First impressions matter so pimp your homepage.
The Look you Need
Look at all these websites, all professionally generated with a corporate feel. That is not the way to go. You want to look individual.
You want to look personal, one-off.
Flashy effects such as scrolling pictures look corporate and distract. People have come for craft. Craft is about contemplation
Your site should quietly offer clarity and lovely things. Thats it, nothing more.
Do nothing because that’s what other sites do.
When people buy craft they are buying two things: the craftsman’s way of life and the crafts piece.
That means you have two things to sell, two routes to take on your home page.
Here a maker takes the product route . It is beautifully simple, it gambles on the viewer being sufficiently attracted to the product displayed to click-through to find more and buy something
Here the maker plays the craftsman / lifestyle card beautifully. This is the central picture on his homepage .
The hope of the maker route is that the visitor will want to plug into the romance of the craftsman’s life by buying a piece of their work. You are hoping for an emotional connection which will predispose the visitor to search for something they can buy.
The risk of this approach is that the visitor may be impatient to see the product and see pictures of the maker as an unnecessary diversion.
Of course you can mix the two approaches but if you do, you spread the appeal, but dilute the power of your message.
If what you are doing is complicated, you need to explain your offer on your homepage. But keep it simple.
Focus & Organise
You cannot have a decent homepage unless you are completely clear what you want it to achieve.
The visitor has arrived, they are looking at that first page. What do you want them to do next?
There should only be text, image and links which lead to your chosen goal.
All communication has to be swift. Your visitors have butterfly minds, they alight very briefly, you have to be quick to catch them.
Say who you are and what you do.
If your work covers different areas offer defined pathways into each area. Mixing media makes a site look like a jumble sale, get it sorted so the visitor arrives and chooses.
Answer the questions your visitors came with. Think from the outside in. What you need to cover depends on what you are offering . Essentially your job is not to persuade people to buy but to offer sufficient information for them to make a decision.
It’s fine to have scroll down on your homepage but make sure the main whack of communication is on that first frame, also that it is obvious there is more to see by scrolling.
Every single word on your Home page has to earn its living.
Cut the inane “wood is perfect or special for any occasion” the sort of thing that sounds good but means nothing
Don’t tell visitors why they need your stuff as in “the perfect wedding present”. They are already open to having it or they wouldn’t be visiting your website.
Don’t balance out sentences. Good web copy is staccato. Visitors are not committed to reading your every word but the fewer there are, the closer they will be to reading it all.
Watch out for a dodgy stance like those Christmas round robins which change person. Don’t use “we” you are not BMW. “We” to you sounds stronger, but to the visitor it sounds evasive.
Don’t self praise, it’s not going to work
Clarity is hugely reassuring to buyers It makes them feel you are someone who knows what they are doing and are easy to deal with and honest.
You can explain yourself in very few words here the main text is simply
” Carol Saunderson
An Artist in the Landscape.
Abstract Landscape Painter, Rural Dweller, Lover of Modernist Art and Design”
Nothing showy but enough to place the artist. It’s a bit repetitive but it makes sure we get it and the repetition is in different parts of the page. The simplicity and calm gets us ready to look at her pictures.
Too Many Links
The cost of putting zillions of links is your visitor blithely goes off in your least desired direction.
Forget about getting up the rankings by having lots of links, just stay around and you rise like scum. Chasing rankings is something that is sold hard by the marketeers but that’s what they are selling. But don’t bother, two seconds later and the rules change and you have slithered back down. Much better make sure that when a visitor does arrive they are herded firmly in the direction you wish.
Don’t link with social sites on your homepage that benefits only the owners of those sites. Of course they tell you to but it is simply a way in which to lose your sale and boost their visitors.
Web surfers jump about like scalded cats hitting links because they caught their eye, so what if they follow you on Twitter, that is not going to fill the fridge is it?
Before you consider images, consider space. Books have great big margins so that they are comfortable to read, websites are the same.
Space > calm
Calm > contemplation
Contemplation > desire
If you were selling printer ink you don’t need space, you need low prices and an instant sale mechanism. If you are selling a piece of craft you need to slow the world down, make it feel rested and offer your lovely object. Space and pictures of nature, the craftsman lost in the creative process are your workhorses,
Mind your images don’t clutter your page, keep it all carefully focused. Home pages are about sacrifice, less is certainly more.
Revisit Rejuvenate Rethink
Every time you up load product you should take a long hard look at your home page. Is it still the best you can do?
For web designers look at http://www.redgreenblue.co.uk/ 5-6 pages, with no shop, costs from £250 They made the first two pictured in this post
Free starter web host look at http://www.create.net/ Brighton based and so far only heard postive things about them
Critical Eye Offer
If you would like a private review of your website’s home page then fill in the contact form . Its £40 a throw. I will take a quick look, make sure that I have something useful to say, then email you a Paypal request for payment which means you can use your credit or debit card Once your money is my money I will send you a brilliant email explaining the changes I think you should make.
But give me your comments here, the same as usual as you often say things which make the post better.