Your homepage can end up cluttered and confused if you put too much on it. So this part of the toolkit is all about how to prioritise and edit.
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The average number of content elements on the homepages I surveyed was 9. The highest was 13 and the lowest was just 4.
But at this stage of the process, you might have a much longer list of potential elements. This can be especially true if:
- your audience is made up of user groups with very different needs; for example, people who use your information/services and professionals who might commission your services
- you work in a siloed organisation where different teams have different goals and aren’t aligned on the priorities
- you have an extensive website with lots of different content
In these scenarios, it’s tempting to put lots of elements on your homepage so you can cover everything. But if you take that approach, you can end up with a homepage that’s overwhelming and confusing to users. Landing on a homepage and being met by too many messages, or having to scroll and scroll and scroll to find what you’re looking for, is a poor user experience.
How to narrow down your list
You need to prioritise and edit if you want a focused and effective homepage. To do that, take another look at the list of potential elements you created and start to narrow it down.
Focus your attention on the elements that meet all or most of the following criteria:
- You have it or could create it
- It reflects a user need
- It reflects a strategic priority
- A stakeholder has asked for it
On the ‘Prioritising content elements’ worksheet in the spreadsheet, you’ll see that your answers have been automatically copied over from ‘Potential content elements’. There’s conditional formatting to help you spot the content elements that meet the most criteria. Assign each element as high, medium, low, or not a priority in column G. Once you’ve done that, you should have a much clearer picture on which elements should be at the top of your priority list.
If you have more than ten high-priority elements, you might need to work through the task again. Take a second look, and be ruthless in your assessment of what really matters the most.
Element prioritisation examples
A charity that’s focused on delivering information and services to the public and working with professional partners might choose these elements (in no particular order):
- About us/what we do
- Areas of work/programme
- Email sign-up
- Stories/case studies
A charity that’s more focused on fundraising and campaigning meanwhile, might go with something like (again, in no particular order):
- Donate (specific campaign)
- Donate (generic)
- Online shop
- Get involved/support/membership sign-up
- Email subscription
It might help your decision-making to know that the 10 most common content elements in my survey of charity homepages were:
- News / blog (links) (appeared on 73% of homepages)
- Tagline / mission / description (63%)
- Donate (generic, CTA) (53%)
- Email subscription (CTA) (47%)
- Campaign / petition (specific, link) (43%)
- Volunteer recruitment (CTA/link) (40%)
- Info / help / advice (links to topics/link to category page) (37%)
- Info / help / advice (specific piece of content, link) (33%)
- About us / what we do (link/links) (33%)
- Get involved / support us (link) (33%)