5 Tips to Create the Most Effective Home Page for Your Business Website

There’s a reason why it’s called the home page - it’s the first thing that your site visitor sees and probably the only chance you get to make that killer first impression. You need to remember that these visitors in question are actually just waiting to judge you by your website, and also do not have much time or patience in their hands. It is upto to you to attract, persuade and convince them that your service or product is just what they need in their lives right now, and a few minutes of scrolling through your home page should be enough to make that happen.

 

So where exactly do you start? How should you design it? What content could you include? Should the focus be on the text, the images, the video or all three? Where can they be placed, and what should be the highlight? Yes, you need these answers. Of course, there is no particular rule or guideline that you must follow, but if you want your home page to be effective and stand out from the rest of them, you need to at least do what everyone else has already been doing, and more. And we are here to help you do just that. And more. Much, much more.

 

Shall we begin?

 

  1. Highlight the Purpose

 

Before anything else, before building the brand and processing the marketing and the sales, your company had existed for something else - its core purpose. Everyone wants to know who you are and what is it that you do. The most important feature of the home page should therefore showcase the purpose of the company so that the visitor instantly knows what they are expecting from the business.

 

Sounds easy? You’d be surprised to know how many of them are still not doing it right.

 

Businesses around the world are yet to digest the fact that their clients are not interested to know much “About” them, and the ones who miraculously are will always find time to click on the particular section to know more.

 

Your purpose is therefore not your about section. It can be anything from the tagline of your company to the one event/activity/campaign you always want featured to the most important service or product you are offering. It can be projected through text, or can be a relevant image or video with the perfect caption, or it can be the call-to-action box for any sign-up or registration point. The message, or the medium of its expression, is not what matters the most. What matters, is if it has secured its place as the centre of attention or not.

 

If it did, the most important part of your home page has already completed.

 

  1. Work on the Visuals

 

Your website needs to look good, and looks matter in the digital world more than you know.

 

It is your responsibility to make sure you have high-resolution images and video clips that will make them want to check your website out a little more. Which is why, it is a given that your homepage should consist of a few good pictures at the very least and one video that justifies your company, whether it is about the core mission, the product or service, the client testimonial, or the journey so far. As long as it’s up there for your site visitors to click on the “play” button and be immediately impressed, your website already looks good enough.  

 

When we talk about the look of the website, however, we are not only concerned about the colours and design and pictures and videos. The architecture that goes behind a web page is developed after a lot of thinking, creating and merging of contents just to look appealing to your eyes. The use of appropriate typography, that best reflects your brand personality, is of utmost importance. The font you choose will show your readers how beautiful you really are, and depending on the shape, the sharp or blunt edges of the alphabets, you can portray yourself as elegant, friendly and sometimes boring. If you still don’t think it is important, tough luck, because Steve Jobs thought so.

 

  1. Client Testimonial

 

Why talk about your business yourself when you have others who can help you establish your credibility in a more professional manner?

 

Testimonials are proof that you have been true to your words all along. The featured renowned people vouching for your company show that there are people who are willing to have their name and own businesses to be associated with you, and are in fact recommending you to the others. These testimonials represent your success stories, your achievements, your collaborative and cooperative skills and last but not the least, your level of trustworthiness.

 

The client testimonial can be presented via any medium on the home page. It can be a video showing a satisfied client talking about how your business benefitted them, why the rest of your prospective clients should choose you, and also remember to promote your the purpose of your brand at the end.

 

It can also be a small yet profound paragraph about your company put forward with the image of the client and their business logo stating how good your product or services are. Although a video is often considered more effective - given its visual components that will make the viewer feel that the client is personally speaking to them - it might not be a good idea to make it into a video if there is already one about the company on the home page. Text and image can work just as well.

 

  1. Tell Them Where To Go

 

When designing your homepage, you have to remember that it works as the powerhouse of your entire web presence. It is perfectly fine to dedicate all your time behind creating an awesome welcoming page with great colours and images that speak to them. But where do they go from there? How do they know if they should scroll down for more information, click on something to go to some page, if the pictures will automatically slide, if hovering the cursor over anything will have any results. Who tells that to them?

