Hi there.. I always have trouble differentiating what text is good for homepages, and about pages. I feel there is always a bit of overlap. Can anyone clarify what type of text content should go on each page respectively?
I always use the following guidelines for about about page, but what about the home page?
The home page should summarise the whole site or the key service you are selling, the about page should be about the people/company providing the service in detail.
For example, let's say you are building a website for a typical tradesman, the home page will welcome the visitor, outline the key services and where the company works geographically, highlighting any specialities or unique selling points. The about page will talk about who started the company, when, the skills of the people involved, charities the company supports etc.
Of course the home page may summarise a little bit of the about page but the overlap should be quite small.
A homepage has to contain core marketing elements as it is a page that we refer people to most of the time.
Depending on the goal of your business and the type of products or services that you offer, the text for your homepage should complement the following elements:
A headline or tagline that attracts attention
Call to action
Benefits of what you offer
Testimonials or social proof
Contact details (address, phone number if any)
Well structured navigational links
You can look at http://unbounce.com/landing-page-examples/built-using-unbounce/beautiful-landing-page-design-examples/ for examples. Some of the examples here are landing pages but do check out the links attached for the homepages.
Home page should have more important information about your website, services/products, and what you think visitors should see/know when they land on your site. Home page is very important so your visitors won't leave your site immediately.
Wayne, I think you are exactly right. The very first thing that needs to be determined is the purpose of the Website. A business Website will be different from one that is a blog, or strictly for presenting information.
For a business Website, creating a positive image is going to be number one, in my opinion. This means, it has to look good. Good design, attractive, and eye pleasing. An ugly Website will do nothing for a company's image, no matter what information might be presented. Ugly says "cheap." Ugly says, "we don't care about our image." There are far too many ugly Websites out there.
"[C]ore marketing elements," yes! It's an advertisement first (perhaps I have this view because I took commercial art, and have a little advertising training, but I think I'm right about this). So, we have to create a positive first impression (company image), and then we have to "sell." Make it clear what the product or service is. An effective headline (the purpose of the headline is go get attention) should make the reader want to read the first line of copy.
Answer the question, "What's in it for me?" What is the product or service, and what will it do for me?
Short body copy, not too much to read, but creating the desire for more information. Call to action. "Call us today ... " Photos, more information can be provided on additional pages if necessary or desired, but the Home Page needs to create an initial positive emotion geared to getting a response.
I like to have some contact information on the Home Page (phone number) but I like to place a contact form on a "Contact Us" page.
The Home page should give a brief overview of what lies within and whets the viewer's appetite to stay and click around, probably straight to your "About" page. Your About page should focus on what benefits you can offer the viewer while introducing yourself. Your About page is very important, but at the end of the day it's "About" what you can do for the viewer instead of really about you. Ironic.
I think it depends what the intention of the site is.
In e-commerce you would presumably offer products on the homepage, and explain your company on the about page. For a service based business you would offer your services on the homepage, and your business information on the about page. For a blog, you'd have the latest or most important content on the homepage...
It's all about knowing what your visitors are looking for when they arrive, getting them to pause and hang around, and then moving them to the right place or convincing them to perform a desired action. That's not what you want on the about page, which is rarely an arrival page in itself. People go to the about page usually after arriving on the homepage or other areas of the site when they want to know more about you.
What I think the approach varies from site to site and obviously the niche of your business. But the basic thing is that in the home page you have to put all your services/products in a plane and simple language where as the about page should content the achievements and contacts.
About Us Page should always be about the real people who are behind the company.
It's your chance to make customers relate to the people running the business as real people like them, not just emotionless drones working for a company...even if that's what they may actually be!
The home page is the single most important page on your website. You have less than a second to get your visitors to pay attention long enough to keep reading whatever message you have posted there so you're definitely asking the right questions. The problem is, this is a copywriting problem for the most part and most designers try to turn it into a design problem which is what it rarely is. You have to learn how to write copy that will convince your visitors to take action and that is the fine art of direct-response copywriting.
There's a good book by Dan Kennedy for beginners. It's called "The Ultimate Sales Letter". But for your needs I would probably recommend "Website Copy That Sells" by Maria Veloso. It's not really a question of "home" or "about" pages. I have worked on plenty of websites that had neither. It's about creating a website that produces results. A website that converts skeptical prospects into happy customers.
And you have to know how to format the copy so that it is appealing and easy to read on the screen. That part is part of design.
That's good advice. If you were taking a jab at that massive paragraph of text I posted up there then I guess I could give you a bunny sticker for offering constructive feedback. It's nice to meet you Shyflower. I probably would have said the same thing. Thank you.
Another thing that is different in the About Us page, is that you can add company's goals and mission statement here.
In my humble opinion,. home page revolves mostly around your value proposition.
Regarding directing people to your home page from the landing pages.
You don't have to necessarily do it.
If you have landing pages and each of them is focused on different service, while each of the service is covered on the separate page of the website, then you can direct people from the landing page straight to the correspondent page of your website.
(hope I haven't confused anyone with such a long sentence)
Home page/landing page is your website's most important page where your customers and search engine are briefed and impressed. So considers adding key information regarding your business while trying to cover various aspects of your business. However about us is where you cover about yourself, your company and its employees. While home page is to be written on a professional pattern, About us is all yours and the only objective is to express yourself.
It is highly recommended not to use your home page as your landing page.
Instead, make 2-3 different landing pages that target specific subgroup of your target audience and appeals to them.
Here's a good thread about it.
That's generally good advice, but it does depend on how big your site is. As a general rule, you want people to land on the page that's most relevant to what they are searching for. If you've got 100 content pages on your site, think of it as 100 landing pages. Trying to funnel everyone who comes to your site from a search engine through two or three landing pages just increases the risk that they will bounce out before finding the information they were looking for. But yes, trying to get everyone through your home page is even worse!
Anyway, this is getting a bit off-topic from the original question...
You're right here - we're going off-topic.
You could think of the home page and the about page as two of the most important pages on the site that are NOT landing pages. When people land on any of the other pages of the site (the ones which contain what they are looking for) they can then visit the about page to find out more about who the site belongs to and the home page to find out more about what the site is all about.
This is the best definition of the difference between home and about pages I have seen. Too often businesses fill their home page with content about their founders, their goals, their 'mission' instead of using the home page as an index to the products and services offered by their business. Stephen... you should copyright this definition!
Shyflower, I just wrote a post about this yesterday. I call it "home page stuffing". People are so scared that people won't see all their stuff that they throw it on the home page. It's like we forget that our visitors have a mouse with a button which gives them the ability to click our links.
There are a lot of unconventional home page designs that work well so there is a lot of flexibility here. If it's a question of whether or not to add something to the home page, I would recommend leaving it off.
Here's the post I wrote on home page design. Might add a few other thoughts not mentioned here: http://webeminence.com/home-page-design