Video: 5 Things Your Business Home Page Needs

In this video, Daniel DiGriz explains the five things that should appear on the home page of every small business web site for successful internet marketing.

Hi. I’m Daniel DiGriz, president of Market Moose Internet Marketing. What I’d like to talk with you about today are the five things that need to be on every small business website’s homepage.

Your homepage is probably the single most important page on your website. By your homepage, I mean your landing page. A lot of people confuse those terms (“homepage” and “website”). Your homepage is the first place on your website that new visitors land when we type in your dot-com.

Your homepage needs to have, at a minimum, five things. Your homepage needs to say who you are, what you do, where you do it, why choose you, and what to do next. I know that today it’s very important to keep your website from being cluttered, but, at the same time, if you do not at least have these five things, you’re losing visitors because they don’t have sufficient information to make a decision to call you, contact you, or purchase from you on the first page without clicking anything. Given an atmosphere where people are pulling up multiple sites on search engines and looking at them, that’s what you need to do: grab them and capture them on the first page – your homepage.

“Who you are” is a summary of who you are as a company. It is not just your brand name or your company name. I don’t mean necessarily how long you’ve been in business or your life story. What it needs to cover are the basics that I need to know: a profile of your company. For example, “I’m a real estate agent who covers the San Francisco area and deals primarily in condos and single-family properties.” That’s a “who you are.” If you want, you can add to that a couple of things like how long you’ve been in business, but I wouldn’t make it a history lesson. 100 words is normal.

The second thing that you need is “what you do.” Obviously, if you’re a product-driven website, this is going to be a little different than it would be for a service-based organization. Product-driven websites are going to focus on what they’re selling. A service-based organization is going to focus on their services. It’s very important to get a complete list of your services into this part of your homepage. I realize that this is going to be a challenge because you may have a lot of services that you offer. So, the goal is to get those services listed that you think people are going to search for in search engines. For instance, if you’re in a marketing company like me, “search engine optimization” or “SEO” needs to be a part of it. If you’re a real estate appraiser, what type of appraisals do you do? It’s not enough to say, “We do all types of appraisals.” That’s a summary, but no one goes to Google and types in, “Show me all types of appraisals.” They might type in, “divorce appraisal,” “litigation appraisal” or “tax assessment appeal appraisal.” So, if those terms are not in your website – and, specifically, if they’re not in your homepage – the chances of you coming up in those searches are relatively slim. You’re not going to appear very high up in those search results.

Next is “where you do it.” If you’re an Internet marketing company like me that deals globally, then it’s enough to say, “We deal with everyone. We work all over the world.” You may want to instead focus on the industries that you cover. For example, “We handle real estate clients, primarily,” or “attorneys and medical practices.” Or, say that you deal with everyone but list all of the people that you deal with: “A lot of our clients include real estate appraisers and medical practices.” But if you were a real estate appraiser, for instance, then you would want to list all of the counties and towns that you cover.

Just to give you an example from real estate appraisal, a lot of appraisers are used to the real estate industry where mortgage brokers will search for them under the county: “We cover Orange County.” But what about all of the towns that are in Orange County? The homeowners and attorneys out there are more likely to go to Google and simply type in a town name. If we’re looking for an appraiser in Oceanside, California, we’ll type in “appraiser oceanside ca.” You want to make sure that phrases like “oceanside” and “ca” are in your website. So, make sure that you list the full gamut of place names that you cover. If you’re a medical practice and you work in a metro area like Oklahoma City, for instance, make sure that you list things like, “We serve all of Oklahoma City and surrounding areas including Moore, Norman, Del City, Midwest City,” etc. That way, you’re getting all of those searches as well.

The next thing is “why choose you.” This is where you list your market differentiators. These are the things that make you unique and different as a business. They are the different things that you do to add value. Don’t fill this area with things like, “We’re reliable. We have integrity. We’re honest. We’re experts.” Everybody says that stuff. That’s not a market differentiator. No one searches for that stuff, either, so it’s really a waste of space. Remember that your homepage is a marketing instrument. Your goal is to get clients. So, how do you convert contacts into clients? It’s one thing to get a gazillion hits. It’s another thing for those hits to turn into meaningful contacts that contact you versus the other two results that they’ve pulled up in a search engine on the average. Market differentiators are verbs. They’re the things that you actually do that are different than everyone else in your field.

To use real estate appraisers again for an example, I’ve had real estate appraisers tell me that all real estate appraisers do the same thing. You might just as easily hear this about divorce attorneys or psychologists, right? But it’s not true. Some real estate appraisers put satellite photos in there. That may not be something that’s valuable to you, but the perceived value to your client makes it a market differentiator. So, when you deliver a report that has a satellite photo, you’re adding value. Make sure that that is listed on the front page of your website, on your homepage, under “what we do differently,” “how we’re different” or “why you should choose us.”

So, again, market differentiators are verbs. These are the things that you’re willing to do differently, such as guarantee 24-hour response time, or “All reports delivered in triplicate: one by back-up copy sent by mail,” or something like that. “We give you a thumb drive that contains all photos taken on the property – even those not used in the report,” etc.

The last thing is “what to do next.” A lot of people shortchange themselves on this. They have an e-mail address, they have a phone number, and that’s not enough. What you need to do is give the client or the visitor lots of options. Maybe you order online. You fax, you e-mail, but you can also fill out a contact form or a lead capture form on the site. One of the reasons to have a form in this part of your homepage is – think about it like this. It’s the middle of the night. I know that if I call you, I’m going to get voice mail or an answering machine or a service. I’m probably not going to get you. But, this is when I’m researching. I’m home, I’m done with my workday, and I need to find something for the next day. Also, I may not want to click on my e-mail software. I may not want to click on an e-mail address and have it open Outlook which might take me five minutes on an older computer. Instead, if you provide a form, all I have to do is type in my name and e-mail address, and ask you my question. You, the website owner, are much more likely to get a contact off of that than the other guys who force me to open up e-mail and compose something.

So, consider the convenience of your client and how easy it is for him to contact you. Offer lots of ways to do it. Some people are going to want to e-mail. Some are going to want to call. Some are going to want to order online immediately. Give them all of the ways that they can contact you at this point – “what to do next.” Give them options.

That’s it. Those are the five things that should be on every homepage.

This is Daniel DiGriz from Market Moose Internet Marketing.

Daniel DiGriz

Daniel DiGriz is a corporate storyteller and Digital Ecologist® at MadPipe, which provides creative direction, marketing leadership, and campaign direction for firms that want a stronger connection with their audience. A Digital Ecologist® applies strategic principles from both natural and digital ecologies to help organizations thrive across multiple ecosystems. Daniel hosts podcasts, speaks at conferences, and his ideas have appeared in Inc, SmartBlog, MediaPost, Forbes, and Success Magazine.

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