Before social media and SEO, the home page was all about words.
Content, we called it, and content was king.
The home page with the best words won.
At least they did for a few brief years in the 90s, before keyword stuffing, monetization strategies, content management systems, personalization, cookies, bots, influencers, viral videos, tweet storms and other forms of digital manipulation embraced by late-stage capitalism.
Every once in a while, however, I’m reminded that web sites are about words. Without them, your web site is an empty shell.
Create a Home Page That Gets You Clients
Marylyn King presented on the power of words at the October WordPress DC Meetup on creating a home page that gets you clients.
She made the point that effective web sites clearly spell out their offer. Ask for what you want!
It’s a novel concept that’s been lost as so many home pages are soaked in indecipherable jargon. If you’re in the IT field, it’s buzzwords about the cloud. Government agencies decorate their pages with undefined acronyms. Nonprofits do everything but describe what they do.
No one wants to say, “I sell widgets.” Instead, they claim, “We’re a next generation industrial enterprise bringing lifestyle solutions embraced by the marketplace.”
But if you want your customer to buy something or donate money or sign-up for the newsletter, ask them! Make it clear, direct and bold.
Home Page Elements
Marylyn explained how to write the copy for an effective home page:
- Call to Action
You describe the problem – I want toast.
You give the solution – here is a toaster.
You mention your authority – 99% of Amazon shoppers gave this toaster five stars.
And then the call to action: buy the toaster!
The silly examples are mine but your home page does not need to be complicated and should not be complicated. You’re dealing with a fickle consumer who will click away from your site within seconds.
So, tell them what you offer immediately. Don’t make them figure it out. Don’t make them think.
Content management systems may change. Web design fads differ from year to year.
But the power of words is a constant. Invest in them to deliver returns.