Home Pages Must RULE!
When it comes to the DIY (do it yourselfer) for SEO here in Canada, like many others globally, your ‘actions’ speak louder than your ‘code!’ Least in my mind they do and to move along in this series, today I want to talk about overall structure of the content on your website home page to begin with. What’s that? Well no matter whether you call it index.html or default.php, home.htm, default.asp or whatever the case may be, the page I’m going to be talking about today is the page that ALL website visitors “land on” when they type (or click a link on Google if you’re an SEO campaigner, eh!) in your domain name.
Home pages MUST rule. That is, if you think about it, you get one chance and once chance only to impress the website visitor enough that they want to “stick” on your website long enough to learn enough to get them to contact you or buy something. You get one chance. And that one chance comes from your home page, where they first “meet” your site and your abilities, eh!
“Meet,” you ask? What do I mean? Well, its the home page where folks land that will either convince the website visitor that yes, this is a site where they can spend a few more clicks to learn about your skills, your products or your services to make an informed decision to contact you for more information. This is the page that pre-sells your prospective client/customer to “buy-in” to the next step, of sticking around for a few minutes. Anything else in todays world, means they jump away and take that opportunity to sell something to them with them. Bub-bye!
So, if the home page is so important, and if you’re whole online existance is dependant on what it shows a prospective client/customer, then what are some rules to follow in making same “sticky” to attract drill-downs that will end with a “call to action”? Ah…well, here’s the most important rule, in my mind — your English usage!
I CAN NOT TELL YOU HOW MANY TIMES I’ve been in SEO forums or web boards or message pits and have seen the same type of #1 issue with this arise…that people who think that they’ve developed the best of the best websites in their channel, simply have no bloody idea! Mostly it’s because they are non English speaking site owners or developers and they not only do not understand grammar, spelling, idioms and slang, but that they get so dang upset when you point that out to them! I’ve been sworn at, had my email bombed with spam, have had my online rep trashed (or they at least threatened to do that) and overall, been told that I’m a racist or too too old to know s**t or too stupid to understand the ‘modern’ web world or too anti-pickanycountry- ist and lastly, yes, against their country because of where on the globe it sits. Honestly, that’s the kind of flack I’ve taken for pointing out just how poor their site is trying to communicate!
I’m pretty sick of it, I must admit and for the most part, I’ve about given those “Site Review” threads a wide berth in the past year or so. I don’t need the hassle, but I do want to make this point here….
That if you think you want to sell something to somebody online, then you need to do it in the most professional, best practices methodology to gain that new client or customer. And that means that you need to use perfect English, if the site sells to the English speaking world. You can NOT get away with second rate grammar. You must spell all the words you use correctly. If you use metaphors or anythink like that, remember that they must be used properly and must be “on point” too! If you use idioms, then they too must be “spot-on” to once again ensure that your point is valid. Why, you ask?
Because of the general approach that all of us have, when we first think of searching for a product or a service. You need to “sell” to a visitor and you get one chance to make that first impression. Once chance to prove to them that your domain is THE ONE to contact.
Want to sell me a new furnace, for example? Well, as my kids will be living in my house and your furnace uses/burns natural gas, then I must feel that you have not only good pricing for that furnace, but that your installation team will follow the best practices when they do the installation too. My family is at stake here, and if I get even a glimpse, a peek into your domains inability to follow the best of all practical methods of furance installation — via — your inablity to spell words right on your homepage — you get ZERO trust from me! And I surf away!
Give this a try. Go to your homepage and read it — better yet, ask a few of your current clients or customers to take a “hard look” at your home page and then get back to you with their own opinions. Include in the guidelines that you want to know if the copy on the page makes sense? Does it flow? Does it make them think that you DO know your business too? And anything but positive feedback here, means you need to look at that homepage with a fresh eye, eh!
Anything else, means you’ll never do well by never establishing TRUST to get online sales, eh! But don’t worry, you’re not alone….there’s hundreds of millions of sites just like yours….sigh….Google