O.k. I’m sure you don’t need just another of these How-To-create-Your-Killer-Homepage-Today guides, as web portals appear to be fed with all day. I also don’t believe that any kind of magic or spiritual inspiration is required. Once you combine, match and melt down all these hundreds of pages of guidance, it (almost) always comes down to the same few priciples.
Fighting irrelevance and ambiguity
There are uncounted homepages of businesses of all sizes and industries, who cannot answer every visitor’s most pressing question: Am I right here?
Lots of homepages cannot tell if the business is an investment bank, a pharmaceutical or tool manufacturing company. Non-telling images along with ambiguous headlines, such as Beating The Competition In Every Single Field do not demonstrate anything but corporate PR hybris.
So always makes sure your homepage appearance immediately reflects your industry and value proposition to any visitor stopping by.
Avoiding the Paradox of Choice
This is the opposite extreme (and a widely discussed issue): A website trying to be everything to everybody and thus leaving alone the most relevant ones, overwhelmed and helpless. Hey come on — you’re not Yahoo! or some other general web entry-point. Instead admit your visitors some intelligence and trust them to be able to figure out, if your company’s offering is right for them or not.
Have your homepage provide descriptive entrance points (ideally no more than 4, with one pre-selected a.k.a. The Power Of Defaults) leading prospects deeper into your site, where you provide them the means to refine their search, so you can guide them to the relevant infomation much more reliably as a one-size-fits-all homepage could ever do.
Catering to the wrong half of the visitors’ brain (in all the wrong places)
You likely have learned at school already, that both halfs of the human brain take care of different aspects of your daily life: To most people their brain’s right half is heavily involved handling body perceptions along with the more emotional data to be processed, while the left part caters more to the rationale.
Since, just as with your eyes’ fields of view, the processing of visual impression crosses and overlaps, which is why it has turned out to be wise to place visual information more left in the viewer’s field of vision, while adding the facts (e.g. product USPs to its right). If you like, visit Amazon to learn how to do it.
And now: Have fun adding impact to your own site.