While it’s tempting to jump straight into the content design for your homepage, you need to do some groundwork first.
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Check in on your strategy
Familiarise yourself with your brand’s overall strategy or mission. If you’ve got a digital strategy and a content strategy, look at those too. Your homepage should be working to support your strategic goals, so you need to be clear on what they are before you start. This makes a huge difference to your homepage content design. If your big strategic focus is on building a new customer base, your homepage will need to be very different than if your focus is on retention.
Get a list of user needs or top tasks
Make sure you’re clear on who your users are and what they need from you. If you’re not sure what these are and don’t have any data or insight to help you, pause here. I’d suggest you put your homepage plans on hold (if you can) and do some user research or a top tasks survey first.
Engage your stakeholders
Everyone is going to want a say on what’s on the homepage. So it’s a good idea to talk to stakeholders early and often. Tell them what you’re doing, ask for their opinions, and what they need from the homepage and why. This part of the process is crucial and gives you the best chance of avoiding those ‘But my thing MUST be in bold caps, with a red button, at the top of the page’ conversations later on. Some key stakeholders might be teams like brand, marketing, PR, service or product, partnerships – anyone who has a stake in the content on the website.
Audit your homepage
Carry out a review of your existing homepage. Think about:
- The qualitative side: Does it meet best practice or make any of the common homepage content mistakes? (You’ll find the best practice and mistakes in the next two sections of the toolkit.)
- The quantitative side: How does your homepage perform for your key metrics, like time on page and click through rate? How many people land on it? Where do they go and what do they do next?