As web designers, we also know that it takes only about 50 milliseconds for users to form an opinion about your website, which ultimately determines whether they’ll keep perusing your site or leave.
So, to help, we’ve compiled 6 key elements to crafting a positive first impression for your website. Read on to learn more.
6 Things for Great First Impressions on Your Homepage:
A strong first impression is everything. Use these 6 tips to draw your visitors in right from the start.
1. Have a Clean and Clear Logo
It is so important to have a clear and clean logo, one that makes your business appear professional and leaves a lasting impression in the minds of both prospective and current clients. A blurry or boring image can set the tone for the rest of your site. So, make sure you use a strong image for your logo – something that stands out and helps visitors remember your firm.
Golden Pine Advisory is a fee-only financial firm based in Pinehurst, North Carolina. They wanted a logo that used the pine tree to capture the essence of Golden Pine and help the firm stand out, and we feel that they did just that. With strong, brand-related colors contrasted by a white background, the Golden Pine logo speaks for itself!
When designing a logo for your financial planning firm, consider elements like color, size, font, and the industry. How can these elements work together to convey your brand’s message? What makes your business unique? How will you stand out from the competition? What do you want people to remember about your firm? Some factors to remember are:
- Less is more
- Your logo needs to encompass your brand identity
- It needs to adapt over time
If you can keep these in mind when designing your logo and keep it clean and clear, then you are on the right track to making it memorable!
2. Provide a Succinct Main Navigation
Studies show that a website’s navigation is among the first and most frequently viewed areas. It is important that your visitors don’t have to search too much for the information that they are looking for, so keep it simple to find. Visitors are busy enough as it is! If your navigation makes it difficult to explore your site, then your visitor will more than likely leave for a competitor with simpler navigation.
One way to know that your navigation is “off” is if you are receiving a lot of questions about your website. This shows that prospects aren’t able to easily find the information they need.
Keep in mind that good navigation isn’t just about having an easy-to-use menu. It’s also about creating a positive user experience between pages, designing“paths” to lead visitors to important information on your product and services.
3. Display an Intriguing Hero Image
Studies show that visually appealing stimuli are an important tool for getting people to stay longer on a site, and therefore converting more visitors into customers.
For example, Twenty Over Ten client, Fisher and Wiens Wealth Management, out of Danville, CA has a beautiful hero image. It draws visitors in by contrasting smaller hero text with a vast hero image, providing a sense of ease while also setting the stage for what’s to come in retirement.
A hero/main image is often the first thing that visitors see when they visit your advisor site, so obviously you want it to be a strong one! Some very important things to keep in mind when designing your image are:
- Capturing a visitor’s attention
- Remember that a high-resolution image will entice visitors to keep exploring your site
- Good design will influence a visitor’s opinion
- A strong hero image can keep visitors interested and establish trust
You can also include calls to action on your hero image, which is another great way to entice visitors to take the next step. Also, some themes that you can use for your image include the backdrop of a city where you are located, something around the theme of your business, real images of pictures of your team, etc. Be sure to avoid stock photos, as it’s important to use things that bring about genuine and relatable feelings.
4. Include Niche Content “Above the Fold”
“Above the Fold,” is an important term to remember as it generally refers to the portion of the website where a visitor can view things without any further scrolling or clicking. Since you have a very limited amount of time to draw in your audience, it’s very important that you include pertinent information in this section of your homepage.
When you are catering to a specific niche, you can establish yourself as an expert in a particular field. Since this group is smaller, you have a fantastic opportunity to become an expert much faster, resulting in escalated visibility for your firm. For example, if your firm caters to women, then make this known right from the start. When a potential client lands on your homepage, they want to immediately know that they are on a website that specializes in helping women plan for their future and organize their finances.
5. Include Clear and Effective Calls-To-Action
If you have a call to action on your homepage, then your visitors will immediately see the next step they need to take. If your homepage doesn’t have one, then it is missing a very important step when it comes to converting visitors. What is a call to action? Well, it’s a text or a graphic strategically placed on a website to entice visitors to take a proactive step in engaging with your business.
