I held off on writing about this layout until the end because, as the eagle-eyed among you will have noticed, it’s the layout I use. No secret I like this one.
At first glance it looks a lot like the standard “Big slider, some intro text, job done” home page which I just spent weeks telling you was awful and didn’t work. I stand by that. This is very different on second, third and fourth glance.
We have just one large image, a hero image, with a carefully chosen caption over the top. That caption tells visitors something key about who you are and what you do, something that will grab their attention and welcome them into your site.
That’s followed by some introductory text that serves to tell your visitors exactly how you can help them and why they should care about your company.
Bonus points if you have a testimonial that can support some of what you’re saying, or even a collection of them, but the layout will work without it.
Then, crucially, you give them a place to look next.
Short, to the point, and leaving plenty of markers about your personality, your business, what it’d be like to work with you, and what it is you do anyway. All the ingredients of a fantastic hello.
What makes this so much better than a slider and intro?
The single unifying message behind it.
With a slider you’re offering them all sorts of information about all sorts of different things and it becomes this hazy confused jumble.
With a Fantastic Hello you’ve slowed things down, and presented one conversation. One key point. One introduction. And One next step to take.
You’ve addressed all the very basics and invited them to take the next step with you (in my case, that’s checking out my about page). That’s all you need to do, and when you can do it with clarity you’re ahead of the game.
How can I make this work for me?
There are two huge reasons this works so well; fantastic copy and a gorgeous image.
If you’re not a writer (and sometimes, even if you are) you’re going to need a copywriter to help you here. It’s something you can absolutely attempt on your own, and just having that purpose will make your home page better than businesses that haven’t put this much thought into what to say, but to really do it right? Copywriter.
Similarly, your image. You don’t want to use a stock photograph here if you can avoid it. Which means you’re looking to have a high quality image created, either a photo of yourself or your products, or it could even be an illustration of some kind. The point is it has to be powerful enough to stand alone and grab attention.
Another thing about the image is it’s still going to be a hefty file size due to the fact it’s taking up a lot of real-estate. Without caching in place you could see some slower loading speeds on your site. (Still not as slow as with a slider, but slower than using a smaller image would be)
My last piece of advice applies whether you use this layout or not; Take the time to get clear on where you want your visitors to go next and then figure out what information they’ll need to make that step. What head-space they’ll need to be in to take it.