With all the talk about landing pages we do as digital marketers, it’s vital not to overlook the role of a website’s homepage.
The homepage may not be where people start, but it is where they go when they need to navigate quickly or when they return to your site later.
A homepage might not leave the first impression, but it leaves the lasting impression.
Benefits of a Well-Designed Homepage
A great homepage is meant for more than just looking aesthetically pleasing, even though that is a part of it. There are lots of other benefits that follow the looks.
Here are just a few:
Increases Brand Awareness
If you make your website memorable, then it will be that much easier to generate returning visitors and brand buzz.
Your brand image and values should be obvious through the messaging of every page on your site, especially the homepage.
The homepage is the door to the rest of your site and everything that will inform your visitors on your value, offers, products, and background.
Without it, no one will be able to identify who you are or why you own your position in the market.
Improves User Experience
A well-built homepage usually translates into an easy interface that visitors have no sweat navigating. By providing access to the information that they're looking for in an organized fashion, you're providing them with value right out the gate.
Visitors definitely take notice of their user experience and it carries a lot of influence over their purchasing decisions. Play off of that psychology by building a homepage with that in mind.
As frustrating as it may be, you need to make a great impression in order to convert visitors. They're looking to see value and trust, which, as marketers, translates to presenting them with incentive and opportunity.
If you make it easier for them to get what they need on or through your homepage, then you'll have a much easier time boosting your conversion numbers.
A sloppy or unattractive homepage usually only results in a high bounce rate.
Important Elements on a Homepage
Of course, as creative as we'd encourage you to be in your homepage design, there are certain elements you'll want to incorporate so that it really packs a punch.
It's like a puzzle. Every picture looks different in the end, but you still need the pieces to put it together.
An Effective and Evolving Design
A great homepage is going to be effective in meeting all the key points we've discussed so far: communicate value, build trust, assist visitors, and attract buzz.
To achieve all of that, you'll want to use a combination of different strategies. Incorporate CTAs, whitespace, a great style guide, and excellent copy to create a fantastic layout.
It's also important to be adaptable and evolving as time goes on. Static homepages usually become outdated pretty quickly. Change the page as the needs of your visitors and trends of the market change.
An easy to navigate desktop homepage isn't the final goal. It's important to be mobile-friendly as well.
Too many graphics or complicated designs and features have a tendency to get convoluted and messy when they're opened on different platforms. Make sure to optimize your page for mobile use, which is incredibly popular in today's world.
Caters to Audience Appeal
Your homepage is not meant to be a widely casted net. Keep your buyer personas and target audience in mind when building the page.
It needs to be focused on the type of customer that you can best serve and who have the highest chance of converting. Eliminate any fluff and use language that will attract and appeal to your preferred audience.
By being value forward on your homepage, you have a higher chance of keeping visitors on your site than trying to capture their attention on a deeper landing page or blog post.
That's not to say you can't bring in traffic or convert on those pages, but, typically, your homepage is the first point of contact for traffic. Show them right off the bat that you've got what they're looking for and they'll stick around long enough for you to prove it instead of going to a competitor.
20 of the Very Best Homepage Design Examples
There's plenty of inspiration on the web to draw ideas from. Some homepages are breathtaking and visually unique. Others are tremendously functional and deliver on their promises immediately.
It all depends on their (and your!) business style and brand appeal.
Let’s look at some amazing examples right now:
Airbnb’s brand has seen better days, but its homepage design has never been better. Minimalism is often a sign of a modern homepage that communicates quickly and provides great mobile experience.
In just one sentence, Airbnb draws you in and gets you ready to start searching its site. Breathtaking visuals evoke a spirit of exploration users with wanderlust are sure to love.
Dropbox has been described as the company everyone is trying to kill. Its homepage design is no doubt one of the things that’s made it resilient: In less than 20 words, it tells you everything you need to know to get started with its solutions and how you stand to benefit.
Those looking for complex or custom solutions can scroll on to a snappy side-by-side comparison.
Nine words at the top of the homepage firmly establish eWedding as the leader in personalized wedding websites.
Two buttons with clear CTAs appeal to qualified leads at different steps in the decision-making process – with social proof and site snapshots impossible to overlook. Plenty of whitespace and the perfect color scheme gives it a light, airy, welcoming feel.
Medium is a publishing platform that has attracted thousands of would-be thought leaders, as well as many established voices.
Although it bucks convention by leaving its value proposition halfway down the page, by the time you get there you’ve almost certainly been hooked by one of the many magazine-like articles on the ever-changing, curated space above the fold.
From total obscurity and dismal performance, KIND Snacks have burst onto the scene with some of the strongest branding around.
