When someone lands on your homepage for the first time, you have just a few seconds to win the battle for their attention. Think of them like a drunk toddler (in the kindest possible way). They owe you nothing, they are completely self-interested, and they get bored very quickly.
Within just seconds, visitors should know and internalize:
So your homepage has to:
In short: The homepage’s job is to to make it insanely easy to see that you have what they want, then take the next step to give you money.
The first thing anyone is going to see when they visit your homepage is your masthead. This is the topmost section (aside from the thin strip of navigation area) of the page. Use this area to show off high-quality photography, your unique selling proposition, and a call-to-action
I say not to use a carousel. There are cases where carousels are ok, but they have to be extremely well done, and most of them are just bad. They distract, they dilute the message of your value proposition. Carousels aren’t inherently bad, but most of them end up bad anyway.
Use your homepage to invite visitors to shop a featured item or collection, check out new arrivals, etc. You want to draw them further on towards category and product pages. When someone has taken a step towards making a purchase after arriving on the homepage, it’s work is done.
Ideally, you’ll have a well-chosen font pair. One for headings, and one for body text. Color and size variations when appropriate are fine. But it’s no fun to show up on a site and not be able to read anything.
When someone lands on your homepage, they probably don’t care that much about your story. They DO care about what kind of value you offer in return for their attention and (maybe) their money.
Showing off a bit of personality and your “why” is fine. What you don’t want to do is use a lot of text telling your story. Your in-depth story has it’s own place, but this ain’t it.
You don’t propose on the first date, and you probably won’t make the sale on the front page. The homepage is a great way to draw browsers into categories, or to feature a flagship/popular product. But don’t throw everything you’ve got at the wall just to see what sticks. Your product pages sell things, that’s their job.
Let’s look at Huron’s homepage and see what they’re doing right. I will say I am not affiliated with Huron or the agency that built their site at all. I just think it’s a great example.
Let’s play out a scenario: The customer is drunk. Just got paid. He is browsing Facebook or Reddit on his phone. He sees an ad or a comment directing him to Huron. He clicks through. And even in his inebriated state, he can perfectly grasp what is going on here, because everything is crystal clear.Drunk or stoned impulse purchases are a thing, folks. Optimize for the kind of clarity and relevance that makes them possible.