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Keeping the Homepage Simple

When you’re writing a business website, it’s easy to get bogged down in the nuts and bolts of what it is the company does. Of course you need to explain the company’s services and products, and you’ll often need to go into a lot of detail about what those products do. But it’s all too easy to lose sight of who you’re really writing for: people.

The thing is, you’re immersed in your business every day. You don’t just know about the specifications of every product you sell, and the company’s history since its inception – you live it.

But the trouble is, your customers aren’t anywhere near as involved in your business as you are. In fact, someone looking at your website may never even have heard of you before, let alone know anything about what you do. And while the website is a great place to tell them all about the company, it’s not always the best idea to tell them absolutely everything there is to know. Remember, unlike you, they’re finding out about your business for the first time. And if you throw absolutely everything at them straight away, they’re just going to be overwhelmed, or bored, or both.

Keep your homepage simple: don't bombard your customers

When a potential new customer finds your site for the first time, the main things they want to know tend to be:

  • What you do (in brief)
  • How you can solve their problems or improve their life
  • How to get in touch with you

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Obviously it depends what kind of business you’re running, but generally customers just want to know what you do, how it’s going to help them, and where you are. They don’t need to know a detailed company history, or a lengthy description of every single product and service you offer.

Of course, you’ll probably need to go into more detail about your products somewhere on the site, and that’s fine. Just don’t do it on the homepage. Product specifications and in-depth descriptions belong on internal pages about those products – people expect to see them there. Likewise, if you want to add a detailed company history, put it on an “About Us” page. That way, people who want to know about it can choose to click on that page, but people who don’t want to know aren’t bombarded with information they’re not interested in.

If in doubt, just remember – the first thing customers want to know is what you do and how it will benefit them. That’s what belongs on the homepage – anything else is just detail.

  • John Mitchell

    Why do you think people will visit the home page of the site first – decent SEO will take them to the page that is relevant to their search which may well not be the home page so surely every page needs to follow the same rules?

    • Claire Jenkinson – Yell Insider

      Hi John, thanks for your interest. You are right, of course, that people will enter a site on multiple pages, but there is an expectancy from internet users that the homepage will provide basic information, keeping the user experience logical and friendly, whereas the expectancy for product pages is for more detailed content.