Homepage design best practices that you should know and follow




Hi. My name is Carly and I’m a website judger.

If I’m curious about you, your company or your product I will first go to your website and thoroughly judge it. I will then immediately create (only a slight exaggeration) my opinion based on what I’ve seen. Is this fair? Probably not. Is it reality? M-hmm.

And it’s not just true for me because I work in the industry. It’s the way the world works when it comes to first impressions, and we all know how many of those we get …

(Spoiler alert: You only get one.)

If you do a quick Google search for “what makes a great homepage” you’ll be plunged into a black hole of what seems like the self-help section of a nerdy Barnes & Noble. Here are a few examples of what’s out there:

  • 12 Critical Elements for a Successful Homepage
  • 21 of the Best Homepage Designs
  • 6 Must-Haves for a Great Homepage

It can be overwhelming to figure out who to listen to and what it all means. Chances are, you care about the first impression people have of your organization but either haven’t thought about your online presence or don’t know where to start. Look no further, my blog-reading friend. I’m here to help you sift through the mess.

But first, an important note: This is not a post about what things should look like. Although aesthetics are important and my favorite part of designing, I believe that unless you first address the broader issues below, you’re putting the cart before the horse. Plus, looks are a very subjective aspect of website design and would be better addressed at our consultation. 🙂

Here is my attempt to solve all of your homepage woes in one nifty mnemonic: KEEP IT CLEAN.

C – Clarity

Make it immediately clear who you are and what you offer. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways, but please don’t make your user go to any other page to find out why you exist.

L – Less is More

Have you noticed that the homepages you visit most often are significantly less cluttered than they were in the past? Experts have learned that overloading a page with information doesn’t get a message out there; it creates clutter and chaos.

E – Experiential

Does your homepage have something for your user to click, see or experience? Don’t just talk AT your audience … engage with them. Video can serve as a powerful addition to your homepage. Click here to grab your copy of this awesome (and FREE!) resource our team put together to learn how to use video in your marketing strategy.

A – Audience

Are you sitting down? I have some news for you: Your website is not for you.

Avoid using internal language and recognize that your ideas might not be the winning ideas. Ask people (who don’t work for you) what they think. Yes, I know it’s your business, and you might really love cat memes (I mean, who doesn’t?), but if they will confuse people who visit your site, let them go.

N – Neat

N could have also been for navigation. However, since that’s a web term that not all our readers might be familiar with, “neat” will work just fine. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Can I easily get to where I want to go?
  • How many clicks before someone can contact me?
  • Does my website resemble Times Square? If so, that’s a problem. Your homepage shouldn’t need a map to navigate.

In summary, if you just remember to “Keep it C L E A N” you’ll be ok.

Also, feel free to use that advice in other areas of your life.

Need a homepage refresh or a total website redesign? Vela’s team of designers and programmers can help. Contact us today to get your project started.