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Make Your Homepage Content More Usable

Posted on April 16, 2015
by Marcus Fishman

Make Your Homepage Content More Usable

No page on your website is more important than your homepage, which is why it needs to make a strong first impression on your visitors. To make sure that happens, you need keep in mind some of the unique usability concerns when it comes to writing content for your website’s homepage.

Why do website homepages have usability concerns that are different from other pages on your website? It’s because of their purpose. They can’t just display lots of text – that’s the job of your internal pages. Homepages have to present a snapshot of a lot of information at once, and they have to do it in a way that both entices new visitors to explore your website further, and makes it easy for returning visitors to find what they’re looking for.

Presenting that much information isn’t easy, and it becomes even more difficult to do when different groups within a business or organization start wanting real estate on it. Tough decisions need to be made when it comes to a homepage’s content, but if you couch your discussions in the content usability terms below, they might become easier to make.

With all of this in mind, here are some tips and considerations you can follow when planning the content on your homepage or if you want to improve the usability of your existing homepage content.

4 important questions to answer

Visitors returning to your website will already know what your business/organization is about and what you do, but new visitors won’t know that information. This is one of the main purposes that a homepage serves, so make sure to answer these 4 questions somewhere that your visitors will have about your website somewhere on yours:

  • Who are you? – Visitors might want to see details about who you are. For small businesses, it helps them make a connection with the business owner, and for larger organizations or corporations, it can help support recruiting, PR, etc. Either way, it helps in establishing credibility with the visitor.
  • What is it you do? – Use a tagline to convey your purpose, and put it near the top of your homepage where people can see it right away. Just don’t write it so that’s vague and full of marketing-speak – keep it real and tell your visitors what they’re gaining by visiting your website.
  • What can I find here? – Your homepage provides a starting point for where the visitors can browse to elsewhere on the website. There should be clear links to the most popular areas of your website; for example, if it’s your blog or news updates, include links to that content.
  • What action do you want me to take? – Your primary call-to-action needs to be displayed prominently and written in a way that encourages visitors to take that action. If your call-to-action is either hidden or poorly communicated on it, most people won’t actually do what you want them to do.

Incorporating this information in a way that new visitors can easily find it but returning visitors can avoid it if they want to isn’t easy. If you write your homepage’s content clearly and concisely, and design the homepage so that things are easy to find but easy to avoid as well, you should be fine.

4 ideas for more usable content

While your website’s homepage needs to be designed so that visitors can find what they’re looking for quickly, easily, and intuitively, when it comes to content, you want to strike a balance between providing information on the homepage itself and drawing people further into your website. Here are some ways to accomplish that:

  • Emphasize keywords in your link text – Visitors scan the homepage of your website, so you want to make sure that your links are written in a way that attracts their attention and emphasizes the keywords that they’re looking for. As always, avoid using “click here” in your link text.
  • Use images for emphasis – People notice images before they do the text around an image, so using them can be great visual indicators of what the content or links around the image are about. The key is finding an image that intuitively communicates what that content is.
  • Keep it to a few screens – Don’t overwhelm visitors with lots of content on your homepage – ideally, the homepage should be 1 to 3 (at most) screens in length, with the most strategic links above the fold. If you do find yourself with a ton of information, it’s time to make decide what really belongs there.
  • Use content less and links more – Every inch of a homepage is valuable territory, and large chunks of text eat up prime real estate. Great homepages strike a balance between the amount of written content on them (with less being more) and links to the content elsewhere on the website.


What are some tips that you have for writing better homepage content or for improving the usability of your homepage content? Do you think focusing on the content of your homepage alone will make the homepage more usable, or is it more a function of design? Share your thoughts with everyone by leaving a comment below!

About Marcus Fishman

Marcus has been working professionally with websites since 2001, and offers a wide range of website knowledge from his years of experience working with, designing, and building websites. He lives in Raleigh, North Carolina.