How to write your home page copy – my top 10 must-haves
‘How should I approach my home page copy?’ I get this question a lot from small business owners like you. And it’s no wonder. Compelling home page copy is crucial to showcase your business and attract aligned visitors. You can think of your home page as your website’s front door. And you’ve only got a few seconds to grab attention and communicate a clear proposition.
As an established or emerging small business, some practical insights and tips can help you ensure your home page copy leaves a lasting impression – the good kind. Whether you’re writing from scratch or auditing an existing home page, these 10 must-haves will help your home page stands out. Get comfy and let’s dive in.
1. Understand your target audience
Understanding your ideal audience is vital for crafting effective home page copy. By defining your target audience and understanding their needs, you can tailor your messaging to resonate with them and address their specific challenges. This means you’re more likely to create copy that speaks directly to your audience, makes them feel understood and increases the chances of engagement and conversion.
To do this, you’ll first need to dig into voice of customer (VOC) and market research.
While top-level demographic information can be useful, make sure you go deeper by exploring your audience’s interests, preferences and motivations.
- What keeps them up at 3am?
- If they could wave a magic wand and change anything about their business, what would it be?
You can gather this information through surveys, client interviews, participating in discussions in social media groups and analysing your website analytics. Knowing your audience helps you use the right tone of voice and language that will resonate with them. It also means you can highlight the specific benefits your product or service offers that align with their needs.
2. Communicate your unique selling proposition (USP)
Your unique selling proposition (USP) plays a vital role in capturing the attention of your website visitors and differentiating you from your competitors. In case you’re unfamiliar with the term, your USP is what you do, who you do it for, and how you do it differently from others. So, it belongs front and centre, or at least above the fold (before you start scrolling).
Have you ever visited a website and thought, I have no idea what this person does or what they sell because it doesn’t explicitly tell you? It’s super frustrating. You need to communicate your USP straight up on your home page – and quickly. You have just seconds to capture the attention of a new visitor, so it’s not the time to be clever.
When crafting your USP, keep it audience-focused.
- Focus on the outcomes, benefits or transformation your clients or customers will experience by choosing your business over others.
- Is the point of difference pricing, quality, expertise, innovation or something else?
- Use clear, persuasive language that resonates with your target audience.
- You can always sense-check your USP by asking a friend or an objective outsider to give you their honest feedback.
3. Use a logical flow and content hierarchy
A logical flow and considered content hierarchy are essential for all home page copy. Think of it as guiding your visitors intentionally through your website so they can find the information they need when they need it. A positive user experience can also increase the likelihood of conversion.
First up, clarify the primary goal of your home page.
- What action do you want visitors to take?
- Is it to book a call, download a PDF, buy something or subscribe to your newsletter? Structure your copy in a way that leads visitors towards that action.
In terms of copy:
- A compelling headline captures attention and communicates the value you provide.
- Follow it with concise and engaging copy highlighting the benefits of your products or services.
- Break up your content with subheadings to guide visitors through different sections of your home page.
- The most important and impactful content should be at the top – above the fold.
- Prioritise key messages, benefits and calls to action.
- Use bullet points, bold text and visual cues to draw attention to important details. That’s where design comes in, to support the ease of reading and digesting your content.
- Make sure your page flows as a whole by connecting sections and transitioning smoothly between ideas.
- Each section should build upon the previous one, leading your prospects towards the desired action.
- Avoid overwhelming people with too much information or cluttered design; keep your content clear and focused.
4. Use engaging and concise language
Using engaging and concise language is essential when writing home – and, in fact, all – web page copy. It helps capture attention, convey your message effectively and drive conversions.
Engaging language helps to create a connection with your audience, making them feel like you’re speaking directly to them. A good tip is to avoid jargon or overly technical terms that may confuse or alienate readers. Instead, use words and phrases that resonate with your target audience.
Copy is conversation. So, writing conversationally helps to establish an approachable atmosphere. You can still come across professionally while using natural-sounding language. Addressing your audience directly using personal pronouns e.g. ‘you’ establishes a sense of connection and builds trust.
When dealing with complex ideas, consider how you can simplify them without sacrificing their meaning. Break down complicated concepts into smaller, more digestible pieces. Consider using analogies or real-life examples to make them more relatable. (If you need some inspiration, why not have a play around with ChatGPT?)
5. Focus on benefits, not just features
Highlighting the difference between features and benefits is crucial when writing home page copy. It allows you to effectively communicate the value of your products or services and resonate with your target audience.
Features refer to the specific attributes or characteristics of your offerings. They describe what your products or services are or what they can do e.g. a jacket made of waterproof fabric. Features are important, but they don’t necessarily connect with your prospects on an emotional or personal level.
On the other hand, benefits:
- Focus on the positive outcomes or advantages people can experience from using your products or services.
- Answer the question on the mind of every potential client or customer, ‘What’s in it for me?’
- Address the needs, desires or pain points of your audience
- Show your prospects how your offerings can improve their lives or solve their problems. E.g. the waterproof fabric keeps you dry and cozy.
To translate features into audience-focused benefits, consider the impact or transformation your offerings can bring. To help you get there, ask, ‘So what?’
6. Use compelling visuals i.e. show your face!
Capture attention on your home page by using compelling visuals. Images can communicate information and evoke emotions in ways that text cannot. Use them to engage visitors and convey your brand message effectively. Featuring your face somewhere on the home page humanises your business and makes it more relatable.
Some tips when using images:
- Choose your images carefully – not all are created equal. Select colours that complement your branding and images that help prospects imagine what it would be like to work with you or the transformation they could expect from working with you or using your products/services.
