Yesterday I started the day by opening few local businesses websites. Instead of finding the information I needed though, I ended up googling the definition of a filler text.

And that’s just to make sure that I am not confusing anything.

According to the search engine, a filler text is one:

that shares some characteristics of a real written text, but is random or otherwise generated. It may be used to display a sample of fonts or generate text for testing…

In other words, it’s just a dummy copy used to show how a real one might look like on a page.

Why then so many home pages read as if they were just that – a filler text?

A well-written homepage should catch your visitors’ attention, inform them, add a strong emotional appeal and persuade them to change their view (or encourage them to take action).

It should also be simple, easy to scan and eye catching.

But if you look around, not many pages pass these criteria.

Yet all try to sell you something.

How customers perceive your home page

When your customer lands on your home page, he or she does not know much about your business. Sure, some of your web visitors might have researched or heard about you before. But to many, this is their very first encounter with your company or product.

And thus, they are curious.

They hope what you offer might be what they’re looking for.

But they are also anxious.

They don’t want to waste their time finding out if your site is worth pursuing further.

To overcome this they ask themselves certain questions and will base their buying decision on your answers.

Your home page copy therefore, instead of talking about you or your achievements should laser focus on answering those questions. Other pages might elaborate on other information.

When it comes to the home page though, it should answer:

Am I in the Right Place?

Most of your home page visitors are people who already understand their problem. They either evaluate available solutions or intend to buy. These people are eager to solve their problem and will want to determine if you can deliver solutions they need.

Your copy should answer this in a fraction of a second. Ideally, you should include a clear information about what you do in the headline of the page, so that the visitor can see it after a quick glance on a page.

You can then support this with a short introductory text to make your point even more laser clear.

The Invoice Machine home page leaves no doubt about what they deliver – an online invoicing service.

home page copy

Is This Product / Service For Me?

Another thing your visitors will try to determine right away is whether they are the target market for your solutions or not. Or in other words, does what you do or sell relate specifically to their need.

Not being able to find this information, your visitors are likely to bounce and go looking for someone else who might be more relevant to them.

This of course doesn’t mean that your copy should try to keep every visitor on a page. It only should attempt it with ones you want to do business with.

Look at Titan Web Agency home page for instance. It can’t make it any clearer what market they are interested in – healthcare professionals.

Questions home page should answer

What’s Different About These Guys?

Your visitors will also want to know what makes you different. Why they should choose you over other providers? How do you deliver value the way no one else can?

Your customers are looking for a reason to select you over your competition, that one thing that will tell them “they are the ones to go for”.

But they are not looking for a fancy tagline or a slogan. Instead what they want is a promise of value you make to customers.

Developing your USP (or UVP as some people refer to it) is a lengthy process. You should begin it long before you write your home page copy. CopyHackers offer some amazing advice on how to get started, read it here.

Why Should I Trust Them?

Jeffrey Gitomer, one of my favourite sales writers one said that “only if they know you, like you and trust you, then they may buy from you”.

But gaining trust in the online world isn’t easy. Everyone else fights for your visitors’ attention too, often making false claims and promises. Needless to say, all this often makes customers less likely to trust a new brand.

Here are few tips that might help you overcome that:

Post Testimonials. Nothing builds trust better than a client testimonials. You can toot your horn as much as you like but having someone else telling how you have helped them will have a much stronger impact anyway.

Use Social Proof. A number of people following or recommending your brand on social media might be a deceptive metric, true. For many people however this number is an indicator that you are a real business others have used or bought from in the past.

Clearly Display Your Contact iInformation. We live in times of internet scams and online anonymity. Customers today want to be sure that there is a real business behind your website. By clearly displaying the ways to locate and reach out to you, you show your visitors that you are a real business.

Optional

The above is a must have information for any home page.

Depending on the nature of your business and your industry, you might need to include additional copy to further convince your visitors to you:

Who Have They Helped Already?

Your customers will also want to know who has worked with you before. That list of few logos of past clients can go a long way when they try to establish if you are a credible potential vendor.

How Do They Work?

Especially when it comes to the services industry, your clients may want to know straight away how do you work and get a feel for the processes you employ.

You don’t have to include all such information on the home page though. An indication of your work processes can tease them to dig deeper into your site and how you work.

Why They Do What They Do?

For some people, the reason why you are in business might be a main convincing factor to hire you. They might be looking for someone who shares similar beliefs to them and thus might understand their problem better. Or your customers might simply prefer to buy from a company that stands for something.

Ben & Jerry’s website lists all various issues they take seriously.

societal marketing

Help Your Customers Pick You

There are many factors that can prevent a customer buying from you. Price, availability, trust, even design. Not providing the information your customers need to make a buying decision however tops the list.

If that’s the case with your site, work on a better copy.

Then watch the results.