KIND invites you to jump in and start shopping for healthy snacks in the banner. The traditional top navigation is all but replaced by image-driven product categories. Bright colors and friendly, value-driven text say “healthy” and “wholesome.”
REI has made its name in two ways: As a top supplier of outdoor gear and a leader in related content.
REI’s key goal is to drive membership in its co-op, and this is reflected everywhere in the colorful, customized CTAs and image panels. Customers who have no interest in all that also instantly see the online store’s thirteen major product areas.
7. Zenni Optical
Zenni Optical thrives on personalization and offers a chic, yet cost-effective alternative to stores like Lenscrafters.
As you’d expect, its homepage design thrives on the visual: The main image carousel focuses on timely offers, while unique features, common questions, and top products are found just below. Both the stylish glasses and their hip wearers are the heroes.
Udemy specializes in online video courses developed by independent experts. The homepage underscores its selling point – low price – while orienting customers to the huge library of material.
With a customized list of general topic areas at the top and an ever-evolving list of personalized course recommendations below the banner, this page is magnetic.
Amazon’s homepage design is a result of years spent crunching terabytes of data. The goal: To create a compelling ecommerce experience that gets people browsing even when they don’t plan to buy.
With offers and even entire design elements customized to user behavior, it’s almost impossible to visit without seeing something you’re interested in.
The Netflix homepage design positions the brand as the #1 alternative to traditional movie-going in just seven words!
Its bright, eye-catching “Join free for a month” button is a world-class CTA example. New users interested in learning more – and those with common objections – can find out everything they might want to know in three minimalist, yet highly visual page segments.
Etsy is a site where independent merchants, many of them crafters, can display and sell unique wares.
The header image orients users to the hottest site-wide offer. Just beneath, new users learn the basics of the site in three quick headers. It’s hard not to get pulled into the ever-rotating “Popular Right Now” items – and that’s certainly intentional.
Nike is one of the most recognized brands in the world, so its homepage design won’t waste time on a bunch of details you already know.
You can reach any category of Nike shoe in just one click, so most people won’t spend much time on the homepage. Those who do will find exciting, ultra-visual hooks for flagship products.
Chipotle has some heavy lifting to do to maintain its value-driven “food with integrity” brand.
With its current homepage design, it’s on the right track. The food remains the star, but an unobtrusive, yet effective ticker has been added to the top of the page to drive mobile app downloads. Online ordering and delivery are prominent, too.
Health insurance is by no means a fun topic, but the homepage for Oscar makes it more humane and personable – starting with the URL itself (“Hi Oscar.”)
Everything from the art style to the clever use of whitespace is intended to make a daunting topic simpler. The copy underscores this with concepts like the “concierge” personal care team.
A24 has been kicking butt over the last few years with their films, and they take the opportunity to showcase it on their homepage.
Composed of trailers for their new projects, behind the scenes notes of popular movies, and a fun shop, the production house does a great job of meeting visitor expectations.
The Slack homepage sticks to its unique style guide with a clever mix of colors and illustrations. The messaging on the page is pretty straightforward, "Slack gives your team the power and alignment you need to do your best work."
It's clear what visitors should do next — sign up or sign in. There's a pretty comprehensive nav bar as well, helping visitors explore as they dive a bit deeper.
trivago gets straight to the point. This homepage wastes no time in providing value, offering visitors the option to start searching for the next hotel stay first thing.
Need a bit of inspiration? Check out their blog! The simplicity of the page takes the stress out of vacationing.
Nest's homepage is a bit different from the others. As you can see, Nest has moved its site to the Google Store. And while that may seem like a bit of a misdirection, it's actually genius.
Instead of confusing current customers by taking down the homepage entirely, they take the time to inform visitors of the change and redirect them to the official store. On top of that, check out the tiny navigation in the upper right corner.
Customers can still sign in or find support on this page if necessary. Talk about a great user experience.
19. 4 Rivers Smokehouse
Wanna learn how to showcase your products? Take a page out of 4 Rivers' book.
They highlight their new menu items front and center, making visitors' mouths drool the moment the page loads. The CTAs are pretty clear and engaging as well. Go ahead and order your meal online or look into catering.
Evernote is another great example of a homepage that has brand awareness at the center. Known for its simple note-taking features, the homepage expands the scope of that reputation showing how the app has become an entire organizational suite. It has a pretty, clean nav bar and a color scheme that pops, but isn't too harsh. An excellent effort by a well recognized brand.
Your homepage can do a lot for you when it comes to boosting your brand and converting new customers. You'll want to give it all the love and attention you can. And, thankfully, you have some pretty great examples to follow after.
What’s your favorite site for homepage inspiration? Tell us below!