Homepage: Create a clear path for your site’s visitors

Consider both user objectives and business objectives when developing the content and layout for your homepage.

Some users’ visit to your site may be the first they’ve heard of your organization or event. Your homepage should provide context and help visitors quickly understand if they’re in the right place. Briefly explain who you are, what you do, and — if it isn’t clear — who you serve.

Once you’ve signaled to visitors who you are, establish a clear path for them to follow. To identify the path or paths users should follow, consider why they may be visiting your site (user objectives), and what actions you hope they’ll take (business objectives).

In many cases, the user objectives and business objectives for your homepage may overlap or be the same. If an element on your homepage (or your site, for that matter) doesn’t support either one, consider whether that element is truly necessary.

Who are you, and what do you do?

An effective homepage communicates a clear purpose. Your headlines, images and layout should support your purpose or main message.

Why are users coming to your website, and what do they want to do when they visit?

A good homepage creates a satisfying user experience, providing a clear path to the information or actions users want.

What do you want your users to do when they visit?

A good homepage also provides a clear and easy route towards the action you want users to take or the information you want users to have.

See sample homepages in the WashU Web theme »