Is the purpose of your business’ homepage ultimately to force-feed site visitors an intense marketing message? Absolutely not. After all, inbound marketing already has something more geared towards those kinds of needs—the landing page.

Still, though by no means as sales-driven as a well-crafted landing page, the homepage serves somewhat of a product- and service-pushing purpose—it’s meant to engage, interest and intrigue digital audiences. That said, not all homepages are created the equal …

You know the drill—after having fired off a Google search query or two, you think you’ve found just what you’re looking for, only to discover that the link you click on takes you to a website that looks like it was built back in the early nineties.

Sound familiar? If so, do both yourself and your company’s website a favor by making certain that your homepage includes each of the four below characteristics—by so doing, you’ll do more for warming a potential buyer than you ever thought possible:

1) Simplicity Is the Way to Go

We’ve all grown tired of the whole “Keep It Simple, Stupid” saying, but there’s a reason it’s become so popular over the years—more often than not, it’s the best methodology for getting things done. Yes, there are exceptions to this rule, but homepage design isn’t one of them.

In order to keep your homepage simple, implement each of the following:

      • Easy-to-read text with a conversational, friendly tone.
      • White space—it might not be the most “sexy” of elements, but it works.
      • Clearly label the most important pages on your site—confusion kills conversion.

* Real-Life Example of Simplicity Monotype

2) Make Known Your Brand’s Identity

Hard to believe that something like this could happen with the click of computer mouse, huh?

It can. Think about it—those awful websites you’ve stumbled upon in the past? Though each might’ve contained priceless information, the message that was quickly transmitted wasn’t enough to push you to do any investigatory work—such is the power of a homepage.

Though the bulk of your business’ information is likely found on secondary pages, the first taste a prospective customer has of your brand’s identity comes straight from the homepage. Because of this, create a unique design, prominently display your logo and feature a tagline in large text for immediate consumption.

Do you know how long the average hiring manager or HR representative spends looking at an individual résumé? Six seconds. No, you’re not applying for a job, but instead of selling your personal skills as you would on a résumé, you’re pushing your brand’s identity. Due to these kinds of jaw-dropping constraints, you’d be wise to make it a priority on your homepage.

* Real-Life Example of IdentityVibrant Composites

3) Include an Awesome Supporting Image

Did you know that 90% of the information that comes to the brain is visual? Whether it be a fondness of visual content or the fact that most of brain’s activity is spent processing visual messages, digital audiences are drawn to what’s easily internalized.

This is where a powerful supporting image comes into play. Call it a “featured” image or a “banner” image, the point is the same—use a one-of-a-kind, high-impact image (or design) to immediately capture a site visitor’s attention.

In fact, so important is this supporting image, that there’s a popular saying built entirely around the psychology behind this homepage characteristic: “You can’t judge a book by it’s cover.” In the end, you don’t want customers purchasing your products and services simply because you have an impressive banner image, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction.

* Real-Life Example of a Supporting ImageTryTow

4) Use Color Wisely

For the sake of today’s conversation, we’re not going to get into the pseudoscience behind each slice of the color wheel and the emotions transmitted by those found therein. However, what we will zero in on are a few tried-and-true “best practices” for homepage design and color.

Try these on for size:

      • Use bold colors sparingly, and only where a visitor’s attention should be directed.
      • Neutral colors are best for the bulk of your homepage, but don’t use them exclusively.
      • White space is a beautiful thing—use it to your advantage.

* Real-Life Example of Great ColorAptive

Wrapping Things Up

Your company’s homepage is the portal through which all loyal, long-lasting customers must eventually pass. With this in mind, having taken a gander at the current state of your homepage, what kinds of experience are would-be buyers having?

Answer honestly, and—using the above tips as a guide—adjust your homepage accordingly.