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New media marketing 101 series: #6 Homepage

10 Feb
When I'm gone, please take care of my homepage!

When I

If there is one thing I can’t ephasize enough, it is: Don’t neglect your homepage! This installment of the 101 series regards one of the most important factors in your new media marketing process, if not thé most important.
The home page is often the first thing people see when clicking on a banner or a link on another website. As in life, you only have one chance to make a first impression. So make it a good one.

In this post I have diverted a bit from the normal structure of the article. Examples are plenty, good ones as well as bad ones. There are no Problems having a homepage, only advantages. You have to have a website when you do online marketing. There is no going around that. So make sure it is a good one. These are some basic points to create a solid homepage.

Looks

  • Make sure you have a strong brand identity. The look should reflect what your brand stands for. E.g. when you have a funural parlor, don’t use a Comic font. Use colors and fonts consistently.
  • Use a clear structure. Logo on the top left corner, banner underneath, content under this and general info on the bottom. You don’t have to do it like this, but make sure you have clear content blocks so your visitors don’t have to look to hard to find whatever they are looking for.
  • Keep it clean. Don’t use bells and whistles. Please don’t use javascript text effects, snow, rain or other animations that divert from the actual purpose of the website.
  • Don’t use pop-ups on the homepage. This is something a lot of companies do. Your homepage is where you make the first web-connection with your visitor. If you pelt him with pop-ups, this experience might not be a good one and you could lose him forever.
  • Make sure it loads very fast. The longer the visitor has to wait, the more time he has to click “close”.

Content

  • Tell your visitor what he can do on your site.
  • Make your page scanable. The visitor should see what your company is, what it does and why he should stay on the site within the first two seconds.
  • If you want the visitor to take some action; buy, read, respond, … tell him to do just that. Make sure your calls to action are prominent.
  • In your structure, provide a prominent place for a spotlight area. Here you can put a product, service, person in the spotlight. You can have this rotate so the visitors don’t get bored.

Up to date

  • Make sure you have new content regularly. It depends on what kind of company you are. One thing is certain, if a reader visits your site for the second time and nothing has changed, he won’t be interested. He probably won’t even come a third time unless he is enticed by something.
  • On this note, a news section is a good thing but make sure it really is news. Old news is even worse than no news at all.
  • Change your design around at least every two years. This way, your visitor has something new to look at and you might even be more in tune with his needs.
  • So do research. Learn what you vistor wants and give it to him. Delete obsolete sections of the homepage and insert new and exciting ones.

Professionalism

  • Do not insert emoticons or funny images in your homepage. Keeping in line with the “keep it clean” point earlier, this also relates to the content. Don’t scream at your visitors, be polite, tell them a story rather than selling them a product.
  • Make the page look professional. This is the first screen of your site. It should envoke a sense of trust. People have to know they are in the right place for whatever you have to offer.

Conclusion

Don’t neglect the homepage! Do research, keep it clean and adapt to your visitor.

If you have other point you would like to tell me: please contact me here.

Liked this article? Read the other as well:
New media marketing 101 series: #1 the Blog
New media marketing 101 series: #2 Social Network Sites
New media marketing 101 series: #3 Banners
New media marketing 101 series: #4 virals
New media marketing 101 series: #5 email

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Posted by on February 10, 2009 in internet

 

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