This is a post from a member of the Freelancers Union community. If you’re interested in sharing your expertise, your story, or some advice you think will help a fellow freelancer out, feel free to send your blog post to us here.
A home page is a conversation between you and the internet public. It’s an opportunity to introduce yourself and begin a dialogue with your audience. It’s a conversation whose success can be measured quantitatively through conversions – or the number of times someone lands on your homepage and then takes the next step to learn more. It can also be measured qualitatively: do people react positively when they come across your website?
Successful home pages are conversations, and this checklist is the secret sauce to figuring how to have that chat.
1. Choose your medium
Your home page should quickly tell the “story” of you and your business.
There are three general types of ways to tell a story on a home page: text-based, image-based, and mixed media. There isn't a rule that you must be using a certain type of website, it comes down to what’s appropriate for your business, your personality, and the way you like to communicate with your audience.
Text-based websites tend to work well for writers, coaches and some consultants. If you do some digging around, you’ll find that these websites utilize high-impact headlines to offer quick bites of information and draw the reader in.
On image-based websites, however, you may find that slideshows, showcases or videos tell the story. Photographers, cinematographers, and makers selling physical products may find that this kind of homepage showcases their work best.
Finally, mixed media websites that combine brief calls to action with visual elements work for most people.
2. What do you do? Declare your superpowers!
It’s important to know what you do at its most basic nuts-and-bolts definitions. For an example, if you’re a photographer, what you do is take pictures. But there are a lot of picture-taking photographers out there, so your website needs to also communicate what makes you special.
Or, as I like to say, what’s your superpower?
As a photographer, perhaps you capture life’s beautiful moments to create everlasting memories. Or maybe you create visual compositions that tempt the everyday consumer. Or perhaps you snap portraits that convey your subject’s unique personality.
Everyone has a superpower. It’s what makes your business stand out among a sea of similar offerings.
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3. What are the benefits of working with you?
So you’ve got a superpower, but what else is in that package?
To use the photographer example, you may be proficient with different cameras or have fabulous photo editing skills. You may also have excellent customer service and the agility to travel to far-flung locations for a shoot. Maybe you have next day printing services or particularly fast turn-around with your images.
Your benefits take you from a freelancer-with-superpowers to a superhero. Be sure to show (or tell) how you use your powers to make life easier for your client.
4. How do you deliver?
In the story of your home page, the entire page is a subtle response to the what it's like to work with you and like you, your home page is multi-dimensional. Your personality should come through in the copy, visual design elements, and the impression the totality of all the elements combined.
There is also the literal part of this answer: the process you use or method of delivery. This provides credibility to what you’re offering and also expresses how you do the unique work that you do.
A coach might tell you about their journey, provide a bio for credibility, and an opt-in to their latest webinar.
A photographer might combine the testimonials of others into the photographs to create a slideshow that stands out.
Since I find it to be oversaturated out there with designers, I give people a taste of working with me through these workbooks. The personality comes through with the supporting elements, the adjectives, the tone, color palette, and images.
5. Where to next?
Here’s a little UX 101: Your customer is on your homepage, where do you want them to go next?
A successful conversion is a completed action on the part of the user.
You start with a goal, the path you want your customer to take. If your goal is to get newsletter subscribers, the action should be that the customer fills out a sign-up form.
The successful conversion means the customer did that, conversely you aren't "converting" if they don't fill out that form since that was your goal.
The simplest way to improve conversion is to be ruthless with your links. Don’t waste link space with links to your social media accounts unless you want the customer to end up there. Point them towards the end goal.
You’re now ready to go out there and conquer!
Leah Weschler is a writer, artist, and visioneer of remarkable experiences. She helps creative entrepreneurs to get strategic about their stories. You can check out her homepage at creativeshewrote.com