 

This is where the user experience part comes in. You need to make sure that your website is easy-to-use, friendly and informative. The sections should be able to guide you to the next, be it through scrolling or clicking, thus ensuring proper navigation. For this purpose, it is crucial that you have the right buttons in the right places. Arrows, play/pause/stop, small icons such as that showing a home, or logos of Facebook, Twitter etc are all examples of navigation buttons that guide you to the next stop and come back to the original again.

 

  1. Ways to Reach You

 

You need to include your contact information on your homepage, preferably at the end or the corner of the page. This might sound obvious to you, but there is much more to it.

 

For starters, your clients would like your full basic information, which includes your company address, number, email address at the very least, and not everyone is comfortable about sharing the details on their public website. If that is the case for you as well, you should have a form through which they can submit their queries or a sign-up box for them to get in touch with you. Having social media buttons that link your clients to your profiles at the networking sites also work as added media to get in touch with your clients.

 

Needless to add, you should always respond to messages when your clients contact you, and regularly maintain the work relationship you will build.


The Power of Content Architecture

There is nothing more appealing than a page that is well-structured, easy-to-use and presented with eye-catching text and attractive visuals, just as there is nothing more disappointing than seeing the same content placed in a disorderly and incoherent manner. The difference lies in the architecture - the science of planning, designing and executing of the entire project - the gold that goes behind all the glitter you eventually see.

 

That is the power of content architecture: the ‘how’s and ‘where’s and ‘why’s that determine the final exhibition of the content. So how do you ensure that your website, e-brochure or even your app has contents that have been appropriately architectured to perfectly represent your company? There are no strict rules to follow, of course, but a few basic tips that always see satisfactory results can never cause any harm, can it?

 

  1. It’s Always About the UX

 

If you have been in this field for quite some time now, you already know how important it is for your customers to get the ultimate user experience while accessing your site.

 

Your user is your target customer and the reason why your product or service exists in the first place. Well not entirely, but they are the king anyway. And pleasing the king is important. Making sure that they are being able to easily find all the information they need is crucial. This can be done by highlighting the most anticipated sections on the homepage of a website, for example a running campaign or a registration form for the users to instantly know where to go.

 

Little things such as navigation buttons directing the user or telling them where to click for an action or linking them to other useful pages such as social networking sites or the sites of the affiliated companies help as well.

 

The placement of content on every page matters in terms of their significance, and a good UX designer will know which text, image or video to bring to focus to meet the demands on the user. It is as important to know which parts to fill up and which parts to leave spaces for, just as the colours that get used all need to define the purpose of the company, their theme and its context.

 

And let’s not forget about ensuring that the typography is putting forward the message of the company through. It really is all about what you see and where that takes you.

 

  1. No, Actually, It’s Always About The Customer

 

Getting back to our previous point - yes, your customer is the king, and your really need to keep your king happy. The problem is, however, the number of kings you need to please, or rather, deciding which of them is your target customer. The bigger problem is that sometimes you need to please more than one group at a time, and they happen to be both your existing buyers and prospective leads.

 

Your leads are the ones who need to be persuaded and the first group of customer you should target. You need the compelling images, the intriguing words, and vibrant colours, and of course, putting them together with the sole intention of inviting your leads. They need to feel that they are the only people who you are inviting, and that your service or product was made just for them and even sized and positioned into places where only they would look - the most focused sections actually.

 

Your buyers on the other hand, are the people whose hearts you have already won, but that should not lead you to think that they do not need further pleasing. While they do not exactly want to know more about the product or service that have already used, they will be interested about the new things. They would want to know if there’s an offer, for instance a sale, or be updated about any changes made, and would definitely be interested in all your gossips, news and event details. It is therefore important to have pop-ups or any other flashy messages that instantly grab their attention, and the “News and Events” section will only suffice their curiosity in due time.

