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3 rules for your home page and more…

Posted @ 4:07 pm by Robert Balmaseda | Category: Digital Marketing, Web Development Process | 0 Comments

A friend and mentor, Mike Yapp, often spoke to clients about his three questions (Yapp’s three rules) that any home page must answer. They were:

These questions are the most important goal to accomplish with any home page, as you need to quickly communicate to users about your brand and why should it be relevant to them.

Why the urgency? Well, for any new or uninformed user, they will spend perhaps a total of < 5 seconds reviewing the site depending on where they came from and why they are there. It is important that they understand your brand and what it means to them.

This is part of the Brand and Communications problem that most websites face. They fail to really understand who they are and what they want to communicate to their customers.

The second common challenge on many websites is part of the inherent value of the web and leads us to our next set of three rules: Focus, focus, focus!

Most company websites try to tell all their audience everything that the company wants them to hear. The two challenges inherent here are a lack of priority and not focusing on what the user’s needs are.

For any site — E-commerce, main site, etc. — there are multiple audiences who come to the site. A company needs to prioritize its audiences into a hierarchy and prioritize its messaging and home page real-estate to communicating to them. This has as much to do with messaging as design as user-experience, but the lesson is the same: Focus on the most important users and tell what they need to hear to act on what you want them to act on.

The second challenge here stems from the very nature of the web. A website is available to everyone. However, it doesn’t need to speak to everyone who could possibly come to your site. Common secondary audiences for most company sites are press & analysts as well as job seekers. Both of these types of users are motivated to interact with your site and don’t need precious home-page real estate dedicated to them. They know where to find the news and careers sections (in the About US) of your site with little effort as long as your navigation is clear and you have a site map.

So I would expand these rules to the following:

  1. Clearly explain your Brand and Value proposition through addressing these three questions:
    1. Who are you?
    2. What do you do?
    3. Who do you do it for?
  2. Focus your efforts on your home page on convincing the primary users of your website on what you want them to do.
  3. Prioritize your messaging through clear design and user-experience on clearly communicating to your users what they need to know and how you want them to act.

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