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Is your homepage as welcoming as an entrance hall?

Is your homepage as welcoming as an entrance hall?

June 30, 2011 by Fiona Humberstone

Imagine arriving at a stately home or (my favourite) a boutique hotel. You walk in through the front door and instantly feel at ease. The beautiful decor, fresh flowers and welcoming receptionist ready to look after you. You’re welcomed and guided to your room, shown to the bar or the spa. It’s a great start to a wonderful stay.

I always think that a website’s homepage should be just like an entrance hall to a stately home. Warm, welcoming and easy to navigate to where you want to go next.

Some websites give you too many options on the homepage and it becomes overwhelming (imagine the receptionist saying – I can show you to your room, the spa, the bar, the restaurant, the golf club, the tennis courts, the croquet lawn, the beach – you get the picture – you forget what she said at the beginning!).

Other websites leave you standing there – leaving you to find your own way through the “house”. That’s why we’ll almost always use navigational buttons on the homepage to guide people around a site.

Worst of all, imagine after a long drive arriving at the stately home. Rather than asking how you are and showing you what you need to find, the owner shakes you by the hand and starts telling you his life history. Yawn!

Are you with me so far on this analogy? Your homepage isn’t the place to tell people about your business – save that for your about page. Sure – they need to know what you do – they need to be sure they’ve come to the right place. After that, talk to them about their challenges and how you help, you’ll find you get a much better response.

Your homepage should welcome, guide and show visitors on to the meatier parts of your site. A bit like an entrance hall!

Fiona Humberstone is an expert contributor to Marketing Donut and runs her own creative consultancy.

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