- Optimise all visuals for faster loading times. Otherwise, they’ll slow down your website, negatively impacting the user experience. Remember, you have only seconds to grab attention on the home page. Time-poor visitors may click away if a page loads too slowly, back to the search results to check out your competitors. TinyPNG is a handy tool to reduce file size without compromising quality.
- Many users will check out your site on the go, so make sure it’s responsive on mobile. While your home page copy and images might look great on a large screen or laptop, take the time to test them on mobile too.
- For accessibility and search engine optimisation (SEO) purposes, provide alternative text (alt tags) for images. They describe the content of an image, allowing visually impaired users and search engines to understand what the image represents.
7. Incorporate social proof
Incorporating social proof is essential for any home page, no matter your business. Put it this way. Your prospects are waaay more likely to believe what others say about your products and services than to take your word for it. Social proof builds trust and encourages prospects to take action.
It’s powerful because it taps into the innate human desire to follow the crowd and seek validation from others. When your potential clients or customers read about positive experiences from others, it instils confidence, validates your claims and establishes credibility for your business.
There are various types of social proof that you can include and regularly update on your home page.
- Testimonials are one of the most effective forms of social proof, as long as they talk about specific challenges, benefits and outcomes (make sure to include name and business/title and a photo, if you can)
- Case studies in the format of problem-solution-outcome can also be compelling, although these may sit on a separate page
- Logos of well-known clients or partners add credibility and trust
- Award logos or other kinds of recognition can also help to back up your expertise.
8. Include clear calls-to-action (CTA)
A call to action (CTA) encourages your prospect to take a specific action. So make sure you use actionable language to tell them what you want them to do, for instance, ‘buy now’, ‘book a call’, or something else. Place CTAs strategically throughout your home page, considering high-visibility areas like the top of the page, above the fold or at the end of compelling sections.
Ensure your home page is inclusive and accessible to all users. Here are some tips for creating accessible CTAs:
- Use descriptive and specific language: Instead of generic phrases like ‘Learn more’, provide clear and descriptive CTAs that convey the action and purpose. For example, ‘Learn more about our services’.
- Make CTAs visually distinct: Ensure CTAs have sufficient colour contrast to be easily distinguishable for users with visual impairments.
- Use accessible button sizes: Make sure your CTA buttons are large enough to be easily clickable, especially on touchscreens or mobile devices. Consider whether there’s enough spacing around the button to prevent accidental clicks.
- Provide context and clear instructions: Surround each CTA with clear instructions or supporting text to provide context for the action and help users understand what will happen next.
9. Optimise for SEO (search engine optimisation)
Optimising all your website copy for search engines is crucial for improving your website’s visibility and driving organic traffic. By incorporating SEO best practices, such as good SEO keyword placement, your copy will likely rank higher in search engine results and attract more of the right kinds of visitors to your site.
Optimising your home page copy lets search engines understand the relevance and value of your content. By using relevant keywords strategically, you’re letting the search engines know what your page is about. This improves its chances of appearing in relevant search queries.
Keyword research is a fundamental aspect of SEO. It involves identifying the search terms and phrases your target audience may use when looking for products, services or information related to your business. Paid SEO tools are available, but you can start with the Google search bar and People AIso Ask for content ideas. Answer the Public is another great free tool for brainstorming keywords.
Content optimisation is never about keyword stuffing or jamming keywords in unnaturally.
- Once you’ve assigned your main keywords and synonyms to your home page, use them in a way that flows naturally and aligns with the intent of your valuable content.
- Write your home page copy for users, using bullet points, subheadings and paragraphs to break up the text and make it easily scannable for visitors and search engines.
- Optimise the home page title and meta description. Provide a concise, accurate and engaging summary of your home page content to entice users to click through from search engine results.
- Your headings (e.g. H1 and H2) help structure your content and tell search engines what’s most important on your home page.
- Use them to organise your content and include relevant keywords or synonyms.
10. Ensure a good user experience
A good user experience is more than a clear USP and logical content hierarchy. For example, the load speed of your site directly impacts user satisfaction. Impatient visitors will likely bounce away. You can check your site’s loading speed using a free tool like the Pingdom website speed test. By optimising load speed, you provide a smoother browsing experience for users.
A clear navigation bar also contributes to a positive user experience. Your home page is a gateway for prospects to explore further, and your navigation options should be intuitive and well-organised. Avoid overcrowding it with too many options; use subpages to streamline the main navigation. You can order the options strategically, with the contact option e.g. ‘Book a call’ typically placed at the far right for easy accessibility.
A seamless user experience also relies on working links throughout the home page. Broken links can be super frustrating and offputting. Regularly test all the links on your home page, including those leading to other site pages, social media profiles or contact forms. You can schedule monthly checks or collaborate with a friend to test each other’s links.
And one bonus must-have…test and iterate
Your website home page is not a ‘set and forget’ situation. Continue to optimise, iterate and refine it over time. Analyse user behaviour to uncover valuable insights and make informed adjustments. Tools and resources like Google Analytics and Google Search Console provide valuable data on user engagement, bounce rates, conversion rates and audience acquisition i.e. where are people coming from and what are they searching for?
Here’s a recap of my top 10 must-haves for your home page copy:
- Understand your target audience
- Communicate your unique selling proposition
- Use a logical flow and content hierarchy
- Use engaging and concise language
- Focus on benefits, not just features
- Use compelling visuals
- Incorporate social proof
- Include clear calls-to-action
- Optimise for SEO
- Ensure a good user experience
BONUS: Test and iterate
Over to you
I hope these practical insights and tips help you make a great first impression with your home page copy. Happy writing!