Does your homepage make your heart sing, and tell your story loud and clear? More importantly, does it inspire your potential clients to work with you?
If not…that’s *totally OK*. We all start somewhere!
Here’s a little secret from a professional website designer — you don’t necessarily need a website overhaul to make your homepage amazing (crazy, I know!)
In fact, you can make your site pretty dang sparkly in just a couple of hours if you’ve got the right plan. It doesn’t matter if you’re rocking a DIY site. You can still have a message that’s as authentic and amazing as you are, without investing tons of cash on a complete design overhaul.
Making a few quick updates to your home page can make a HUGE difference in the amount of leads you have coming through the door.
How do I know? Well, I’m writing this post to you today fresh off of a two-week vacation on a boat with my family, blissfully off the grid and soaking up the sun.
Even though I was fully afk, my business still received 3 qualified leads for custom website design during my vacation without any manual effort from me or my team. I’m sharing this with you to let you know that it IS possible for you to take a break from your business and still bring in leads and revenue…if you have the right systems in place.
Want to know the secret to getting leads on autopilot even while on vacation? Creating a website that does most of the work FOR you.
I set up my website very purposefully so that when paired with an effective SEO marketing strategy, ideal clients land on my site and get all the info they need right away. They are able to see that I’m an expert in my field and can decide if they are ready to work with me. Then they book themselves into my calendar directly from my site and with no effort from myself and my team.
You may be hearing this and thinking “That’s great for you Mel, you’re a website designer so obviously you have that sweet setup. But I have my hands full with running my business, not to mention the pile of dirty laundry on the floor AND – I’m not here to spend my life tweaking my website.”
So here are the FIVE MUST HAVE ELEMENTS I tell every single one of my website clients to put on their homepage NO. MATTER. WHAT.
Even if you DIY’d your site and you don’t love your design, even if you’re still getting the hang of copywriting, even if you think you might do a refresh in the next 6 months.
Just get these 5 elements in order and you are well on your way to a site that gives you instant credibility online, positions you as an expert in your field and gets clients signing up to work with you.
Here are the 5 elements that you’ve *got* to have to make your homepage the best it can be at generating qualified leads on autopilot.
1. A Clear and Concise Home Page Headline
The headline is the main statement on your website, written in large text this is the first information your ideal client will receive about your business.
When someone comes to your site, they should instantly understand you, your business, and *know* whether your services are right for them. This is all about communicating your values and mission upfront, in addition to the product and services you’re selling!
I see A LOT of mistakes with this one. Here are some examples of UNCLEAR Home page headlines:
“Live your best life”
“Finally get unstuck”
“Empowering women on their journey”
“Become your most authentic self”
These phrases may sound cute and clever, but it is not immediately clear the EXACT result people can get from these phrases. People need to visualize a tangible result that benefits their life in order to see value in what you are offering.
Pro tip: Clear is better than clever when it comes to your home page headline
Here are some examples of clear and specific Home Page headlines:
“Receive your high-converting Brand & Website and become the go-to expert in your industry.”
“Take back your financial freedom & learn to invest for independence”
“Find joy in motherhood and raise a happy, well-regulated child.”
“Safe and effective Orthopedic treatments that get you back to doing what you love”
“Create Laptop Freedom as a Virtual Assistant”
“Create a Profitable Online Fitness Business”
In these examples, you can see right away the tangible result or benefit. Note that none of these statements emphasize the METHOD of the result. They focus on the benefits and desires that the ideal client is looking for.
Imagine your car is broken, which headline would you most gravitate towards:
“Get your car fixed same-day for a fair price” OR “ASE Certified mechanic experts in the automated OBDwiz method to diagnose your car”
The first example is what you want, you just want your car fixed for a decent price. Even if the mechanic is ASE certified and uses the automated OBDwiz method to do so, you don’t really care about that, so long as the car gets fixed and you don’t go bankrupt in the process.
Focus on what your ideal client REALLY wants and put that front and center at the top of your website.
If you need more help with this step, check out an entire post on how to get clear on your Value Proposition here.
