This post originally appeared on HubSpot’s Marketing Blog.
You never get a second chance to make a first impression — that’s why your homepage is undoubtedly one of the most important web pages on your website. For any given company, the homepage is its virtual front door. If a new visitor doesn’t like what they see, their knee-jerk reaction is to hit the “back” button. That’s right — unfortunately, a lot of people still judge a book by its cover. What makes a website’s homepage design brilliant instead of blah? Well, it takes more than looks alone — it also has to work well. That’s why the most brilliant homepages on this list don’t just score high in beauty, but also in brains. But before we dive into the 15-real-life examples, let’s dissect some of the best practices of homepage design.
What Makes a Good Website Homepage Design
All of the homepage designs shown here utilize a combination of the following elements. Not every page is perfect, but the best homepage designs get many of these right:
1. Clearly answers “Who I am,” “What I do,” and/or “What can you (the visitor) do here.”
If you’re a well-known brand or company (i.e. Coca Cola) you may be able to get away with not having to describe who you are and what you do; but the reality is, most businesses still need to answer these questions so that each visitor knows they are in the “right place.” Steven Krugg sums it up best in his best-selling book, Don’t Make Me Think: If visitors can’t identify what it is you do within seconds, they won’t stick around long.
2. Resonates with the target audience.
A homepage needs to be narrowly focused — speaking to the right people in their language. The best homepages avoid “corporate gobbledygook,” and eliminate the fluff.
3. Communicates a compelling value proposition.
When a visitor arrives on your homepage, it needs to compel them to stick around. The homepage is the best place to nail your value proposition so that prospects choose to stay on your website and not navigate to your competitors’.
4. Optimizes for multi-device usability.
All the homepages listed here are highly usable, meaning they are easy to navigate and there aren’t “flashy” objects that get in the way of browsings, such as flash banners, animations, pop-ups, or overly-complicated and unnecessary elements. Many of them are also mobile-optimized, which is an incredibly important must-have in today’s mobile world.
5. Includes calls-to-action (CTAs).
Every homepage listed here effectively uses primary and secondary calls-to-action to direct visitors to the next logical step. Examples include “Free Trial,” “Schedule a Demo,” “Buy Now,” or “Learn More.” Remember, the goal of the homepage is to compel visitors to dig deeper into your website and move them further down the funnel. CTAs tell them what to do next so they don’t get overwhelmed or lost. More importantly, CTAs turn your homepage into a sales- or lead-generation engine, and not just brochure-wear.
6. Always changes.
The best homepages aren’t always static. Some of them, like Whitehouse.gov, are constantly changing to reflect the needs, problems, and questions of their visitors. Some homepages also change from A/B testing or dynamic content.
7. Employs great overall design.
A well-designed page is important to building trust, communicating value, and navigating visitors to the next step. As such, these homepages effectively use layout, CTA placement, whitespace, colors, fonts, and other supporting elements.