Your Home Page: If Everything is Important, Nothing is Important
The home page of your website is probably the most important page of your site. It is most often the "landing page" - that is the first page your users will view. Often, I will have clients tell me they want this or that on their home page because it is important and they want their visitors to notice it.
Obviously, putting important things on the home page, such as a newsletter signup box, a monthly specials graphic, or a featured product, is well...important. But there comes a time when too much is too much. This is called the law of diminishing returns. The idea being that if everything on your home page is important, then nothing will stand out and it all becomes irrelevant.
Too Much Clutter
Take a look at the following example. Although the home page for TechSoup.org has a nice clean design, there is so much information on the home page that it is difficult to tell what is important. All of the information becomes convoluted and it is difficult to discern the important from the unimportant.
Clean and Clear
Generally speaking, a well-designed home page should gently nudge the user to complete a specific action (filling in a form, viewing a video, etc). There are, of course, exceptions to this, but look at the home page of Media Temple, a website hosting provider.
The main graphic basically nudges the user to click on one of the three hosting choices. There is some supporting copy below the graphic, as well as quick links, and their tech support phone number in a large font.
It is very easy to determine what is important on this home page: the three hosting options and the tech support phone number.
Not One Size Fits All
I am speaking very generally here and not all websites should follow this routine. One example of a website that may need more information and "clutter" on the home page is a news organization.
But generally speaking, make your home page stand out by highlighting 2 or 3 items that the user should deem interesting or important and use the design, layout, and copy to gently direct the user to complete a desired action.
How's Your Home Page?
Would you like some feedback on your home page or help with the layout/design? Leave a comment below with your URL and I'd be happy to give you some feedback.