Twenty Over Ten client, Sanders Coffee Group, out of Eugene, Oregon, has a beautiful website. This includes their call to actions that stand out, yet still, match the color scheme of the website. They entice you with the phrase, “Get The Solutions You Need To Succeed,” because it creates a sense of having something that the visitors want!
It should consist of a short phrase that creates a sense of urgency. An example that you could have on your homepage would be as simple as a “schedule a meeting” button or a CTA to tell people to visit your newsletter or download a white paper. What are some good practices for when it comes to creating a strong CTA? They should :
- Be straightforward
- Show the user how they will benefit from clicking
- Be visually eye-catching that compels the visitor to take action
- Be placed in an easy-to-find location
- Use action-oriented verbs
- Be large enough without being distracting
Having this on your website is such a great start to the process of driving visitors right off the bat, so be sure to include them on your homepage.
6. Write Strong Headlines
There are 6 different heading HTML tags: <h1>, <h2>, <h3>, etc. The h1 tag is considered the most important tag in a search engine’s ranking, and it appears as the largest heading on web pages.
Your h1 tag should describe what the page or blog post is about. It gives the reader a sense of what they are going to be reading on the page, so be sure it’s a good one! This helps both the visitor, as well as search engines.
5 Websites With Awesome Homepage Designs:
Now that you know what we consider an awesome homepage design, check out these 5 websites below for some awesome examples!
Engaging Women in Wealth, based out of Rancho Santa Fe, CA, and San Diego, CA has a great homepage. What makes it so awesome?
- There is a clear call to action above the fold, which contrasts with the logo to make it stand out.
- The headline and sub-head appeal directly to their target niche of women and also appeal to their visitors’ emotional side.
- The hero image is very customer-centric.
In the below image, you can very quickly tell what niche that Engaging Women in Wealth appeals to with “Fiduciary Wealth Management for Women” making it quite obvious, along with the image of a woman in the hero image.
This is evident on their homepage, with the hero image of a woman smiling and a caption underneath reading, “Invest like a woman.” Additionally, we love the tag in the hero image with a simple yet effective call to action underneath it. It motivates the visitor to start working with them with the line, “The best time to invest? Yesterday.”
Wells Financial Advisors, out of Framingham, MA, has an awesome homepage. What do we like about it so much? Check out some of the reasons below!
- The imagery reinforces their target audience and message, as it is a couple relaxing enjoying the money that they have saved before their retirement.
- There is only one call to action, which makes it much easier and straightforward. The user isn’t fiddling around to decide what they should click. Because of this, it makes for very succinct navigation.
- The headline is playful in a way and intriguing, with the slogan, “The dirty little secret no one tells you about retirement…Free Time Costs Money.” This lays out an honest description of retirement planning but also does it in a “fun” way so it’s not too intimidating.
When you hit all of the tips that make for a strong homepage, that’s what you know you are really nailing your website design!
4. WEALTHKEEL, LLC:
Their website is anchored by the new logo, which depicts a sailboat where the keel of the boat also makes up part of the “K” in the font. The white boat and the lettering contrast nicely against the dark blue background.
You know that video is extremely important when it comes to your digital marketing plan, so we love that this homepage has a video right off the bat! It is a great way to fit a lot of information into a shorter clip and tell your audience what they want to know from the start!
Also, they have strong call-to-actions, such as “Start Delegating Your Financial To-Do List.” It intrigues the reader and shows them that they can start organizing and checking things off of their list to become more in control of their finances.
Located in beautiful, Golden, Colorado, Green Mountain Planning specializes in workers in the oil and gas industry. Their homepage has a strong hero image which includes a family walking hand in hand. Using something like this can really “pull at the heartstrings,” and make visitors feel emotional ties to the website from the start.
In the headline, you can see that they are fee-only, and in a subheading, it says they specialize in working with people in the oil and gas industry. You can find this all out on the first page.
Your homepage is integral to your site’s first impression. By implementing the elements above, you’ll be able to set the tone of your site and provide expectations for future visitors. We hope this helped with your homepage set-up!
Note: This post was originally published May 31st, 2019, and has been updated to ensure consistency.
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About the author
Blair is a social media strategist at FMG Suite and Twenty Over Ten and has a passion for uncovering what drives online traffic and the highest engagement. She follows more animals on Instagram than humans and her greatest achievement is her daughter, Grey.