There are four essential pieces of information you should have on your homepage: value proposition, differentiation, proof, and calls to action.
Though the role of the homepage has changed, chances are it's still the most highly trafficked and most important page on your website. Deciding what to put on your homepage, however, can prove tricky and it's easy to end up with one containing too much information, duplicating what appears on other pages and failing to generate leads.
The objectives for your homepage should be to:
Engage new visitors quickly
Channel visitors to the right content
Convert those visitors that are ready to try or buy
Achieving these objectives requires that you provide four pieces of information.
What should I put on my homepage?
Every website should have these four essential components on the homepage:
Value proposition. What you do and who you do it for
Differentiation. Why a customer should choose you over other solutions
Proof. Evidence to support your differentiation
Call to action. Ways for your visitor to convert or continue their journey
1. Value proposition
When a new visitor arrives on your homepage you only have a few seconds, and therefore a few words, to engage them. The most effective way to establish the desired engagement is to state what you do and who you do it for – your value proposition.
When properly communicated, your value proposition can convey what problem you solve and for which users, all in a very short space of time. The effect of this on the right visitor is to instantly remove all doubt that they are on the right site.
When crafting your value proposition statement for your homepage we urge you to get specific, citing actual services and customers. Avoid the kind of vague puffery that has plagued the web for years. You'll find it easier to grow your market share if you do.
Don’t be afraid to change and update your value proposition statement, or even better A/B test it to find out what performs best.
Here's a great example from Help Scout, who make it perfectly clear what the product does and what can be achieved using it.
Another great example this time from Litmus who state very precisely what you can do with their product.
While your value proposition may have got your visitor to stay past the 'blink test', they are still looking for signals to help them decide if they should stay or go. To keep their interest, and their visit going, tell them is why you're better than any alternative - your differentiation.
Differentiation can be conveyed in a many ways. The most important thing, however, is that it's real, not just make-believe or matched by every serious competitor. Remember, points of differentiation aren't only found in your product or service. They can also be found in other areas of the value chain such as your culture, organisation or the way in which you meet the needs of specific users.
Here Gusto (previously Zenpayroll) answer the question 'why choose Gusto?' with three differentiators.
In this example Trello differentiate themselves simply by showing how different their product is using a great screenshot.
By now your visitor may well be close to spending some real time on your website. By providing proof that you can do what you say you can, you can tip them over the line. In B2B buying, proof plays a particularly important and valuable role, helping buyers de-risk and justify their purchase decisions.
The easiest and most widely used way to communicate proof (although there are others) is to show customer logos, testimonials or case studies. If you can source these, use them. But remember, this is your homepage so keep it brief here and link to longer content if necessary.
New Relic demonstrates proof with a number of powerful customer logos and a preview of a compelling case study.
4. Calls to action
The new role of the website is to convert a visitor into a lead. The homepage is just one step on this journey and so should feature calls to action that are relevant to a visitor's stage in their decision making process.
For buyers at early stages of the process, provide links that channel them to the most relevant pages and content within your site.
For buyers who are later in the process, make sure your homepage features your bottom of the funnel offer e.g. a free trial or consultation.
Dropbox end their homepage with a beautifully simple call to action, including the form required to covert on it.
Packet.net end their home page with an inviting and singular offer to start deploying servers.