Is Your Homepage Killing Your Conversions?

James Geiger

Lead Developer

Is it possible that your homepage is killing things for you? Oh yes. It’s possible.

Your homepage is vital. It’s the portal to your website, and people finding you through search are likely coming in through the homepage. If your front page doesn’t provide visitors with the content they’re looking for, it’s going to be difficult to get them to convert.

In the past, an attractive homepage was all you needed to wow customers. Today, the playing field is much different. Aside from just looking pretty, your website needs to serve a specific purpose for your visitors. Do you want to educate them on a specific topic? Share trending news?

If you’re not happy with your conversion rate, it’s possible that your homepage is to blame. But you don’t have to be mad at this page for very long. There are quick fixes to be made that can have a significant impact on your conversions.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself when assessing the conversion quality of your website.

Are you adding company news to your homepage?

It may seem like a smart idea to add company news to your homepage. By keeping your audience informed about recent developments, you can increase their trust in you and even open up new opportunities with other customers and businesses.

Yet just because company news is an important component of your website does not mean that it should be blasted on your homepage. As a matter of fact, homepage news can hurt your conversion rates. New visitors aren’t interested in your news just yet. You’re trying to attract new customers, not distract them with business developments.

If you have news you want to share, save it for blog posts, newsletters or social media. Keep your homepage clean, uncluttered and focused on converting the user.

Does your homepage have a lot of unnecessary information?

Take a look at the text and images on your homepage and ask yourself if they are really necessary. According to a study by Kinesisinc, 94 percent of a person’s first impression of a business is design related. Having too much information on your homepage can be distracting and make your business look less professional, thus hurting conversion rates.

There are no clear cut rules as to how much information is too much. People disagree on this topic all of the time, so you may need to test your site to see what performs best. Generally speaking, however, less is more.

You do want to make sure that you have enough text on your homepage so that it can be properly indexed by the search engines, but short and sweet copy is ideal. Stick to your main points without throwing too much at the visitor.

Also pay attention to your images. A lot of images on one page forces the user to divide their time, and you never want elements on a page to compete for attention. This is only going to distract and confuse the user, which steers them away from converting.

Some of the best-converting websites do tend to have the following qualities:

  • Background image

  • Bold title

  • Short, compelling copy

  • Trust-building signals

  • Call-to-action

  • Images of a human face

Are you giving attention to your blog?

It’s nearly impossible to build a community around your brand if you don’t have a regularly updated blog. Blogs increase engagement, start meaningful discussions and establish your business as an authority. Blogs also generate more leads. The search engines even prefer websites with fresh content as opposed to static ones!

But enough about that. You should know by now that blogging is an invaluable tool for your business.

Make your blog link easy to find on your homepage. Don’t make the mistake of playing hide-and-seek with it as so many businesses do. If a visitor has to scroll to the footer section to find your blog, you’re losing valuable leads.

Also, blogs that are hidden tend to look less important, almost like the company isn’t proud of it. Maybe it hasn’t been updated in awhile or perhaps it doesn’t contain much useful information. Show visitors that you’re proud of your blog and invite people to read it.

How fast is your homepage loading?

There’s only one right answer to this question, and that’s “fast.”

If your homepage is loading anything other than fast, you’ve got problems. Slow loading times kill conversions, frustrate users and hurt SEO. Unfortunately, many websites still battle with slow-loading homepages for one reason or another, such as analytics tags, bloated HTML or unoptimized images.

Aside from taking an objective look at your homepage, you can use a website speed tool to determine just how fast (or slow) your first page is loading. The average load time is 2 seconds, and the average user’s attention span is 8 seconds. Obviously, you want to be somewhere on the low end of those 6 ideal seconds.

Do you have autoplay audio or video content?

While it’s true that audio and video content can increase conversions, you want to be careful about how you’re using them. It’s annoying and distracting when a visitor lands on a homepage and hears music or talking that they weren’t expecting. Not to mention, if the user has multiple tabs up, they have to dig through them to find out which one is making all the ruckus.

Here’s something to think about: web users don’t like when decisions are made for them. By putting audio or video on your homepage and playing it automatically, you’re making the decision for the user to listen or watch your message. This can hurt your conversions.

Don’t be afraid to add audio or video to your homepage. But let users decide if they want to play them so that you don’t annoy them.

Conclusion

The only way to know for sure what is killing your conversions is by split testing your elements, including headlines, subtitles, content, calls-to-action and more. Your homepage receives more traffic than your other pages, and it’s often the first touch point for visitors. Make the most of this page by keeping it focused and simple yet interesting and engaging. As you begin to design your homepage for the user rather than the looks, you’ll see an improvement in your conversions.

 
About the Author: James Geiger

Born and raised at the Jersey Shore, James Geiger is the Lead Developer at SEMGeeks. He holds a B.A. in English Literature from Elon University and an Associates degree in Computer Science from Brookdale Community College. He has 4+ years of web development experience, with a major focus on WordPress and user experience.

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