 

  1. Service or Product or Both?

 

You got some idea on who to do it for and how to do it for them, but who will decide on which one of these powerful contents works best with which business, and what would be right for yours? It depends on the industry you are in.

 

For business that focus on servicing, their main aim is to provide their customers with the right information and assuring them that the services are exactly what they need to grow their business. Which is why, the service industry often use a lot of text to prove their stance. This does not necessarily mean that they never emphasize on images, as in the case of tourism companies, but it is not the usual scene. Similarly, the e-commerce sites serve as an example of businesses that make use of both text and image as their clients consist of people who need a whole lot of convincing and only the content to rely on.

 

Service industries in general take their colours, designs and typography very seriously, as they believe that their website is the medium of conversation between them and their clients, and it is upto to content architect to ascertain that they are delivering their messages home.

 

The product industry on the other hand, likes to draw their clients with their visuals. The architecture of such sites often involve the sliding of a wide array of beautiful images to make a quick impression on you, and videos that are only waiting for you to play it. Besides the general descriptions, product-oriented companies do not give too much attention to the text, and once again it is not the rule, but rather what works best for them. Well, that comes as no surprise when you have your well-defined photos and high-quality videos all set to go ahead and do all the talking for you.


4 Types of Videos Every Business Needs

Before we get down to list the types of videos your business needs, let us find out why your content marketing strategy should include any video in the first place.

 

For those who have been in this field for a while, the power of intriguing text that captures the viewer to read and digest all the words you have beautifully strung together for them is not unknown. What takes these words to the next level are the visuals. The use of the right colours, images and graphics will touch the right nerves if placed in the right spots on your site. What blends these together - the meaningful words and the interactive images - are the videos.

 

A video content therefore speaks much, much louder than the ones based on images and text only. Videos are your personal channel to feed information and engage your audience by directly addressing them and make them feel as if they are in conversation with you. The lively visuals and the alluring background music are elements that only draws the viewers closer to the content. This also means that people visiting your site will pause longer, that your search engine will identify a higher frequency among your visitors, that it will generate a lot more attention in the social networking sites.

 

Then what is it that is keeping companies from having their own videos? The question is no longer based on ‘why’ companies are not including videos or vlogs on their websites, but rather on the ‘what’s and ‘how’s. A lot of businesses around the world have long realized its importance and are eager to post their own ones soon, only they do not know where to start. They are unsure about the types of videos that work best, the elements each of them need, the length, the props, the materials - everything. They need the guidance on where to start and what to do next.

 

  1. Product/ Services Video:

 

Your product is the real reason why your customer has shown any interest in your business, and it is your responsibility to ensure that your introductory video leaves a lasting impression. Your product or service video will work as a commercial advertisement which will tell the target customers why they should purchase or receive your service and how it will benefit them. It is upto you to assign a representative who will speak of or visually demonstrate your product in a way that the viewer will trust him like a friend sharing his reviews. The product details, the pros and cons, what is it about it in particular that makes it the top in the market and answering the predicted questions of the customers should all be captured within the video.

 

Remember, your business is a corporate venture and your videos need to portray that too. It is essential that you have your shooting done with the aid of professionals who will shoot, edit and present it to perfectly reflect your brand elements.

 

  1. Promotional Video About the Company:

 

Your USP (Unique Selling Proposition) is more important than you think. Telling your clients why they should trust your services among the competition and listing them the key facts that distinguishes your company and its products will all lead from there. What your customers need is a clear, educated guide telling them who to go to with all their problems, and the step-by-step procedure of how each and every one of them can be solved.

 

The video can be projected on the journey of the company, where the initial challenges and the success stories that followed could be shown. The promotional video differs from the product or service video as it more of an advertisement featuring the company as a whole, and solely responsible for defining your brand personality through the contents. This is why, in the case of promotional videos, the right kind of interesting visuals set against well-suited musical elements and a little bit of brilliant copywriting is a necessity for the brand.

