A perfect homepage example from our friends at The Luxury Villa Collection
Last week I was asked to rewrite a website homepage. My client was very specific about the keywords that needed to be included, and they were many. The existing homepage was already chock-full of content. It was time for a chat with my client…
Your website needs to be content rich: both written and visual content should be in abundance. There must be enough content for Google to recognise you as an expert in your field, and your clients to understand what you do and why they need you in their life.
But we also need to accept that on average web users will only read between 20-28% of any webpage during their visit. An average page visit generally lasts less than a minute and users tend to leave a page after just 10-20 seconds.
Yup, you’ve probably stopped reading this article by now.
This is bad news for people like me who love to write a novel for every page of copy I write. But over the years I’ve learned many ‘best practices’ in copywriting for travel clients and essentially, how to hold the attention of your visitors without writing reams.
Today we’re focusing on the homepage, and here are my top ‘scannable’ tips to better homepage content.
Know your audience
Knowing who you’re designing and writing a website for needs to happen before anything else. Target audience is one thing: your boutique accommodation clients are not going to want to see the same style homepage as a Premier Inn homepage. But you need to delve deeper into the personality of your audience.
Defining an ideal guest profile is fundamental to your content marketing strategy. It’s the difference between relying on one-off bookings and welcoming happy, repeat guests. Once you know who they are, you’ll have a pretty good idea about what they want when they find you. The tone and style of your homepage is all-important to attract your perfect guest.
“On average web users will only read between 20-28% of any webpage during their visit.”
Your website homepage should incorporate a happy balance between visual and written content. The written content should summarise three elements:
- Who you are: Brand or accommodation name, product or service
- What you do: What is your purpose?
- The ‘so that’ factor: We do this, so that you can have an easier life / why do they need you in their life?
You need to perfectly capture your brand values and proposition within a one minute read. Everything else is fluff and expendable. And expandable…
That’s to say that everything else needs to leave your homepage, and find it’s happy place throughout the other pages on your website. Yeah, don’t throw away that great copy just yet!
Think of your homepage like the entrance to your vacation rental, or the reception in your hotel. Guests are going to arrive, check-in and then they want to head off to the comfort of your lounge or bedroom.
Your homepage needs to be three things:
- Easy to navigate
A visitor needs to arrive and see everything clearly, and not have to scroll through loads of content to find where they want to go.
Find out more about how we can help you set up your holiday rental or accommodation website.
Above the fold
In the world of content marketing, strategic internal linking is powerful. It helps to define the architecture and hierarchy of your website, distributes authority throughout your site, and aids the navigation.
And although this article is advocating a ‘less is more’ strategy, overall your website should contain lots of content. In fact, the more organic content you publish, the more likely you are to rank well on Google.
Your homepage should include internal links to the most important pages on your site.
Your homepage should include internal links to the most important pages on your site. It should link to the best content that really tells your story. So once your visitor has scanned your homepage and decided that want to find out more, there are links that will help them easily get to relevant content.
If you publish a blog within your website, then set up an excerpts section on your homepage, as fresh articles will create a sense of ‘nowness’ to your website. Is that even a word? Whatever, it will show you are active in the market and in our accommodation business, writing about your destination is key.
Call to Action
These days we’re not very patient when it comes to online activity. We want a website to load in under two seconds and we want information served up in front of us immediately.
Sometimes we visit a website just to find a phone number or contact details and so I find it incredible when I land on a homepage that doesn’t offer up that fundamental information. I don’t want to click in contact us, or scroll to the footer to find a phone number.
In fact, you’ll want to create several call-to-action messages for the homepage: contact details, contact form and various sales messages: get in touch, book now, Skype call, etc.
Analyse your homepage content on a regular basis
At least once a month you should check your data to see how your visitors are engaging with your website. Amongst other things, you need to know: how they navigate the site, what pages their landing on and from what enquiries, how long they stay with you, etc.
Look at click-through-rates from your internal links and call-to-action messages to determine what’s working and what’s not, and adjust your content accordingly. You can also use tools, such as a hotspot tracking tool, which directly captures data on what visitors are looking at on your site, and what links, images, etc. they spend time on.
Make every page count
I am not letting you publish your life story on your homepage, but there is nothing stopping you posting it on your other pages. In fact you must. Your site content should be organic, engaging and authentic. Written from the heart and accompanied by great visual and video content.
Don’t forget our motto, “people book experiences, not accommodation”. Your website should include pages on the destination and activities your guests can enjoy during their stay.
Check out the amazing content on the website for our client Cadder House in British Colombia, Canada. This is a perfect example of keeping the homepage brief and balanced, between visual and written content, and building the story within the inner pages of the website.