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The Difference Between Your Home Page and a Book Cover
I just finished designing a book cover for a client (see image at the bottom of the post), and I was reminded again of how similar the design of a book cover is to the design of the home page of a website. (Or, at least how similar it should be.) This is a quick post that should help you to remember what is important on the home page of your site, and what should be left for the inside pages.
Note: It’s imperative that you have a user friendly, mobile version of your site and these same principles would apply when you build a website online for mobile devices as well.
Think about a book cover. What is on the cover of a best seller and what is that cover designed to do? I would argue that it’s main purpose is to entice people to read the book. It does this through the following ways:
- Displays a clear title and often a subtitle.
- Gives you a brief synopsis or snapshot of what the book is all about.
- Gives brief information about the author(s) often including a picture.
- Offers recommendations for the book by trusted sources.
- Displays the publisher’s information.
- Uses graphics, colors, and layout to tie the message all together.
The home page of your website should be no different from the details mentioned above. Your website is like a book you are trying to sell. You have vital services, information, or products inside that you believe people should take notice of. You are targeting specific people that you feel your services, information, or products are best suited for, and your ultimate goal is for them to be so captured by your home page that they stay to look inside.
So, take a look at the home page of your site, and ask yourself the following questions:
- Is my site purpose clearly displayed and understandable in the title?
- Am I offering a clear, concise snapshot of what my site is all about without being too vague or overwhelming people with too much information? (What’s it all about?)
- Do I have any information about or image of the owner/author if applicable that would lend credibility and a personal touch to the site? (What real people are a part of this?)
- Do I have any testimonials from satisfied customers or references from trusted sources to lend further credibility to my site? (Why should someone trust me?)
- Do I show snapshots of past success stories, influential clients, or recent images from my portfolio to demonstrate my experience and ability? (Why am I better than the competition?)
- Do the colors, images, and layout all work seamlessly together to clearly communicate my message in a professional and uncluttered way? (What emotions or thoughts are evoked when someone lands on my site?)
- Who created my logo,branding, and site design? (This may sound silly, but depending upon your business, people can be turned off by “do-it-yourself” or cheap and quick web building approach. It may cause people to think, “If you didn’t care enough to invest in your business why should I invest time or money in your product or service?”)
There are a few differences between a book cover and your website. People’s attention spans are generally much shorter on the web than browsing through books making it all the more important for you to be as concise and attention grabbing as possible. Your visitors will need to be able to “look inside” very quickly to find what they are searching for. An easy to use navigation system is a must. Finally, and most importantly, your website is amongst billions of others online not just on a bookshelf with several other books. You need to ensure that people can even find your site to begin with. Basic search engine optimization, well formed code, and lots of great content will be key for this.
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