How to Run an Effective Homepage Conversion Optimization Strategy

by Neil Patel

Last updated on October 16th, 2018

homepage-conversion-optimization

Do you have an effective homepage conversion optimization strategy? If not, you’re in good hands.

We know a thing or two about homepage optimization here at Crazy Egg, so we thought we’d share some of our knowledge with you. While other pages on your site might draw clicks from search engines, social, and other places, you don’t want to neglect your homepage.

If someone types your company or brand name into Google’s search bar, for instance, they’ll likely see your homepage first.

homepage-conversion-optimization-crazy-egg

You don’t want to waste that traffic. So, how do you optimize your homepage for conversions?

Low Conversions on Your Homepage?

This isn’t an uncommon problem. Low conversions on your homepage could relate to myriad issues, whether it’s the images you’ve chosen, the way you’ve worded your CTA, or your headline.

The trick is figuring out exactly why you have low conversions on your homepage.

Monitoring user behavior takes you a step closer to understanding how your visitors react upon arriving on your homepage. Do they click away immediately? If they stay, where do they click?

Use Crazy Egg’s Snapshots to gather this data on your homepage as well as elsewhere on your site. You might discover that users find your navigation bar confusing or that they don’t respond well to your hero image.

Once you’ve collected the data, A/B test various elements on your homepage — specifically, those that seem to give your visitors trouble. You might change your CTA wording, for instance, or test a more enthusiastic headline.

How to Do Homepage Conversion Optimization: 8 Techniques

Homepage conversion optimization sounds like a big undertaking, but it becomes easier to digest when you break it down into smaller steps.

We’ve come up with eight techniques to help you convert more visitors from your homepage alone.

1. Understand your personas’ goals

Hopefully, you’ve already created buyer personas. These are fictional representations of your target customers. Some companies have one or two, while others might have a dozen or more.

If you know and understand your personas’ goals, you have a big advantage when it comes to homepage conversion optimization. You know what tone to use, what images might appeal to that audience, and how to craft an offer your personas can’t refuse.

To illustrate the importance of knowing your personas’ goals, let’s set up an example. You sell dog training services to people with anxious or aggressive animals.

With just those details, we can make certain conclusions:

  • Your personas are struggling with animals they can’t control.
  • Clients have to be local.
  • Your clients don’t know how to train their dogs themselves.

With these facts in mind, let’s craft two short pieces of persuasive copy:

  1. Ready to give up on your anxious or aggressive dog in Seattle, Washington? There’s hope. Find out how I can help you make your house a happy home for both you and your dog.
  2. Do you want to turn Rover into a well-trained animal? I’m here to help. Here’s how I can train your dog and improve your communication skills.

Here, we have two similar pieces of content. You’ll notice, though, that the first one focuses on the persona we identified while describing our fictional dog trainer’s services.

The second CTA doesn’t target the audience at all. The trainer might work with agility dogs, obedience training, or something else entirely.

Take the time to go back to your buyer personas and establish firm goals for them. If you address those goals on your homepage, you’ll speak directly to your audience with a message that resonates.

2. Create or improve your main offer

homepage-conversion-optimization-offer

Maybe you have multiple products or services, and perhaps you have several buyer personas. Regardless, you need one main offer for your homepage — something that will appeal to the widest possible segment of your target audience.

Let’s go back to our fictional dog trainer. Maybe he does does offer obedience training, but he sees the greatest need among pet owners who have anxious or aggressive dogs. Consequently, those are the people he targets on his homepage.

With the brief piece of copy above, we named the problem and suggested a solution. That’s a great way to extend an offer to your prospects.

But what if you have a longer sales cycle? Maybe you run a business that doesn’t cater to immediate, urgent needs, so your prospective customers take more time deciding whether to buy from you.

In that case, you need an lead generation offer. Instead of asking homepage visitors to buy, invite them to sign up for your email list. Create a lead magnet that nobody in your target audience can pass up.

3. Get feedback from your audience

There are many ways to get feedback from your audience — both actively and passively. Active feedback requires a virtual conversation with your audience. You need their participation. Passive feedback comes through tools and testing.

A fantastic source of active feedback is a survey. Ask your leads questions about their experience on your website’s homepage. Did they find it interesting? Attractive? Easy to understand?

You could also ask for email responses from your subscribers. Invite them to send you a paragraph or two explaining what they would like you to change about your homepage, if anything.

In terms of passive feedback, the aforementioned Crazy Egg Snapshots will give you tons of information. You can see where people click, how far down your homepage they scroll, and more.

Consider trying a Recording, too. Recordings show you exactly how a visitor navigates a particular page, including forms that get filled out, images they explore, and more.

4. Keep it simple

Believe it or not, simple, minimalist homepages often convert better than homepages with tons of information. It’s because people don’t like to feel overwhelmed.

Busy homepages throw lots of information at your visitor. They often include multiple CTAs — even CTAs that are clustered together.

Pare down. Figure out what elements on your homepage are essential and which you can cut without disturbing the conversion process.

