When it comes to the writing the words for your website, deciding what to say on your homepage is often one of the most difficult parts to get right. We know that it's an area where people struggle, so we thought we'd share a few tricks of our own to help you piece it together more easily.
1. Write the homepage copy last
It may seem logical to write the homepage text first, because this is the first thing you expect people to see. However, not everyone arrives at your website via the homepage. Equally, you shouldn't feel that you have to approach it like a novel, starting at page one and steadily working your way through until you get to the end.
So I prefer to do things backwards, creating the inner pages first. Then the topic or landing pages, and finally the homepage.
Doing it this way means you're fully across the content; you know what you've got and how it's all divided up. Now your job is to write a cracking overview which will capture the essence of your company and lead people to all this great content.
2. Give Google something to latch on to
Those minimal, Flash-heavy websites are old news. Text is back, baby. Unless you explain what you do and what you're offering, how are the search engines going to find you?
This doesn't mean dense paragraphs full of complex sentences. Or, even worse, endless lists of keywords. That can actually lead Google to penalise your website and push you further down the rankings.
And don't forget that a lot of people will be viewing on mobile, so whatever you do write, make it easy to scroll through, with clear headings and lots of space around the words.
So try to think from your customer's point of view. What do they need to know? And how can you explain it simply and clearly, and efficiently steer them to the right part of the site?
3. Sharpen up your intro
I've got this book by Robert Craven called Bright Marketing: Why Should People Bother To Buy From You? It stresses the importance of being able to explain your business to others in a non-nonsense way.
"Be clear and be simple and use language that is easy to understand. This is not a sales pitch and you are not trying to prove how clever you are. All you are doing is giving them an easy-to-understand explanation of what you do."
I like that, and think it applies to homepage copy too. This is their handy formula:
We work with...
Who have a problem with...
What we do is...
Which means that...
Let's try it on a sample business, say, a skincare company.
We help women of all ages who want beautiful, clear skin. Our organic, non-allergenic products work with every skin type, so you always look like you've had your beauty sleep.
Or a precision tools supplier.
We work with engineers in the defence, aerospace and automotive sectors who rely on robust, reliable precision tooling. Rigorously tested to ISO Standard 12345, our exceptional quality tools can be shipped around the world fast, and at a low cost. So you can complete your engineering project quickly, efficiently and to a world-class standard.
Or a dry cleaners.
Fast, professional dry cleaning service for all types of clothing, from office wear to wedding dresses. We clean and press your clothes and deliver them to your door, saving you time and money. Helping you feel smart and confident at your next meeting – and on your wedding day!
Give these tricks a go and let us know how you get on.