A website is your 24/7 global representation! Still, so many individuals and businesses have terrible websites. Today I'd like to offer some rules for your homepage.
These mandatory questions (that your homepage should answer) actually come from business-to-business advice. However, they also apply to personal brands!
Your homepage should answer:
- Who are you?
- What do you do?
- How can I contact you?
Before I break this down, I want to tell you a common mistake to avoid. Don’t have your homepage be just a photo with a menu of tabs!
Give your audience the essentials right up front. Share your latest news, photos, videos, résumé, and contact information all on the homepage!
Why? We’re increasingly mobile consumers. (Google is actually penalizing websites that aren’t mobile-friendly.) As such, design for someone on the go (visiting your website on their mobile device).
I'll now play the role of a busy casting director or CEO. I've Googled you and found your website! I now have three questions swirling inside my head….
1. Who are you?
I’m visiting because I want to meet you! Catch my attention with striking media.
What first impression do you want to make? Design the top of your homepage (above the fold) accordingly. Through additional copy and design choices, be sure to show some personality and/or position yourself for the career you want.
2. What do you do?
I like individuals to show (and not just tell). Share your résumé or offerings through visuals. A photo says a thousand words. A video doesn't lie.
Help me know, like, and trust you by bringing your best media to the homepage. Show me why I should care! Let me see you work (or werk)! I can click to download a PDF résumé or visit an industry website, but you are so much more than your credits.
Give me a reason to return. Let your homepage be dynamic (or constantly updating). Remember to microblog your latest news. This helps Google recognize you’re the No. 1 source for news on you!
Since you're likely equally busy and on the go, consider embedding your latest social media posts. This will keep your homepage instantly up to date.
If you include follow/like/subscribe buttons from these social networks (versus just linked icons), it will help grow fans and followers! Your visitors can subscribe in one click!
3. How can I contact you?
Do not forget the crucial mistake of making it easy to contact you. That’s the reason why you have this online calling card, yes?
If you're a performer, lead with your agent’s contact information. It helps position you as a professional and is part of growing a successful career. Trust that they’re doing their job and will loop you into appropriate emails quickly. Remember: Teamwork makes the dream work!
If you don’t yet have a team, be sure to include your email. I’d prefer a contact form that automates an email to you (versus listing your personal email address with linked text). It implies you have some boundaries due to all the fan mail! Literally, you’re also protecting your personal email address from spammers.
What's your favorite web design platform? Comment below!
Tony Howell is a digital strategist dedicated to helping you design your future—creating offline success from your online presence.