2. Prominently Display Your Email List Builder / Free Resource on your Home Page
Offering a free resource such as a downloadable PDF guide, mini-course, or quiz is the ideal way to attract potential clients and generate leads to your email list. Your free resource should be prominently displayed near THE TOP your homepage, with a clear call-to-action.
Many people who visit your website will not be ready to work with you right away, so getting them onto your email list should be your #1 Priority. By providing something of value to potential clients, you can attract their interest and establish yourself as an expert in your field.
This can be especially useful for online coaches selling high-ticket services because it gives you the opportunity to market to your audience in their inbox in order to build up the Know/Like/Trust required for a high-ticket investment.
Burying your free resource somewhere in your footer is NOT gonna cut it. Ideally there is a big bright box advertising your free resource right underneath your Headline and Header image.
Here are some example CTA’s for your free resource button:
GET MY GUIDE
GET INSTANT ACCESS
SAVE MY SPOT
SIGN UP NOW
CLAIM MY FREE COURSE
If your free resource isn’t ready yet, then you can still encourage your audience to join your email list on your website home page by including a box for them to sign up for your weekly newsletter.
This is easily done through your CRM (your email marketing software) like ConvertKit or ScaleUp. Just review the documentation for your CRM and follow the steps to set up an email list subscribe box on your website.
3. Embed a Video introduction on Your Home Page
I know, I know, don’t hate me for this one! Even if you aren’t a fan of being on camera, a short video introducing yourself and your coaching services is a very powerful tool for building a personal connection with potential clients. This can help establish trust and make potential clients feel more comfortable reaching out to you.
By creating a short video, you can introduce yourself, explain your coaching services, and share your philosophy and approach. This can help potential clients get to know you better and understand what sets you apart from other coaches.
The reality is, anyone out there can put some text on a page. So how do we, the audience, know that that text is credible? Though AI is doing it’s best, it’s currently MUCH harder to fake a video than it is to fake a testimonial or other website copy.
Especially with the rise of ChatGPT and other AI copywriting services, having video on your website is more important now than ever.
It is a quick and easy way to forge a real and instant connection with your audience to help them take the desired next step towards working with you.
When creating a video introduction, it’s important to keep it short and to the point. Aim for a video that is 1-2 minutes in length, and focus on the most important aspects of your coaching services. Make sure to speak clearly and confidently, and use visuals and graphics to help illustrate your points.
Here are some tips when creating a short intro video for your home page:
- Keep it short: 1-2 minutes in length
- Upload the video to YouTube (you can upload it as unlisted if you wish) or to Vimeo and embed the uploaded video into your website
- Avoid uploading the video file directly as large files tend to slow down your website speed
- If you can, set the video to autoplay on mute with an option for people to click on the video to turn on the sound. By setting it to autoplay, the moving image will catch the eye of your audience and engage them, but without blasting unexpected audio in their face.
Even if your audience doesn’t watch the video or turn on the sound, just the very act of featuring an intro video on your homepage will boost your credibility and website conversions.
4. Include Social Proof & Testimonials on your Home Page
While it’s totally important to confidently toot your own horn, talk up your services, and ask for the sale, you’ve also got to find something else to back up your words. Your audience is looking for *proof* before they plunk down their hard-earned cash.
It’s *incredibly* valuable when other people recommend you and your services. Word of mouth is marketing at its best!
You’ve got to create the digital version of word-of-mouth marketing on your homepage.
Here are some examples of Social Proof: Testimonials, Results summaries, Videos, Product Reviews, Facebook comment screenshots, Instagram DM’s, even a fancy plugin showing how recently someone purchased your offering.
Ideally these glowing reviews are attached to human faces with names. People are social creatures and they become encouraged when they see that other people have already tested out your products for services and given them the stamp of approval.
I recommend mixing and matching a few different types of social proof on your Home page. On my website, I include some written (anonymous) summaries of big client wins, alongside some screenshots (also anonymized) to back up the claims. Then, I include formal, written testimonials with names and faces as well as video testimonials.
Screenshots and video testimonials are especially valuable because it is much more difficult to fake or fabricate these things.
A note on ethical use of client testimonials: It’s important to receive permission to use a client testimonial with their business name, name, photo or any other identifying information. It’s best to ask their permission even if you will be sharing summarized results or screenshots anonymously so that you can retain the client’s trust.
