First Impressions Count: Grabbing Attention with Your Website’s Front Page

Published April 7th, 2014 by Michael Farin

When you meet someone at a party, you shake their hand and size them up. If you get a good first impression, you’ll strike up a conversation and maybe become friends. But if you instantly get a bad vibe, you’ll probably excuse yourself and go talk to someone else.

It’s the same way with your website. Your homepage is your introduction to the world of the Internet. It’s the way you smile and extend your hand to all those people you hope will buy your products. Will they like you? Or will they say “Eh, I’ll pass” and head over to some other site?

It all depends on that first impression.

Here are a few tips that will help you solidify your brand impression and build a great, attention-grabbing front page that draws customers in to your site.

Put contact information out in the open. After previous negative experiences, many customers are scared that they’ll get scammed, ripped off or otherwise mistreated. When you put your contact info front and center, they fell subconsciously reassured that they can contact you – and get help – if they have a problem.

Grab attention with relevant visuals. We’ve officially moved past the age of text, as most web users now prefer colorful images and brief soundbites to long chunks of copy. So give them what they want – attractive photos and graphics that appeal to the eye and draw the visitor in. But they have to be relevant images that advance the purpose of your site. Cute kitties on an industrial tooling homepage? Not so much.

Put all the basics on the front page. Once upon a time, your front page was a portal to lots of other information stored on internal site pages. Today’s readers don’t have the patience to click through multiple links and menu bars. Distill your basic product stats, specifications, demo videos and testimonials into bite-size, appealing bits, and host them all on your homepage. (Making it look streamlined instead of cluttered? Ah, that’s the fun part.)

Organize your homepage in a streamlined, intuitive way. Don’t panic! There are lots of clean, appealing ways to organize content without confusing your viewers. You might want to go with the concept of “hero areas” – at first glance, the browser is filled with a single, meaningful graphic and tagline. BOOM – instant impact. After absorbing that content, the visitor can then scroll further down the page to see more content organized in other areas. (Graphically, it’s kind of like lasagna with thick layers.)

Or you can organize content vertically, in up-and-down stripes that span the page. (Contrasting colors help.) The key is organizing your site in a visual way that helps your customer instantly, intuitively understand what’s being presented.

In the end, it’s really like getting dressed for a party. You want to make a great impression? Put in some time and effort on the front end, and then head out the door, prepared to dazzle.

It’s so worth it.

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