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The 11-Part Website Homepage Formula

10 Minute Read

Looking for free website templates?

You’re in the right place.

Below you’ll find the 11-part website homepage formula.

When a visitor lands on your website, it only takes a fraction of a second for a first impression to form in their mind.

How fast?

About 0.05 seconds.1

What kind of first impression is your business making?

Let’s be honest, most websites would fail the first impression test.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Because making great first impressions online doesn’t need to be difficult.

To make a point, it doesn’t even need to be expensive. Or original!

And it all starts with the homepage of your website.

Keep reading.

 

#1 – Logo

website homepage logo free template

In a study conducted by Missouri S&T, participants were shown twenty-five different websites.2 Using eye-tracking software and an infrared camera, the researchers monitored the eye movement of the participants as they scanned through the web pages.

Here’s what they found…

Participants in the study spent about 2.6 seconds scanning a website before focusing on any particular section.

But once the initial scan of the webpage was complete, the section of the website that drew the most interest and attention from participants on average was:

The logo.

Users spent about 6.48 seconds focused on the logo area of a webpage before moving on.

Website Templates – Key Takeaways

  • Ensure your logo is prominently featured on your website
  • The logo section of a webpage is the section that draws the most attention (6.48 seconds on average)

 

#2 – Navigation Menu

website homepage navigation menu free templates

After your logo, the navigation menu on your website is the section that commands the most attention.

In the eye-tracking study referenced above, users spent an average of 6.44 seconds viewing the navigation menus on web pages they were shown.

In our experience, the menu of a website is one of the trickiest sections to get right.

No doubt about it, the primary goal of a website’s menu is to make navigating the different pages of the site as easy as possible for users.

And we’ve found the sweet spot for top-level navigation on a website is seven items or less.

The sweet spot for top-level navigation on a website is seven items or less

So what do you do when you need more than seven items in your navigation menu?

Sub-navigation.

Don’t overwhelm users with a packed navigation menu. If you can’t leave something off, nest it in a sub-navigation. Yes. It can become alot. But it allows for maximum flexibility while keeping your navigation simple & straightforward for your users.

 

Website Templates – Key Takeaways

  • The navigation menu is one of the trickiest sections of a website
  • After your logo, the menu on your website will draw the most attention from visitors (6.44 seconds on average)
  • Limit your top-level navigation to seven items or less to maintain a clean and simple look
  • Use sub-navigation to expand your menu to the number of items needed

 

#3 – Website Headline

website homepage headline free template

The third element in the website homepage formula is your headline.

On average, 5X more people will read the headline of a website than read the body copy.3

With that being said, it is incumbent upon your business to write a headline that deeply resonates with your target market.

5X more people will read the headline of a website than read the body copy

What does this mean for you?

Consider this: Great copyrighting always focuses on the potential customer, not the service, product, or business.

Need inspiration? If the thought of writing the main headline for your website feels daunting, Hubspot wrote a great blog that goes into depth on this topic.

 

Website Templates – Key Takeaways

  • The main headline of your church’s website is its primary focal point
  • Click here to see a collection of headline examples from Hubspot

 

#4 – Call-To-Action

website homepage call to action free template

When a visitor lands on your website – what is it you want them to actually do?

This is what your call-to-action is for.

The call-to-action button on your website identifies the key action you want users to take.

You might be wondering, what should I choose as my primary call-to-action?

In our experience, the primary call-to-action on your website is best served aimed at potential new visitors.

In fact, we wrote a whole blog about this. Read it here.

 

Website Templates – Key Takeaways

  • The call-to-action button on your website identifies the key action you want users to take
  • We recommend dedicating your call-to-action to potential new customers

 

#5 – Search

website homepage search free template

The fifth element in the church website homepage formula is a search box.

Having a search bar on your website is crucial because it allows users to browse on their own terms. And when it comes to user experience, any time you can offer users more control – it’s a good thing.

Moreover, in the previously referenced eye-tracking study, the search bar section of a website ranked third when it came to attention earned from users – about 6 seconds on average.

Any time you can offer users more control- it's a good thing

Website Templates – Key Takeaways

  • A search bar on your website allows visitors to browse on their own terms
  • An eye-tracking study found participants spent an average of about 6 seconds focused on the search bar of the websites they were asked to browse

 

#6 – Inspirational Image/Video

website homepage inspirational imagery free template

In a study of first impressions on travel websites, research found that “inspiration-related elements” had the greatest impact on how first impressions were made.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words – and the data seems to support that claim.

So ask yourself, “What kind of imagery would inspire my target audience to purchase a product or service for the first time?”

Maybe it’s imagery of people visiting your cafe laughing and enjoying conversation over a coffee. Maybe it’s an image of your product in action. Maybe it’s someone enjoying the experience.

