Your home page is not a dumping ground

I’m writing a shorter post this week as I’ve been hit with some crud that feels like the plague. OK, I’m sure that it’s not the plague. I’m sure that it’s just a cold. But still… it feels “plague-y” to me…

I’ve been doing a lot of surfing while I’ve been stuck on the couch – and I’ve noticed a lot of sites making the same mistake. Instead of their home page providing an excellent introduction to the company’s product or service, it serves as a content dumping ground. There is so much non-essential “stuff” screaming at the reader that the back button seems like a safe haven.

Of course, it’s not good to turn folks off on any page – but there’s something about sending people away from your home page that seems especially bad. So, for your enjoyment, here are five things that should never be dumped on your home page:

  • A honkin’ big keyphrase list below the fold.  I understand that you want your home page to be relevant for 100 different, high-traffic keyphrases. But guess what – it isn’t going to happen. And no, listing all 100 of your main keyphrases in the footer isn’t a smart way to trick Google. Unless you can time travel back to when that (spammy) technique may have worked…for a while, anyway.
  • Your mission statement. Guess what? Your prospects don’t give a hoot about your mission statement. What they want to know is what’s in it for them. Save your mission statement (assuming you really, really have to have one) for your “about us” section.
  • A list of 100 of your “most popular” products. Talk about information overload. Customers won’t buy just because you add the words “most popular” before a long list of products. Yes, it’s OK to include a “most popular” list on your home page. Just narrow it down to five or so – don’t include everything you have.
  • Detailed information about your services. Sure, use the home page to give folks a “taste” of your services. But don’t list every service you have and expect folks to read it (and respond.) There’s a better place for that information. It’s called a “services page.” I highly recommend it.
  • Long, scrolling text. News flash: I don’t want to read your 1,500 word home page. If you checked your analytics, I would guess that your prospects feel the same way. Good copywriting means writing tight, not waxing poetic just because you can. If your home page takes too much time to read, slide it down by 75%. Really. Your page will be much, much better for it.

Photo gratitude goes to: Alan Stanton