The case for a clear call to action on your homepage
It’s a vastly overrated notion that a homepage should include all sections of your website and serve all kind of visitors. It needs one clear call to action.
To make disorderly or hard to use by filling or covering with objects
The need to put everything on one homepage
Employment websites do it. “Employers subscribe here”, “Companies list here”, “Latest jobs”, “Build your resume”. Real estate agents do it. “Buy these new homes”, “Sell your home with us”, “Latest sales”, “Upcoming events”. That’s really just the tip of the iceberg.
It seems that most homepages are designed with one thing in mind: “How do I make everything on my website accessible from this one single page.” Well, you can’t. Not in a way that your visitor will understand your company, product or really anything at all.
One clear call to action
To guide your visitor into or through your website, you should give him directions. Pretty similar to how a road needs road signs actually. Yes, you can put up multiple signs, but you should make the most important ones the biggest. Make it as big as possible. Make it stand out.
Everybody has visited that one great looking website in all shades of grey that had an orange RSS button that drew all attention. That’s really bad design in my opinion. The thing that stands out is your call to action: that’s what you want visitors to click on.
A different approach to a call to action
There are many ways to use and implement this call to action. One is using the big bold button, preferably in a color that is not used in the design of the website (the orange RSS button mentioned above). You might also use whitespace to emphasize a specific part of the homepage, making it stand out that way.
We recently had a client for a website review who has this (quite common) idea of starting his website with a choice: three options for three variations of a product. That would imply three call to actions…
No problem, if you combine the two ways mentioned above. So make a block that really stands out (use sufficient whitespace around it) and add three similar call to actions, with (very important) a descriptive title for that block, like “Make your choice”. That way, the entire block becomes your call to action.
Now let’s illustrate the simplicity of call to actions by looking at some example websites (none of them are clients):
“Jobsite is a leading UK online recruitment site, dedicated to helping you find your next job.”
I actually got lost on your homepage already. Yes, I understand you want me to search for my next job on your page, or do you really want me to register first? One very distracting issue this homepage has, is that the Vision2learn banner has the largest call to action of the page…
Since we do website reviews for websites from all over the world, I decided to look up an Italian School in Italy and found Scuola Leonardo da Vinci. After looking at their website, I decided to stick to Google Translate… as I couldn’t find where to apply for a course.. The question “Where do you want me to click???” is impossible to answer for this website. The total lack of a call to action, combined with the overall clutter, makes a visitor head back to Google in the blink of an eye.
Help me out here, Walmart. Why do you want me to click my empty cart? Don’t get me wrong, for shopping sites, emphasizing the cart is always a good thing. But I think what Walmart wants me to click is something else, like the free shipping offer or perhaps a product I could buy. Now that should be the orange button on that homepage! Also, the banner “Shop Top Brands” is just a list of products and prices. The call to action on that banner should also be clear (“Shop NOW” or something like that).
Get to work!
What is your homepage’s main call to action? Is it clear enough? Go and make it clear. You’ll have a better website for it!
Image for 3D person sitting on a question mark used in license from Shutterstock.