add your own authentic spin throughout.
A – Action:
Make it clear what the MOST important action you want them to take is. Be clear
about what’s waiting for them on the other side and make it compelling.
Want to see the APSOSA framework in action?
The video below is a clip from one of our Wandering Aimfully coaching sessions where we taught the APSOSA framework to our members using one of our awesome folks and their site as an example!
Homepage Design Wrap-Up!
We hope you’ve enjoyed learning our two processes for creating an effective homepage design that helps your business meet its objectives.
Before you make any changes, be sure to grab some analytics on how your website was performing before you made these tweaks. We recommend tracking:
- 👥 Number of visitors to your homepage in the last 30 days
- ✅ Number of conversions to signing up for your email list/free consult/contact form the last 30 days (whatever your “lead” action is)
- 💸 Number of conversions to hiring you or purchasing your product in the last 30 days
Then, if you haven’t done so already, put your homepage through the 4 Questions Clarity Test and the APSOSA framework. What do you need to change? What design dont’s do you need to fix?
Be willing to experiment with your homepage and lean toward having LESS content than you think you need. Keep your objectives for your website in mind and compare your changes to your baseline metrics!