As long as it’s not stock imagery. As long as it is a real, inspiring representation of your product, service, or customer experience, your website will be great.

 

Website Templates – Key Takeaways

  • A study of first impressions on tourism websites found that “inspiration-related elements” had the greatest impact on how first impressions were made
  • Ask yourself, “What kind of imagery would inspire the people in our target market we hope to reach?”

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#7 – What To Expect Information

website homepage what to expect free template

The seventh element in the website homepage formula is ‘What To Expect’ info.

Going to a new restaurant for the first time can be uncomfortable and unfamiliar. Purchasing a product from an online store for the first time can be daunting. Thoughts are running through your head; “will this arrive in time”, “will it be undamaged”, “is there a return policy”, “how will this physiotherapist treat me”, and so much more.

To make things easier, dedicate a portion of your homepage to acknowledging and welcoming potential new customers. It is also worth doing this at every step along the user journey.

People will only buy what your offering after they’ve bought into you. In other words, help your users trust you.

Information like a guaranteed delivery time, delivery insurance, 30-day Cashback, as well as clarifying your goal to customer service, and helping your customer can go a long way!

 

Website Templates – Key Takeaways

  • Visiting a new place can be uncomfortable. Purchasing something for the first time can be daunting.
  • Dedicate a portion of your homepage to acknowledging and welcoming potential new customers

 

#8 – Website Main Content

website homepage main content free templates

Here’s what the Senior Project Manager at Bing had to say about the duty of websites: “Your goal should be that when a visitor lands on your page, the content answers all of their needs, encouraging their next action to remain with you.”

A core responsibility of your website is providing information and next steps.

An effective way of displaying information & next steps is in blocks. Think of Pinterest; each bit of information is clearly segregated into “Cards”. Your information needs to be clearly shown, with a distinction between each block to avoid overwhelm.

 

Website Templates – Key Takeaways

  • A primary goal of your website should be to provide answers to your visitors’ needs and encourage their next action
  • Examples: products, services, specials, FAQs, location(s) & directions, contact information (phone/email/physical address), about us, staff, calendar, podcasts, videos, blog posts, event registration etc.

 

#9 – Contact Info

website homepage contact info free template

The ninth element in the website homepage formula is easily accessible contact information.

51% of people think “thorough contact information” is the most important element missing from many company websites.4

A simple way to ensure you don’t fall into this camp is to place your addressphone number, and email in the footer of your website.

By doing this, your contact information will be readily available on every single page of your website.

 

Website Templates – Key Takeaways

  • 51% of people think “thorough contact information” is the most important element missing from many company websites
  • Place your business’ physical address, phone number, and email in the footer of your website

 

#10 – Social Links

website homepage social links free templates

In the aforementioned eye-tracking study by Missouri S&T, researchers found that while browsing websites, participants spent a considerable amount of time focused on social links – 5.95 seconds on average.

Linking from your website to external platforms is also a great way to cross-promote.

Just make sure to only link to platforms that you actually use on a regular basis.

 

Website Templates – Key Takeaways

  • An eye-tracking study found participants spent 5.95 seconds on average focused on the social links of the websites they were asked to browse
  • Link to your social platforms from your website to cross-promote
  • Only link to social platforms you are actively present on

 

#11 – Mobile Ready

website homepage mobile ready free template

In May of 2015, Google made a startling announcement: “More Google searches take place on mobile devices than on computers in 10 countries including the US and Japan.”5

Since that announcement, the increase of mobile Internet browsing has only intensified.

So much so that in 2017, worldwide mobile traffic (smartphones + tablets) accounted for 52.64% of all Internet traffic – not just search – ALL Internet traffic combined.6

In 2017, worldwide mobile traffic accounted for 52.64% of all Internet traffic

What does this mean for you?

It means that if your website isn’t responsive (meaning, it doesn’t adjust its size and structure based on the dimensions of the device it’s being viewed with), you’re creating a frustrating experience for the majority of the people visiting your site.

Knowing that the majority of traffic to websites comes from mobile devices, we tailor our whole approach mobile-first. Meaning, when we begin working on a website, we first imagine what it could look like on a phone – before we ever imagined how it would look on a desktop computer.

 

Website Templates – Key Takeaways

  • In 2017, worldwide mobile traffic accounted for 52.64% of all Internet traffic
  • If your website isn’t mobile responsive, you’re creating a frustrating experience for your users

Conclusion

When a visitor lands on your website, it only takes a fraction of a second for a first impression to form in their mind.

First impressions begin and end with your website’s homepage.

The majority of websites fail the first impression test. But by following the 11-part website homepage formula – yours doesn’t have to.

Overwhelmed? Let us build your website for you!

We know there’s a lot to think about when building a website. Let us do the thinking and the building for you!

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