 

  1. Clients’ Testimonials:

 

Till now, your clients have only been hearing your side of the story. You have told them who you are and what you do and how you do it, but who else can vouch for that?

 

Your success stories, featuring the clients who are satisfied with your service, are your next stop. Their valuable words will work wonders for you and before you know it people will know you better than ever. It is much more likely for your website visitors to click on the “Play” button when they see a renowned name speak of your company, as opposed to reading it as a paragraph on the same page. Therefore, a short video featuring a happy client sharing his experience of working with you will only lead to many more prospective clients line up at your office looking forward to receiving similar services.

 

  1. Founder’s Story

 

There can be no better story of a company than knowing how it had all begun, and there can be no better storyteller than the founder himself to share the amazing experiences.

 

The founder’s story comes through as an agreeable conversation between the storyteller and the audience of the video, where the speaker not only introduces his company and himself but also reveals the ins and outs of the organisation which only compels the viewer to watch more. Most companies make the mistake of focusing the script on only the company and their core missions and goals, often boring the audience with unwanted information. What the audience really want to know about is the wholesome journey that the inspiring founders took, starting right from the day the idea was first thought of till the day the watched it take shape, and the unheard behind the scene stories, and how they have reached the height they have today and where do they want to go from here.

 


US State Department invites Ennovision CEO

Access to information is what we call luck. Well how do you tip the scales to being lucky often? You “Show up” in a lot of places. That’s one of the secret sauces to success.

I did just that. I found out about this very cool program sponsored by the US State Dept. while talking to a friend/alumnus of this program at a Startup community event in Dhaka.

The US Dept chooses 5 emerging leaders from the business world, in Bangladesh for a 6 weeks intensive fellowships designed to broaden their professional expertise in the US.  – To read more about the program click here.

This program brings in 400 professionals that are selected out of 2000 applicants from 77 countries at each round. A total of 1500 participants go through this program in a year from various fields such as Legislative Process & Governance, Economic Empowerment, Women’s Empowerment, Climate Change, Global Health etc. The participants experience individually tailored fellowships in their respective line of businesses, government offices or NGOs.

The objective of the program is for the foreign and American participants to develop everlasting professional ties and partnerships. The CEOs of all the American companies are then taken to the country of the Fellow they hosted to complete the exchange program.

 

 

I was simply blown away by everything from the application process to selection which entailed thought provoking questions and began my learning curve from day one.

This was going to be my first trip to the US and going there as a guest of the US State Dept. completely made me feel like royalty. I carried this feeling within, throughout the entire program because of the way we were welcomed at every event, treated, entertained, taken care of and taught. The frank exchange of ideas and the depth of conversation at every meeting, workshop and even at casual hangouts were exemplary given the caliber of all the CEOs and founders chosen to participate at the program.

The speed networking and etiquettes workshops were among my favorite. I loved the tips on how to prepare for a networking event to get the most out of it, how to approach and stand facing the person as opposed to standing on his/her side and what the various body language gestures meant. The crash course of etiquettes was a good refresher on how to dine and how to dress appropriately. This just went to show how well thought out the program was with great attention to detail.

I began to fall in love with Oklahoma city for the way the people made me feel there, what they stood for, their life philosophies and for the vastness of space. I had never seen such bluer skies that soared my spirits every morning, never felt such strong winds that regularly picked my off my feet and never thought I would make such amazing friends from a town like Norman.

 

One of my biggest preconceived notions of a small town like Norman and of Oklahoma as a rural state was quickly debunked as we visited places like Tulsa and heard stories of George Kaiser whose philanthropic efforts have created a huge impact in Oklahoma. His relentless work stimulated economic growth and fought poverty with investments in early education and health care for people who need it the most.

He is part of the giving pledge where he has promised to give away half his wealth, which is ½ of $9.8 billion. He has always been among the list of the richest people in the world ranked at 43. Owning 61% stake in Oklahoma Bank simply means offering creative ways to give loans and investments to entrepreneurs who want to put in their time and effort to grow businesses in Oklahoma.