Refer back to those Snapshots and Recordings. If nobody pays attention to an image on the page, remove it. If people scroll past a block of text, take it out.

Many marketers want to stuff as much information and sales copy on their homepages as possible. This tactic comes across as desperate to consumers. If you’re willing to let your product or service speak for itself, you’ll tear down a few barriers to conversion.

5. Create a shocking headline

Effective homepage conversion optimization often starts with the headline. This is the piece of copy your visitor sees first.

If it’s boring, trite, or predictable, you could lose visitors before they even read another line of copy or watch a video. They’ll assume you don’t have what they want.

Let’s say that you’re promoting a lead magnet with a book. Your current headline looks something like this: “Get My Book for Free Today!”

It’s okay, but a little boring. And by the way, what’s the book about?

You’re better off with a headline like this: “Want to Learn How to Potty Train Your Dog For Free? Then You Need My Book!”

It’s more specific, it tells the reader how to feel, and it promotes a clear benefit.

If you want to raise the stakes considerably, you can try a shocking headline: Oh, No! You’ve Been Potty Training Your Dog the Wrong Way!”

Experiment with language, length, and specificity until you find the right combination.

6. Add a video to the homepage

Homepage conversion optimization often boils down to engagement. How can you grab your visitors’ attention and force them to stick around?

Video tends to be more engaging than text, especially when it features real people. Even if it’s just you talking to the visitor, you might see a significant increase in conversions.

Keep it short. You don’t want to overwhelm the visitor. Introduce your offer, explain your purpose in making your product or service, and tell viewers what to do next.

Adding closed captioning to the video and making sure audio is automatically disabled go a long way toward building trust.

If your visitor is checking out your website while cradling a sleeping baby or sitting behind a desk in a work cubicle, sudden sound might irritate them so much that they click away.

7. Use features that build trust

Speaking of trust, you need to establish it right off the bat. If your visitor doesn’t trust you or your brand, the chances of converting them off the homepage reduces significantly.

How do you establish trust between yourself and someone you’ve never met? Through social proof.

Maybe a celebrity has bought your product and written a testimonial. Perhaps you’ve received approval from a major regulating organization.

Social proof can come from testimonials, the logos of brands that have been your customers, and more. The higher the quality, the greater the trust.

In other words, if one of your customers has created an appreciative video testimonial, you would want to feature that over a couple of sentences written by someone with a first name and last initial. If you’ve received accolades from a major publication, highlight that instead of a Yelp review.

8. A/B test your call to action

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Calls to action create considerable stress during homepage conversion optimization. You only have a few words to work with, and how do you know they’re persuasive enough?

The best way to ensure you’re optimizing your homepage effectively is to run A/B tests. Crazy Egg allows you to test two variations for your CTA so you know which one performs better.

Don’t stop there, though. Pit the “winner” against yet another variation. Keep testing so you don’t lose out on conversions.

Remember that a CTA has several components:

  • Phrasing
  • Offer
  • Font choice
  • Font color
  • Background color

All of these elements should come into play during your testing. Maybe you have a great offer, but you’re not phrasing it in an enticing way. Perhaps your foreground and background colors blend in with the rest of your homepage too much.

Examples of High-Converting Homepages

Sometimes, inspiration can help fuel your homepage conversion optimization strategy. When you see how successful brands design their homepage elements, you can pick and choose elements to replicate.

Don’t copy someone else’s work. Just use it as a springboard for your own creativity.

Since we started this article with the example of a dog trainer, we’ll look at a high-converting homepage in the pet industry. PetFlow, a dog food delivery service, has a well-constructed homepage that’s designed for conversions.

homepage-conversion-optimization-petflow

Notice that you’re immediately drawn to the two CTAs: one for dogs and one for cats. They’re not competing because a visitor is likely looking for a pet food solution for one species or the other.

We have social proof with the Amazon connection in the navigation bar as well as an incentive to refer friends for credit toward purchases. The homepage features photographs with hand-drawn elements, and your attention is directed at diving deeper into the site.

Next, let’s take a look at a tech security business for homepage conversion optimization inspiration. Norton, a well-respected purveyor of security software, has a well-designed homepage that’s optimized for conversions.

The biggest element promotes the core product and includes social proof with the LifeLock connection. You also have a navigation bar that feahomepage-conversion-optimization-nortontures Norton Deals and Free Trials, both of which could convert visitors.

Conclusion

Homepage conversion optimization can be a lifelong process for any business owner. As time passes, design best practices will change, your business will evolve, and you’ll need a way to test homepage design elements for maximum results.

With Crazy Egg in your back pocket, you don’t have to worry about getting left behind.

Start optimizing your homepage now. Figure out what’s working and what could use improvement. Focus on steering your visitors toward a conversion so you can generate qualified leads for your business.

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Neil Patel

Neil Patel is the co-founder of Crazy Egg and Hello Bar. He helps companies like Amazon, NBC, GM, HP and Viacom grow their revenue.

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