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How to grab attention with your website homepage

One of the most important reasons websites underperform is that they simply don’t grab the attention of their visitors.  

Let’s say your garden lately is looking a bit shabby, but you never find the time to pick up the shears and have at it. So you finally make the decision to call on the help of a gardener.

First stop? Probably Google.  

After a quick search you land on the following website:

You can’t quickly grasp if this is indeed a gardening business, if they solve your specific issue or how to get in touch or learn more about them.

Ugh. Frustrating! 

A split second later you’re back on the Google search results page looking for the next website to check out.  

Sounds relatable?  

This example demonstrates that most website visitors are an impatient bunch. In fact, in our previous blog post, we mentioned that there is research showing an average website visitor will make up their mind in 0,05s (50ms!) if a business is worth their while.

So what does that mean for you? If your website doesn’t grab attention, fast, say goodbye to your potential customer.

1. Answer the what, why, and action.

“Alright sounds reasonable, but how can I optimise my website to draw in visitors?” I hear you screaming from the top of your lungs.

Say you’re at a networking event and someone walks up to you. Are you just going to start answering all the potential questions this person might have? No. That would be hectic (and quite frankly, rude).

You wait for him or her to simply go “hey, my name is X, what’s yours, and what do you do?”. It’s only after you have given your first introduction, that he or she can dig deeper to really get to know you and your business.

That’s exactly how a website works. When a visitor lands on your website, they simply want an easy, clean, and concise introduction to your business. After that is out of the way and they like the way that sounds, they can go dig deeper into your website to find an answer to other questions they might have.

So how do you give them that easy to digest introduction? By answering these three simple questions:

  1. What does your business offer? 
  2. Why should the visitor care? 
  3. What action can the visitor take?

By answering these three you are basically introducing your business and allowing the visitor to quickly grasp if this is indeed what he or she is looking for. 

Let’s take the earlier example of the person looking for a gardener. Say that gardening business did have a great website with the following header:

The visitor now immediately upon landing on this website knows:

  1. That this business both maintains and creates gardens (what).
  2. That they’ll make sure you can enjoy your garden without the hassle (why).
  3. That you can start by requesting a free quote or get in touch with them (action).

Now that’s a pleasant introduction. Clear, concise and little to no effort required from your visitor.

By giving a simple reassurance straight of the batt by answering the what, why and action, you’ll minimise frustrating your visitor. If this visitor is indeed looking for a product or service offered by your company, you’ll have reeled them in and gotten their attention.

Jackpot.

Now you might be left wondering: “this all sounds rather straightforward” and I’ll be the first to admit that this isn’t rocket science. But you’ll be amazed at how few businesses actually make these three questions immediately clear on their website.

By now I hope you’ve realised the power of answering the what, why and action immediately. The only thing left to do? Implement it!

2. So, how do I implement this on my own website?

Step 1. Answering

The first thing you’ll need to do is (obviously) answer these three questions for your business: 

  1. What does your business offer?
  2. Why should they care?
  3. What action do you want them to take?

To help you on your way you can download a template here and take a look at the examples later on in this post.

The what

This is probably the easiest question to answer for any business owner. What is it that you do? What products or services do you offer?

However, don’t underestimate the difficulty of answering this question in a clear and concise manner. You really need to dig deep and get to the essence. Ask every business owner what they do, and they’ll probably talk for 5 minutes straight. But if you ask them to boil it down to 1 sentence, things get inevitably awkward.

So get as creative with it as you please, but do make sure that it is a maximum of 1 sentence and that an outsider understands what your business is all about without any extra explanation.

The why

Even if you’ve made it extremely clear what it is that you offer, you’ll still have to tell your visitors why they should care.

No customer ever heard what a business does and think “WOW, that’s what I always needed!”. You shouldn’t assume he or she knows why your product or service is important to them. So help them to imagine why your product or service is useful to them by explicitly telling them. 

What’s in it for them? Why should they care?

The action

Now they know what you do and what’s in it for them, but as the cherry on the cake, you’re now also going to tell them what they can do to kick things off. Because at the end of the day, you’d want your visitor to take a specific action that is beneficial to your business, right?

So, what action do you want your visitor to take? Do you want them to get in touch with you, request a quote, book an appointment, download an e-book…?

People won’t take action unless you hand it to them on a silver plate. That’s why you’ll have to summarise the action you want them to take in a word or a short sentence that can easily be used on your website via a link or button.

Here are some examples to get you started:

  • “Get in touch”
  • “Call us today”
  • “Book a free call”
  • “Book an appointment”
  • “Download our e-book”
  • “Request a free proposal”

Step 2. Review

You’ve answered all three questions and you’re on top of the world. But you’re not out of the woods yet. It’s review time.

You are an expert in what you do. You live and breathe your business day in day out. This has a downside. You’ll begin to think that everyone else has the same knowledge as you. That can be a problem because you want these questions answered as simple and as clear as possible.

The solution? Ask outsiders (family, friends, loved ones, strangers even) to review the answers you’ve written down by asking them the following question:

“After reading this, do you understand what my business offers, why this is important to a customer and what I would like them to do?”

Take every piece of valid feedback to heart and if necessary, go back to the drawing board and rewrite your answers. Nothing beats constructive criticism. I promise you, you’ll benefit from it.

Step 3. Implement

Finally, implement the answers to these three questions inside the header area of your homepage. This is the first page of your website in the area just below the navigation. Why here? This is the first thing any visitor will see.

A type of layout can use in your website’s homepage header to clearly answer the what, why, and action.

Make sure that the text is clearly readable (the contrast between the background and the text) and that the action is clearly distinguishable from other text by giving it another color, button style or some other visual style.

That’s it. You did it champ!

High Five Dog GIF

3. Examples

Want to check if you’re on the right track? Here are some examples of businesses clearly answering the what, why and action on their websites.

Netflix

Screenshot of Netflix.com
  • What? Unlimited films, TV, programmes and more.
  • Why? Watch anywhere without limitations and long term commitments.
  • Action? Get started (create an account) or sign in.

Uber

Screenshot of Uber.com
  • What? Become a driver and earn money.
  • Why? It’s the largest platform.
  • Action? Sign up or learn more.

Takeaway

Screenshot of Takeaway.com
  • What? Order food.
  • Why? Order food online easily (implicit).
  • Action? Show (Show restaurants in my area).

Proxy

Screenshot of Proxy.com
  • What? A touchless workplace.
  • Why? Eliminate germ-spreading.
  • Action? Get a quote or Go Touchless (more info).

4. Wrapping it up: how to grab the attention of your website visitors?

Most website visitors are impatient. Especially if they are looking for something specific. If they land on your website and they can’t quickly grasp what your business does, why it matters to them and what action they can take, you’ll probably lose out on a potential customer.

So, how do you grab their attention? By answering three key questions in the header of your homepage:

  1. What does your business offer?
  2. Why should they care?
  3. What action do you want them to take?

If those questions are answered straight off the bat, you will have clearly introduced your business and allowed your visitor to quickly decide wether or not your website is a good fit without any frustration. And that in turn can make the difference between a potential customer or someone who leaves your website and never looks back.

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