Are you just starting a business? Perhaps you’re updating your online assets? Whichever the case, it should come as no surprise that your homepage design is going to have a significant impact on how well your brand does.
Fortunately, creating a beautiful website isn’t that difficult of a feat these days. With easy-to-use platforms and a variety of attractive themes to pick from, you can have a well-designed website without it having to cost an arm and a leg.
But what should you choose? And does style really matter in the grand scheme of things, or is it just an aesthetic detail with no real impact on success or conversions?
Why Design Matters
Anyone who tells you that web design is nothing but a visual choice that has no real impact on your success is simply wrong. Scientific research done in the past two decades shows that website aesthetics influence not only conversions but brand credibility as well. And it’s not very hard to see why.
When visitors land on your homepage, they inevitably form a first impression of your brand. Your choice of color schemes, typography, visuals (your choice of graphics and illustrations), and messaging all impact the way they’ll start to think about your business.
If they like what they see, they’re likely to consider investing in your products or services. If they don’t? Well, in that case, they’re most likely to turn to your competition. According to The Gomez Report on Why Web Performance Matters, 88% of internet users won’t return to a website after a negative experience, and half will go on to associate a poor impression with the quality of your brand.
From this data alone, it becomes clear that choosing a homepage design is vital for making it in today’s competitive market.
But how do you make a decision that will fit your business?
Well, it turns out, it’s not that difficult. All you have to do is go back to your branding strategy.
The Visual Aspects of Homepage Design
When deciding on a theme (or creating a homepage design from scratch), you want to go with aesthetic choices that are going to support and strengthen your brand.
Start by going back to the visual elements of your branding. What type of logo do you have? What effect do you want to achieve with your potential customers?
Just by considering these two things, you’ll already have a clear idea of what type of homepage design will fit your business.
Once you’ve got a name and logo, you’ll want to choose a color palette you’ll use to represent your company online and offline. You can look into color psychology and study the various effects certain hues have on customers, but the main concern should be that you create a cohesive unit.
When thinking about color options, make sure that each of your picks compliments the other. Your color palette should allow your logo, copy, and visual elements to stand out. Moreover, it should send a message about your company and what it stands for.
As an example, you can take a look at the homepage design of DC Dalgliesh. The tartan mill from Scotland has an elegant, almost understated website that uses a palette of neutral colors. This choice serves two functions. Firstly, it positions the company as one which creates elegant and luxurious items. Secondly, it allows the visual elements, namely the images of the tartans, to stand out and grab the users’ attention.
Another element of your homepage design is going to be the font you decide to go with.
Most design guides will suggest the use of large, bold fonts, but you don’t have to go with the standard. Instead, try to choose typography that will represent your brand in the best possible way.
Taking a look at the homepage of British brand Beara Beara, you’ll see that their choice of typography was to go with an elegant cursive font that would suggest that the items they’re selling are handcrafted and unique.
Of course, don’t make the mistake of picking typography just because it’s aesthetically pleasing.
More than anything else, make sure that what you choose is readable, offers the right amount of contrast, and is the right size to draw attention to the conversion-boosting elements on your homepage.
The past few years saw the rise of minimalistic websites, and many designers today feel like simplicity is the absolute only way to go. But, rather than thinking about trends, you should look at the needs of your brand.
What is it that you offer? What elements do you want to highlight on your homepage?
If, however, you’ve got an ecommerce business, you’ll more likely need to display your products and direct your users to browse your shop.
Or, perhaps, you run a blog, and you want it to look like more of a digital magazine?
Whichever the case, remember that a website is only as good as it’s usable. So, make sure that the visual choices you make serve a purpose and allow visitors to quickly find what they’re after, without causing unnecessary stress or frustration.
The UX-First Approach
Before you start making decisions about homepage design, there’s one last thing you need to consider: user experience.
As the primary driver of not just conversions but also trust and loyalty, UX is going to be the most valuable element of your website. If it’s great, your potential buyers will see your brand as a reliable resource worthy of their attention. If it’s poor… Well, in that case, they’re most likely to turn to your competition.
There are several ways to boost UX on your homepage, even with design elements.
Navigation menus, for example, are going to help your visitors find what they’re after. When it comes to your homepage, you can use it like a table of contents, the way The Adventure Junkies did it. Or, you can go with more traditional menus and rely on what users have already become accustomed to on other websites.
You’ll also want to pay close attention to loading speeds and responsiveness. As mobile web traffic accounted for 48% of total web traffic, this is going to be essential for giving your clients a pleasant browsing experience.
Furthermore, don’t forget about transparency and support. Trust elements, on-page support, and detailed company information all contribute to website visitors gaining a positive first impression. And you can achieve that kind of effect with a few design considerations.
As you can guess, there are millions of design directions in which you can take your website. But only one of those will be the right choice for your brand. So, when making this important decision, think about the values and ideas that make your company what it is. Then, try to find a template that allows those values and ideas to stand out.
Of course, there’s no need to worry about not getting things 100% right from the start. There are numerous ways to improve your homepage design. You can conduct A/B and split testing and see how each change impacts your conversions.
Don’t be afraid to experiment or even go against popular best practices. You’ll see that the best approach will always be the one that looks and feels right. After all, no one knows your company as well as you do.