After a very warm reception dinner at Joe Foote’s home in Norman, I thought of how one man can make a difference. He is the dean of Journalism at OU and spent a few years in Dhaka University as a visiting professor. Its because of him that OU hosts this exchange program in Bangladesh.

My placement at Liquidfish (www.liquidfish.com) was possibly one of the most eye opening experiences I have had, given the opportunity to shadow a CEO of a US company up close and personal. I was very surprised by the openness to share trade secrets, best practices that he learned from years of working in the IT industry and more. We exchanged tools that helped each of us in streamlining business process, and discussed strategies everyday on how to grow our businesses. One of my most reminisced moments was all the time each of the Liquidfish staff spent with me, to show me how they work, taught me tricks and shortcuts in programming, coding, designing etc. I am most grateful to Cody Blake (CEO of Liquid fish) for taking me to his sales calls and hand holding me through his process of closing 6 digit deals, showing me how the team presented value propositions to prospects and sold added feature. One of my invaluable observations included understanding how being honest of what you can’t deliver was just as important as promising what you can deliver. Both built trust and confidence in the prospect clients.

 

Cody shared his life stories that left us feeling like brothers and close friends in a very short time. He even took me to an OU basketball game (my first of course), and drove me in his modified jeep (that he worked on himself) with the wind blowing in our faces all through downtown Oklahoma to Lake Heffner where I had one of the best steaks of my life :)

Cody had his first son while I was there and still managed to give me a lot of time. I realized that Cody and most Oklahomans were very family oriented and lived the true American dream of owning a home, having a nice quaint family and owning 2 dogs. They were mellow by nature and really liked spending a lot of time with their families. Cody managed a life work balance while still being very driven to grow his business.

I began implementing all my learning long before I left the US. I registered Ennovision as a US company with my US partner. This now gave Ennovision the extra edge that would make it smoother for our customers to work with us with ease in banking transactions. It gave them added confidence in dealing with us as a company that now had a sales office in the US.

Meeting the Dean of OU business school was a treat as well. OU was incredibly welcoming for me to consider doing an MBA there. It truly is about “who you know” wherever you go. Elanie Steyn, the program coordinator at OU has been instrumental in making the Bangladesh exchange program such a raving success through her relentless work and passion for helping the entrepreneurs of Bangladesh beyond words. We have all become fast friends with her given her sincerity, selflessness and dedication for this program.

The program’s grand finale was at a 3 day conference in Washington D.C. where we met all the other 400 participants from the other 76 countries. This was a great way to end the exchange program since we got to see the level of impact and the depth of this empowerment program through the stories of the other participants. We continue to stay in touch with each other to nurture the relationships that we developed over the 6 weeks that I was there and am very confident that we will create ample concrete opportunities to work with each other as business partners.

 

This visit to D.C. obviously an exclusive tour to the US State Dept. I liked what my US partner said when I told her about the visit. She remarked, “NOW I am jealous. I have lived in the US for 23 years and traveled to all 50 states but never gotten to visit the inside of the US State Dept. let alone get a private tour.” Again, honored and felt like royalty!

When I returned home to Dhaka, I was “pumped” about scaling the Ennovision office. My US partner flew in within weeks of my return and we quickly changed office to move into a bigger space to accommodate our expansion plans. We have been working for 15-17 hrs a day to ramp up the rebranding, expansion and creating our own strategic roadmap for the year. We even streamlined our business process further like using quickbooks to keep transparent records for the US and Bangladesh offices. Who would have “thunk” that I would paying taxes in the US after visiting the country just ONCE?

 

We are gearing up to collaborate with Liquidfish in the next 2 months and we are super excited about Cody Blake visiting Bangladesh early next year. We had identified the excess workload that Liquidfish did not have the bandwidth for and wanted Ennovision to take on for them.

We can’t wait to see how the next few months unfolds for Ennovision with new teams, and my more frequent visits to the US to join my US partner in building the company.

This program has marked several milestones in my life and opened doors that I did not know existed.