Entrepreneurs could put their heart and soul into their first website launch. But where should they dedicate the most energy?

For most websites, the homepage is the first page of your website a visitor sees. The homepage is basically the first impression or the opening line. It can spell love at first sight for a potential customer, or quite the opposite.

“Think about the last time someone left you with a bad first impression. You likely didn’t have an interest in continuing to learn more about them. This is the same experience website visitors can have with your website,” says Becky Ruyle. As the VP of marketing at Influence & Co., a content marketing agency, she understands the anatomy of a well-design and well-optimized business website.

“The homepage is the page where a visitor is going to decide whether they want to explore further or head back to Google to find something else,” Ruyle continues. “So if your website is simplified and optimized to quickly get visitors to the information they’re looking for, the more likely it is that you’ll be able to convert visitors into leads.”

According to Ruyle, there are a few elements businesses need to have on their homepage for it to be considered successful. By looking at your homepage, a website visitor should easily be able to find out:
• Who your company is.
• What you do or sell.
• How you’re different from the competition.
• How to get in touch with your company.

The more clicks a website visitor has to take to find something, the less likely they will be to take the action you want them to take. Within one or two clicks, a visitor should be able to:

• Find more information about your products and services.
• Learn details about how you do what you do.
• See case studies and examples of your work.
• Read educational content to find answers to their questions about your industry or company.
• Identify the next steps they can take to begin working with your business.

Ruyle says Influence & Co believes there are three top ways small business entrepreneurs can improve the homepage.

1) Review your analytics. What actions are website visitors actually taking on your website? Do these actions align with your goals for your website? If not, review your calls to action.

2) Use simple, clear language. Because you want website visitors to explore your website, it has to be easy for them to understand what you do and what actions are available for them to take. “When calls to action are vague or a page is cluttered with too many CTAs, it’s hard for visitors to determine what action they want to take,” warns Ruyle. 

For example, if you want a visitor to set up a demo, the CTA should be “Schedule a demo” instead of “Contact us.” When someone clicks “Schedule a demo,” they know the next step is to set up a time to see the product in action. With “Contact us,” there is room for confusion about what the next step actually is in their journey.

3) Review your homepage on mobile. Is everything listed above still easily accessible? Phones and tablets are common formats for website viewing, so it’s important to ensure the experience you’ve created on your website translates well to mobile.

No matter how dazzling your homepage might appear, make sure to always look at your analytics to determine the most important page of your website, advises Ruyle. If you’re a new company, the homepage will likely be the place website visitors are initially landing. But if you have an older website, look at the website traffic to see whether that’s still holding true. As you’re reviewing your analytics, find the page that’s getting the most traffic — this should be the page you focus most of your time on to ensure it’s optimized to drive visitors to engage with your website further.