Does Your Home Page Work?

Home Page Useability

I was reviewing an IT software company’s website home page and saw quickly that they were doing things right and wrong at the same time.

When a prospect comes to your homepage three things have to happen in less than 10 seconds. They have to realize quickly that they’re on the right website. They have to get a sense that there’s something of value for them there. And they have to know what to do next.

That means that first your brand has to be clearly recognizable. In this case, the company’s name, logo, and selling sentence or tagline under the logo were the first items you see when you come to the home page. I knew right away I was in the right place. So, they met the first hurdle with flying colors.

Next, my eye went from the brand information directly to a value proposition statement. The statement told me quickly that this product could meet a need that I have. That means that I saw right away that there was value to me in continuing to read the home page. So the website quickly lifted me over the second hurdle.

From the value proposition, I was quickly drawn to the button that said “Download trial version of software.” Whoa! In a sense, the website was doing something right – it made it extremely clear what to do next. But I felt like I was on a first date and the first words out of my date’s mouth were “Hi, would you like to get engaged?” I tripped on the third hurdle and fell on my face.

So, what should have been done? I needed time to learn to trust the company. I needed to learn a lot more about how the firm’s software has been used to solve the problems I face. What I needed next was some information that showed the company understood my needs—maybe a white paper, or a video, or research, or a case study. I needed some nurturing (and content marketing is one of the best strategies I know of for nurturing leads). Like most people I’m really busy, so I’m not about to download trial software and spend time setting it up and playing with it without knowing (and feeling) beforehand that this product is a likely fit. Just like my date metaphor, I needed more dates before I was about to commit to serious time and effort.

Bottom line, don’t try to rush your sale, you’ll just chase your prospects away (same goes for personal relationships).

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  • Hendrik-Jan Francke

    I agree, don’t rush the sale. That said, I would like to see a visual. I have been to fair number of software and SAS sites that very very quickly offer to download or sign up. But I wouldn’t say they are too in my face about it, more letting me know the option is there when I am ready. Most of the time it hasn’t bothered me.