Your homepage is the gateway to your website. It greets users with pretty images and/or videos, calls-to-action, information, and a path for your readers to get where they want to go within two clicks.
Or is it?
Like it or not, visitors will judge YOU and your business overall by the look of your homepage. And they’re making this judgement quickly, about 10 seconds according to NN Group. We would venture to say it’s even faster than that. Who you are and what you do needs to be apparent the moment a visitor lands on your page and a clear call-to-action will guide visitors on what to do next. If a visitor is overwhelmed by choices, bad images, a lack of information, or too much information, they will leave quickly.
The good news is you have the tools to improve your homepage SEO and user experience. The result will be an ever-increasing community of followers and conversion rates.
So, how do you know if it needs improvement? With a combination of user feedback, searching, and simple analytics data, you’ll be able to tell if your homepage needs some love.
Are your customers saying it’s outdated?
Ask a customer or friend to evaluate your homepage. You want someone who will be brutally honest. Their experience with websites doesn’t matter as most of your customers probably don’t know the ins and outs of technical web design.
But, they don’t have to be an expert to notice if your site loads slow or if images are too small. They can tell you if your page is outdated, hard to navigate, or too busy. Chances are if one customer thinks your site needs improvement, there are more like him. Consider that 46.1% of people say a website’s design is the number one criterion for discerning the credibility of the company. Yikes!
Does your business appear on the first page of search results?
Do you come up on the top page? If you are a local lawn service, for example, search your business name and include your location. If you are doing SEO the right way, you should be on the first page for your location. However, a couple of of things could make this untrue. 1.) If the market is flooded with many companies that do what you do, it will be tough to rank on the first page and 2.) If your competition is paying to rank, and you are not. The little green “Ad” next to the top results means they are paying to rank for certain keywords. They could even be targeting your business name to steal customers who are looking for you…tricky, but this does happen.
If you don’t see your business, it’s time to review your homepage SEO tactics and work towards getting on the first page.
What do analytics say?
Check analytics to see if your homepage is effective. Websites have a short amount of time to capture the user’s attention before they “bounce” or choose to stay a while to learn more. Google describes bounce rate as the percentage of single interactions on a website or single page.
Bounce example 1: Let’s say you’re in the business of commercial roofing in Montgomery, AL. A user searches “roofing company Montgomery.” They see you in the search results and click to your site. But they realize you are a commercial roofing company, and they need a company that does residential work. So they leave. That’s a bounce.
Bounce example 2: Let’s say you’re in the wedding cake business in Dallas, TX. An excited bride searches “wedding cakes Dallas,” and you come up in the search results. YAY! She clicks to your site, and she’s immediately bombarded with a video with audio that automatically plays. Since she’s searching at work, she clicks the back button quickly! That’s a bounce.
Bounce example 3: Let’s say you own a bar in Miami, FL. A college student out in California tries to look up a new bar that just opened in his area, but confuses the name. He ends up on your website, but quickly leaves because that was not where he wanted to go. That’s a bounce.
Examples one and three show that sometimes bounces aren’t your fault. However, number two is correctable. Auto-play videos are annoying and could very well cost you thousands of dollars in lost revenue because customers are clicking away. It’s good business sense to analyze the numbers and make improvements regularly.
What is the bounce rate on your homepage supposed to be? A solid bounce rate is….it depends. Yes, it truly depends on the type of business you have. It’s natural to have about half of your visitors bounce for one reason or another (like the examples above). Blogs, news, and events sites typically have the highest bounce rates, while e-commerce sites have the lowest. According to RocketFuel, if you average between 40 to 55 percent, you’re great. Anything from 56 to 69 percent is still considered to be good, and anything over 70 percent needs attention. If your homepage bounce rate is over 70 percent, take a closer look at SEO, and do what you can to improve this number.
Let’s talk about pageviews. This number will vary greatly depending on the average traffic your website garners. The numbers you need to compare are the number of sessions compared to the number of pageviews for the same time period. By dividing pageviews by sessions, you’ll see if users are clicking around your site, discovering your content and gaining valuable information. If they are not clicking past the homepage, it’s a sign that they don’t know where to go or not finding the information they need therefore exiting your site.
Tip: Time on page data will tell you about audience engagement. Hopefully, they are taking time to digest what your are serving up and will come back for more!
Hopefully, you’ve checked your homepage and come out on the “my homepage is doing awesome” side. But if not, you’re in luck. At Big City Marketing, we’re SEO experts as well as killer web designers. When the two work together, you’ll see increases in traffic over time. Contact Jeremy at Big City Marketing if your homepage needs an SEO boost!