5. A Final, Clear Call to Action (CTA) at the bottom of your Home Page
Okay…now that somebody has read your homepage, they know what you’re about and they know how awesome people say you are. What should they do next?
You’ve got to have a clear Call to Action (CTA). If someone reaches the bottom of your page, that often means they are interested in you and your work and are looking for the next step.
On a website, a CTA is usually a button in a contrasting color (a color that stands out against the background) so that it’s clear to people that they can click that button to take the next step.
People are lazy and super distracted on the internet — they want you to hold their hand, lead them down a path and tell them exactly what to do. Make it crystal clear.
I can’t tell you how many people forget to do this. People need to be told what to do when they get to the end of EVERY PAGE on your website. They don’t want to see a grid of 6 different things you offer and then they have to choose which one is right for them.
You MUST pick ONE THING that is the MOST IMPORTANT AND BEST NEXT STEP FOR YOUR IDEAL CLIENT and make that button/link/form front and center on your homepage. Make it SUPER CLEAR what you want people to do.
I know the all caps is giving MySpace vibes but of all the items on this list, this is the one I see missed most often.
And this is important — pick *just one* CTA to focus on. If there are several it’s too confusing. People will be more likely to get overwhelmed and bounce away.
And then watch your conversions go wayyyy up 🙂
Here are some examples of text you can put inside a button for a clear CTA:
- BOOK A CALL
- BUY NOW
- CLAIM MY FREE SESSION
- GET MY GUIDE
- LEARN MORE
- GET IN TOUCH
- ENROLL NOW
- SAVE MY SPOT
Pro Tip: Write the buttons in the first person. For example, write “SAVE MY SPOT” instead of “SAVE YOUR SPOT”. This feels more personal to the person taking the action (clicking the button)
BONUS ELEMENT: Professional Brand Photography
This is honestly less of a bonus and more of a must-have as well, but I’ve included it as a bonus because this can take longer to complete and requires some investment whereas the other tips can be completed in a short amount of time for free.
Photography can make or break your website’s credibility. Some stock photos can work fine (for example, pictures of food if you’re in nutrition/wellness) but you’ll always want to incorporate original photography so you can really connect people to *your specific* brand.
Professional, on brand and FUN photos of your smiling face shining at your ideal client AS SOON as they land on your site will increase your website conversions. You want your sparkly eyes looking your ideal clients right in the face saying “Hey! I’m here, I’m real and I’m trustworthy”
Ahem, NO SELFIES! Online marketing is all about appearances and showing you’ve invested in yours adds legitimacy to your business.
A professional photo of your smiling face can do wonders for building trust, and establishing who you are. It helps your ideal client envision who they’ll be working with.
Pro Tip: You don’t need a ton of photos to achieve this. You can create a professional look and feel on even a DIY website with just 5-10 professional brand photos.
It’s common to get new brand photos every year or two, so you can always start with a small, half day photoshoot and work your way up from there.
It is honestly crazy how many websites I see that AREN’T leveraging these 5 elements on their homepage. The fact that so many websites are missing out on doing these basic things gives you a relatively easy way to stand out from the crowd.
Your website isn’t just about providing information, it’s about hooking your ideal customer from the very start. When a customer lands on your homepage and sees a clear vision, social proof, and a great CTA, they’ll instantly see you as an expert.
And here’s the thing. No matter how legit you are IRL, you NEED to make sure your website shows off your credibility online as well.
You’ve worked hard to become an expert in your field. Make sure your website meets you at your level and not the other way around.
While there’s so much more to creating an awesome, sparkly homepage, these tips should get you started. So get out there, and get that credibility! (The eye-popping sales will follow.)
Are you an Online Coach reading this post and thinking “Yeah Mel sounds freaking awesome but I’m up to my eyeballs in biznass stuff and the last thing I want to do is work on my website” – I got you.
Creating strategic and fabulous websites for online coaches to grow your business is exactly what we do here at Mel Judson Design. If you’d like to receive support creating a professional brand and web design, click here to send us a message and we can connect to learn more about each other and see if it’s a perfect fit.
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