The Case for Page Planning
While page planning isn’t an absolutely necessary step in the page-building process, it can give your website an edge. Instead of jumping straight into the building phase, the planning phase gives you a moment to contemplate best practices, your page’s goals, and more.
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Without the planning step, web pages run the risk of confusing site design and muddling goals. With clear goals in mind, you can create the best page for your website.
But what goals and elements should you put on your welcome page? We’ll be walking you through the defining characteristics and the basic anatomy of a welcome page in the following sections.
Defining Characteristics of a Welcome Page
A welcome page, also commonly referred to as a landing page, normally has one specific goal. The goal will depend on a variety of things, but most welcome pages can be boiled down into one objective: entice the reader to move on to the next phase. Whether the next step is learning more about your business or buying a product, a welcome page’s job is to get the visitor to that point.
Welcome pages are often tied to specific marketing campaigns, like a new product launch or promotion. When used in this way, you can narrow your page into a “funnel.” This funnel will direct people to one action, which ensures that no one is confused about their next step.
What Every Welcome Page Needs
So now you understand the theory behind welcome pages. However, how does that translate into practice? What website elements should you use to achieve these goals? We’ll be going over a few elements that every welcome page needs in this section.
While your home page and one-page podcast site may need a complete navigation menu to help users explore your site, a welcome page does not. Instead, welcome pages should have a very limited navigation menu. This way, you don’t lose visitors who get distracted by other parts of your site, then ultimately leave because they can’t find their way back.
Since the goal of a welcome page is to direct visitors to one action, keeping your navigation options limited helps direct visitors to the right place.
Let’s return to the “funnel” analogy. The visitors are sand, running through your page. You want to funnel the visitors to one specific action (like buying a product). Each exit point on the welcome page is a hole in the funnel. So, the fewer exit points you have, the more visitors you will be able to funnel into your action. The more exit points, the more visitors you’ll lose along the way.
So, if you need navigational elements on the welcome page, be sure you place them intentionally and really analyze whether they’re needed or not.
A “Call-to-Action,” or CTA, is a phrase that tells the visitor how to take action. So, for example, if you’re running a promotion, your CTA might say, “Buy now while stocks last!” or “Get yours today!”
Or if you’re looking for a simpler approach, it might be something like, “Get Started” or “Join Us.” CTAs are meant to be persuasive. You want people to click on them and move to the next step. If you’ve created the perfect argument for why the visitor should move on to the next step, really hit it home with a persuasive CTA.
Ideally, CTAs should contain a link or be a button so that people can click on it and be taken to the next step. Typically, the CTA is the only exit you want to draw attention to on a welcome page.
Don’t be afraid to play with the CTA style. You want it to pop out and grab the reader’s eye. That way, they are never in any doubt where they should go once they’re finished on the welcome page.
Keep Information Simple
A welcome page is created to entice and persuade a visitor. However, it’s easy to fall into the trap of giving the visitor too much information.
The best way to draw a reader in is a combination of clear design and simple information. Visitors don’t need to know everything about the product or promotion you’re selling them. Instead, give them highlights about the things that will matter to them.
Keeping it simple will not only make the visitors’ lives easier, but it also helps get your message across faster. Speed might not seem like it matters, but studies have shown that website visitors take about 50 milliseconds to form an opinion about your website. So the faster you get your point across, the better.
How do you get your point across quickly? Simplicity and clear design.
Persuade, Persuade, Persuade
Persuading your readers to take the next step is a big part of a welcome page. Everything on the welcome page should give the reader a little push toward that call to action. The information and the design should work in tandem to convince the reader that the next step is something they want to take.
Welcome pages are supposed to be persuasive. You want the reader to click that call to action. So include things that will make them want to do this. The other points we’ve talked about all tie into this. Make the design appealing. Simplify the information and format it in an appealing way. Tell them the information that will make them want to take that next step.
Likewise, trim anything that doesn’t contribute to this goal. Whether it’s design or information, anything that doesn’t work toward convincing the reader should be removed.
Your Welcome Page, Your Way
In the end, though, your welcome page is ultimately your own. You can design it however you want. However, if you use the pointers in this article you may see improved visitor traction. In any case, it’s a great place to get started.
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