6 Website Features to Trash From Your Homepage

What to Trash From Your Website's Homepage

Over the many years that websites have been up and running, the notion of what works on a website has changed so much I dare to look back at my old sites. But that is the nature of the internet.. lightening fast changes. In this industry, we’ve come to expect it.

I often get clients that request many elements on websites that, over the past year, some of these have become outdated and passé. It’s a trend to find the coolest thing and stick on your website.

One other note before I delve into the elements that you should remove from your homepage or landing page, is that even though you might have some of these things on your website, it’s okay. I am sure guilty of it. But a website is a dynamic element in your marketing and should always be reviewed and analyzed and tweaked.

So here is the list:

1. Sliders and Carousels.

One example of a trend that was big for a couple of years but has fallen out of favor with users are the Carousels and Photo Slide shows on homepage. I admit, I loved them. It gave the site some slight animation without being too ‘in your face.’ But as more and more designers and developers used them, it became like white noise to users. After a while, we just don’t see them anymore.

What to do instead?

I would suggest that you use a static area that presents your company’s unique value proposition. This can be a great photo from your corporate archives, one a photographer took for your, or use one of the ‘Unstock’ photos out there.

2. Cheesy Stock Photos.

If you happen to research websites as much as I do or are just a web junkie and love to browse the web, it is not surprising when you recognize the same photo over and over again.

Then as we all get a little savvy, we tend to giggle a little when we see these photos. It’s what marketing strategist David Meerman Scott refers to as “visual gobbledygook.” We both agree that you should use images of real people (like your employees and your customers) on your website and in your marketing assets instead.

So let’s forgo the typical stock photo like the guy writing on the clear wall with company jargon (quality, growth, excellence, etc) or the ‘team’ hovering over a computer.. really… who does that?

What to do instead?

Try a photo that you take or hire a photographer to take a true team photos. Spend a little money on your own photos that you own and can use carte blanch. It will also endear you to your customers and provide the trust.

There are also other non-stock photo. They are typically free, some have a small fee, but can offer some solutions:

3. The Social Media Dump

The idea that you have to be on every social media platform is a strategy that I do not recommend. I’ve always suggested to my clients that they choose one or two platforms that they feel the most comfortable and where their clients will be most engaged. So the idea that you have have this huge line of social media icons linking to every platform like Instagram, Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, Houzz, and the list goes on. Imagine if they click on an icon and find a profile that is inactive and out-of-date? Not only have you wasted valuable real estate but you given your client a bad impression.

What to do instead?

Add the 2 or 3 icons that you are most prevalent on and be active there.

4. Videos that automatically start playing

You are at your office or the coffee shop and you are searching for a fireplace repair person. You google it and click a promising link. The website loads and the next thing you hear is a video that was set to play as soon as the site loads. You can quickly either hit the mute or back out. Either way, you haven’t started the relationship with the website owner on a good note.

What do do instead?

Don’t be discouraged to not use video. It’s a great tool and I highly recommend it. Instead, try to use tools like YouTube or Vimeo and with their embed code builders, you can set the videos to so that the user can hit the play button when they are ready.

5. Clutter Like Unnecessary Icons or Text

Many users are in a hurry and don’t take the time to look around a website to find what they were searching for. They are typically one or two things that a person is looking for when they hit your homepage or landing page.  Extraneous factors like unrelated, unnecessary icons, photos that have no meaning or long paragraphs of text without any bolding or headers. If you had to read a few paragraphs of text that did not get to the point, would you keep going or click back to get the next site?

What to do instead?

Ask yourself, what are the first few pieces of information your clients want to know? Most likely your answer will depend on what you are selling or offering. A featured product or a sale? Do they need contact information first? Do you want them sign-up or login?

6. Talking about You, You, You or We, We, We.

In an nutshell, the About Us page does not belong on your homepage. This is in line with adding your company Mission Statement or your internal values to your homepage. It’s just a big no-no. Just don’t do it. Your website is there to express to your customers that you understand their predicament and problems. You want to show them that you have their solution and not with your ‘quality service,’ ‘cutting edge,’ or ‘industry standard.’ What does that really mean?

What to do instead?

Your website needs to begin as a relationship builder. When you start writing for your customers, start with your customers, not with your product or service. Address and answer their problems. Ask yourself, what do they need me to tell them? Why are they coming to me instead

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Christina Hawkins

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