Keys to Designing an Effective Homepage

owen.oliver 18 June 2013 0




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Whether your website is for business or pleasure it always important to make a good impression at the homepage. It’s the simplest things like color, navigation, images, and even the amount of links that can make a person intrigued or repelled by the site. Designing a good homepage is all about taking the natural elements of what the site is about and expressing them in the right non-textual ways. Having some adobe training and knowledge of HTML helps in implementing those simple things in a more creative manner and can also help increase the amount of visitors to your website through search engine optimization. Much like natural human communication 75% of what a website tells you is non-textual. Here are the keys to designing a homepage that will both welcome willing readers and capture the interest of casual visitors:

1.      Color Psychology
Think about the desired audience of your site and try to project an environment that fills them with confidence in you. For example, a site that is based on a law firm would be better served having a darker blue or gray template rather than a yellow one. Darker colors tend to project more seriousness and blue is a color that is known to invoke feelings of trust, security, and order. Gray is a color that is known to invoke the presence of intellect and together with blue makes for a good combination for businesses in serious or complicated fields such as law. Colors like orange, yellow, and red are more light hearted, passionate and probably better suited for sites in the business of recreation or fun.

2.      Navigation
If the site is meant to be light hearted, fun, and there primarily for entertainment then you can mix up the layout of navigation into floating bubbles or some other clever theme. If however, the site is more professional or business-based, keep it simple and just go with a navigational bar on top of the site or on the left. It is better to be on top or the left because that is the way most people read and therefore most convenient for visitors to obtain information. Make sure you have the essential subpages visibly accessible. Pages such as “Contact”, “Pricing/Services”, “Hours of Operation”, and “sign-in/shopping” are essential to running a good site and should always be accessible from the homepage.

3.      Images
Unless you are part of a charitable organization trying to rally people to your cause you always want to have smiling faces on your homepage. Whether it’s employees or customers in the images a smiling face is always the most welcoming one. If you are going for a more competitive nature, such as a sports blog, then more serious expressions and powerful emotions can help to invoke the competitive spirit in individuals. Many services such as healthcare and public service tend to respond better to an honest, innocent smile though.

4.      Content/Text
Choose your word carefully on the homepage. They may be the only ones the visitor ever receives from you. If you are an individual providing a service then a subpage would be better for the visitor to get to know you. If the business is not focused on just a handful of people, like a doctor’s office, than give a brief statement as to what your business is about and what you can do for customers. Another important thing to have on the front page is the latest news that is relevant to the site or its focus. If you want you can make a separate news page with archived stories as well as the present but I have found that links and a few select stories can better arouse the curiosity of a visitor if shown on the front page.

5.      Credibility
Many business sites have a product rating section for everything they sell. Utilizing one of these is a great way to get feedback from visitors and allow them to validate you to potential new visitors. Links to positive stories about the site’s focus are great, along with testimonials from peers and visitors. Qualifications and background information are better for “About Us” pages but notable awards are definitely good to have on display at the home page.

 




owen.oliver (1 Posts)

Owen Oliver is a writer and graphic design consultant for American Graphics Institute. When he’s not writing or messing around with graphics in his blog he helps us other learn how to effectively run their own websites with Adobe training and HTML classes.

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