If your site opens with a HUGE flower, a lovely hill of daisies, a massive building; you'd better be offering flowers, hills of daisies or big buildings because it's this impression; the Store Window, on which people ponder entry.
Any retail store will confirm the front window display is what sets the tone for the rest of the clients visit; it tells customers before they even see the rest of the store - what’s on sale, what’s new and why you should go in.
Now, before we move on, take a short moment to check out your website visitor stats. At Coolcom, those are right in your cPanel.
Is your home page getting 99.0% of all traffic and not much going onward to other pages of your website after that? If so, it’s time to rethink your presentation; your display window.
The most common reason for loss of good traffic at the home page, is that the “store window” isn’t telling anyone what’s new, what’s on sale or what’s going on in that site. People have little patience when the next site is but a Google click away.
The main offender? Template slotting.
There is an all too common use of giant huge massive pictures that have little to tell the visitor, followed by three smaller pictures below it, squares that get filled in because they’re in the template.
Templates can be a fabulous head start but also pose the danger of setting you up for some classic ways to give up traffic that came for a reason; often thanks to hard earned marketing dollars too.
Top Three unwanted results of slotting your message?
- The visitor grows tired of waiting to load the page (templates are artistic but often not optimized)
- The visitor doesn’t see what they came for (it's pretty but detached from the visitors expectation)
- The visitor has to scroll endlessly, often to find nothing they came for (too many metaphor or unrelated graphics)
This is a tough one to avoid because most Online Site Builders are chalk full of this exact kind of template. But this is also a super vital point to dig at with your site, it will make the difference between traffic and no traffic. This is no time to be in a hurry.
Sure a few will find it a good opener; an actress will want her face seen larger than life, a director will want their latest film teaser filling the space. But a lawn care centre, a realtor, a cosmetics shop and a shoe store; these are far better off telling the landed visitor what’s new, what rocks and what’s on sale… well before making them scroll down never-ending visuals that often even have little to do with the site.
Bend the template to your needs – don’t let the template bend YOU to fit into it’s slots.
How can you avoid that even if html is not your forté? Easy.
Most Content Management tools, be they Weebly and Site Pad OR WordPress and Joomla, offer all kinds of templates. Think carefully about the one you choose, think about your customer and what you want to happen when they come to your site.
Pick one that lets you easily speak to THAT and speak to it quickly.
Remove elements that get in the way of this message; never fill in elements because they are there. If you can’t get that message out then move to another template.. don’t bend to it because you are tired of trying. This is your business, be diligent.
Header slides are hugely popular and can be VERY helpful. But there are rules to follow here too.
- Make sure it takes up less than half the top real-estate of your home page, if you can’t adjust that, pick a different template.
- That header should tell the visitor something important. A sale, The menu, New products, New policies. Just looking good is not enough in todays competitive online business market.
Your home page is your shot. Don’t miss the opportunity to say who you are and what you offer in trade for a lovely picture or clever metaphor.