Once you’ve decided that you need a website, the decision about what content to include on your home page becomes an important issue. Think of your home page as a first impression of your business. Research has demonstrated that website viewers judge the quality of a website in a matter of seconds. If your goal is to gain regular visitors, readers, and customers, then the quality of your home page should be a primary concern.


What should your home page include? The following home page essentials will help you determine which elements and information should be featured on your home page. By planning carefully, choosing information wisely, and using an effective page design, your website will be more appealing and useful to visitors.


1. Describe Yourself or Your Company


Your identity is the first piece of information you must convey to your readers. The simplest way to do this is to create a logo or tagline that describes your company and service. Your company name and logo allow visitors to easily identify you, while your tagline should briefly and concisely explain your purpose. Don’t bother with long-winded explanations or mission statements here. Instead, focus your efforts on creating a short, descriptive phrase that resonates with your readers.


2. Create User-Friendly Site Navigation


Once users arrive at your home page, they need to be able to find what they are looking for. The ability to quickly and easily find content on your site is one of the key aspects on which users will judge your homepage. Organize your website content well and include clear navigation links to guide your viewers through the content of your site.


How can you help viewers find what they need? Make your home page navigation simple, logical, and well organized. Use words or phrases that clearly describe what a user will find when they click on a link. Achieving user-friendly site navigation requires a certain amount of planning and organization. When creating site content, consider which category each page falls into. Site navigation is similar to the table of content in a textbook and should give users and indication of what they will find on your site.


3. Highlight Latest News and Updates


Frequent visitors to your home page will want information on the latest news and site updates. A small feature area on your home page is a great way to highlight the newest information found on your site. The addition of a blog on your home page is also a great way to keep readers informed about what is happening. Including the latest news and updates is a great way to feature new content and call attention to recent achievements, sales, or special events.


4. Emphasize Interactive Content


The interactive nature of the Internet is one of the greatest benefits of online content. Online visitors want to feel involved and able to take some type of action when viewing a website. How can you make your site more interactive? The addition of polls, quizzes, chat rooms, forums, and online newsletters are all great ways to allow your readers to take a more active role when visiting your website.


Not only do these features spice up your home page; they also provide important feedback on how users are relating to your site. Quizzes and polls can provide information on what topics most interest your readers, while chat rooms and forums provide a place for site members to interact and discuss topics related to your home page. A site newsletter is a great way to interact directly with your readers and inspire frequent return visitors.


5. Provide Contact Information


The most important detail to include on your home page is a way to contact you for further information or feedback. Don’t force users to search for your contact information. Instead, include a clearly labeled link on your homepage that leads directly to your e-mail address, business phone number, or feedback form. The ability to interact directly with readers and customers makes your home page far more effective. The comments and questions you receive from visitors also provide important information about the effectiveness of your home page.