Is it really a good idea to use a big photo or picture as your home or landing page?
Over the last year I have seen many web designers and business owners jump on the “Big Picture” approach to web design and development. Admittedly, these designs often “look” great, especially at first glance, but don’t do much to engage the visitor in the way you they need to be engaged.
Summary of Topics
- Best Practice for Landing Pages and Home Pages
- Visitor Engagement
- Calls to Action
- Trust Signals
- Hundreds of “Actual Words”
Best Practices for Landing Pages and Home Pages
Getting Pertinent Information “Above The Fold”
You need to make sure you have plenty of engagement and engagement options “above the fold”, which means instantly visible on most devices. This can be more challenging on mobile devices, which is why on mobile devices it becomes more critical that you have simple and direct messages for your visitors on your landing pages.
A landing page must first and foremost engage with your target buyer personas. A picture might be able to do this, but a picture with words is often better to provide needed context. Many pictures can be taken 1,000 different ways, text leaves a bit less to the imagination and can get right to the point more quicky.
Calls to Action
This can be as subtle as a phone number at the top, as overt as “buy now”, but there are many choices in-between to catch people at different stages of the buying cycle. If some of your visitors need to learn more about your industry, products or services, then you need to be able to engage with them at this stage with a link or possibly a downloadable eBook. Unless you feel your target buyer personas would rarely or never need to learn more before they make a purchasing decision then it is important you have opportunities to connect with them at this stage.
Video, Trust Signals, and Hundreds of “Actual Words”
Video may rarely be watched, or it may be watched often. Either way, having video on your home page will help engage with people who want to watch a video, and it can contribute to your legitimacy with the search engines.
People and search engines read trust signals such as awards, memberships, and testimonials. They are important for proving to your visitors you are legitimate, and the search engines seem to like them as well.
Hundreds of Actual Words
This is the biggest mistake I see businesses make with their website designs. Certainly you need to be brief and to the point to engage with readers. However, if all you put is bullets and short statements on your pages you will miss two very important audiences:
- Those who care to read more about your business (there are more of these than you think)
- The search engines still rely heavily on written word to determine the relevance of a page. Your competitors will likely have a leg up on you if they take the time to write good content and you do not. You can rank a site without much content on the site, but it is a risky approach and it may not last.
Examples of Good and Bad Engagement
Excellent engagement above the fold, with great content down the page.
Bad Example of Overuse of Photos and/or Videos
“Rare” Excellent Example of Video/Picture Dominating Home Page
Better Approach to Using Pictures
Old Designs, But Still Attracts Search Engines