Have you ever spent hours scouring the internet, looking for the best restaurant? Has any place ever looked great in theory, but once you clicked on their website, you automatically returned to your search?
While the company was successful in getting you to click on a link to their site, something about their homepage turned you off from committing to their product or service.
As a tour or activity operator, you are probably relying more and more on online sales. Here are some ways to ensure that you never lose a sale due to an inferior homepage:
Content is the heart and soul of your homepage — it needs to be clear and concise while addressing the needs of the viewers. There should be a headline that addresses exactly what your company does. The text should be calculated and worded in a manner that speaks to them, not to you. This means that you should ensure that your call-to-actions are meaningful when read out of context.
In addition to text, it is vital that you include relevant imagery throughout your homepage. The images should tell a story; they should help the viewer envision themselves on the tour. Not only should the content of the images be relevant to your audience, they should also be visually striking without slowing down the speed of your site. How can you do this? Try to include professional and clear images that are under 5MB in size.
Regardless of if you have great, SEO-rich content, if your design is lacking — your homepage will be passed over before the user even reaches a call-to-action.
The key to spatial relationships is consistency amongst similar elements. There should be a uniform amount of space between links, lines in a paragraph and the amount of space wrapped around images. Correctly utilizing space is also an excellent way of ushering users to a focal point — ‘highlighting’ a text or image with space will automatically make the item appear larger and more important.
The color scheme should resonate with the brand’s voice — it should help create a desired response or feeling from the viewer while falling in line with every visual element on your page. Also, generally speaking, focus on using less hues and more shades to create the desired visual effect.
The most important aspect of font is its readability. If you can’t clearly read the font, don’t use it. While most fonts are readable in large titles, readability is a very important factor in body paragraphs. One way to easily gauge the readability of smaller texts is to change the font size to 10 — if you can still clearly see what it says, then you have chosen a readable font. Another important factor regarding fonts is making sure that fonts are paired well together (put them side-by-side and see how they look next to each other) and ensure that you keep it to a maximum of three different kinds of font styles.
Having a well designed homepage built by a company who understands that not just aesthetics, but usability is key.
Usability starts with how a viewer engages with the homepage: are they viewing it on a computer or mobile? Ensure that they receive a seamless experience using any kind of platform — and not only should they be able to see the website accurately, but they should be able to see it quickly. The loading speed of your site will make viewing your page a more enjoyable experience for your users, and it will also have a positive effect on your Google Pagespeed Score — which will in turn put a great big smile on Google’s face.
Now that the the viewer is on your homepage, how easily can they navigate through it? The navigational bar should be easy to find with a limited amount of information (aim at five to seven menu items). It should be listed on the top, as our eyes naturally go to the top of objects and users should find the navigational menu without scrolling down. If you have incorporated features such as parallax scrolling on your homepage, make sure to add directional arrows.
For more information about optimizing usability, check out Mashable’s article.
It’s unrealistic to expect an average viewer to buy into your tour without someone vouching for you. Start by providing your viewers with some testimonials from real people, ensuring that you include a name and picture alongside the statement. Also, make sure that the testimonials aren’t generic. Instead of focusing on features of your tour, the testimonials should focus on your service’s unique selling points. Or, if you’re highly ranked by customers, why not embed your TripAdvisor widget on your homepage?
While designing a site for Escapegoat, another client of Rezdy, we made sure to clearly display their TripAdvisor ranking; a decision that will automatically put any of their potential customers at ease.
What kinds of things won’t put your viewers at ease? Difficulty finding your contact details, for one. If someone has trouble finding your information, they most likely won’t take the time to hunt you down to book your tour. Another big turn off? Sloppy content. It might sound obvious, but all too often companies forgo going over their homepage’s content with a fine-toothed comb. If your homepage’s copy is riddled with errors or you present unprofessional or incongruent imagery, your viewers will probably believe they will receive a similarly sloppy tour experience.
Even though you might have a stunning website decked out with great content, there’s a chance that you aren’t soaring up the scales on Google Analytics. If that’s the case, go back to what every teacher you’ve ever had has told you — practice makes perfect.
A good way to test the efficacy of your content is through something called the A/B Test. The concept is easy: you have two live versions of your homepage. The ‘A’ homepage is what you are currently using, and the ‘B’ homepage is varied according to whatever you are testing, such as email signups or copy. Visitors are equally funneled to the two different versions of your website and, based on their actions, you can easily see which version is more effective.
Now your homepage is well on its way to looking as sharp and sleek as your tour is (and you are)!