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The Elements Of An Effective Home Page

First, here is a stat to set the mood:

It takes about 50 milliseconds (that’s 0.05 seconds) for users to form an opinion about your website that determines whether they like your site and whether they’ll stay or leave.

So, the rule doesn’t judge a book by its cover doesn’t apply to your home page — because many times, all someone will see is the cover, which sways their next step.

Because a potential customer is going to land on your home page.

Judge it.

And quickly determine if they're going to go back to scrolling on Instagram or give you their attention.

So, every element on your homepage needs a purpose and reason.

And they both need to align with earning someone's attention.

Don't Make Em’ Think

Nobody wants to land on your homepage and feel like you instantly put their mind on a treadmill.

Because of this, your home page shouldn’t be a calorie burner.

Don’t make a visitor think — be clear, concise, and communicate your value props thoroughly.

The less a consumer thinks about what you do, the more energy they’ll have to imagine a world with you in it.

So, the more calories you force them to burn — the more you diminish their imagination.

Your Above-The-Fold Earns The Scroll

Earning the scrolls means earning attention.

So, your above-the-fold should have one singular goal — and that’s to earn the scroll.

It's valuable real estate.

Make it:

  • Simple
  • Skimmable
  • Straight-Forward

Your above-the-fold's goal is to garner attention and engagement and create a spike of excitement to continue scrolling.

And your below-the-fold earns the sale.

Aspects Of An Effective Above-The-Fold

Here's the template and/or elements of an effective above-the-fold:

  • Large, bold, Skimmable Headline
  • Supportive Sub-headline
  • Product image, video, or GIF that supports the headline
  • Social Proof
  • Addresses Objections
  • Call-To-Action

Let's run through each piece.

The Headline

Nearly every visitor will read your headline before continuing on your site.

Make it stand out.

Make it obvious.

Make it clear.

Here's how:

  • Be large and bold
  • Focus on one idea
  • Have proper spacing
  • Obsess with clarity

In the examples below, we’re going to cover how to write effective headlines for your home page.

1. Address The Doubt That Tackles The Problem

The majority of people search for solutions because of specific problems.

With those problems come doubts.

Address the doubts while tackling the problem.

2. Claim Your Throne

Position yourself as the go-to option.

You do this by narrowing your scope or niching down until you can position yourself as the #1 option.

If you do this, use your social proof to back the claim.

3. Address The What And The Who

Tell them what it is.

And who it's for.

4. Say What You Do

The easiest way to address a specific problem is by saying exactly what you do.

And letting the consumer imagine what you do, is done for them.

5. State The Value Creation

Take the customer's dream and put it in arm's reach.

The Sub-Headline

Your headlines are the attention-grabber.

Your sub-headlines lay the foundation for your claims.

And offer more context.

Let's look at examples that will help you write a good sub-headline.

1. Introduce Your Product

Introduce your product and how it creates the value you promise.

Your headline is the WHAT.

Your sub-headline is the HOW.

2. Weave Features Into Benefits

Let your benefits sell your product.

And let your features differentiate your product.

3. Establish The Results Behind Your Benefits

Your benefits exist to create a desired outcome.

Let them visualize it.

Make it tangible.

And then tell them how you'll do it.

Social Proof

Social proof makes what you say believable.

Without it, what you say is no more than a claim.

There are four frameworks to support what you say above the fold:

1. Customers

2. Timeframe

3. Press

4. Reviews

5. Notable Names

Let's take a look at each.

1. Customers

Share how many customers use your product or service to create instant credibility.

2. Timeframe

Share how many customers have used, signed up for, or purchased your product within a specific time frame.

3. Press

Press from large, known publications solidifies the legitimacy of your product or service.

4. Reviews

Share real reviews from real people.

5. Notable Names

If big-name customers or companies use your product, let their reputation do all the talking.

Tackle Objections

Behind every action not taken, an objection wasn't tackled.

Tackling objections is all about putting yourself in the shoes of a customer and identifying the small roadblocks in their head that put a halt to action.

Let's cover examples.

1. Ahrefs

Objection = Not Ready For The Product Yet

Solution = Get A Free Ahrefs Webmaster Tools Account

Now, this customer becomes a part of their nurturing process.

2. SparkToro

Objection = Not Sure What The Product Does

Solution = Try SparkToro For Free w/out Creating An Account

Let the value convince the customer.

3. Riverside FM

Objection = I Want To Try The Product Before I Sign Up

Solution = 1 Hour Free Recording

Let the customer use it, experience it, and love it.

4. Active Campaign

Objection = I Want To Start A Free Trial But Don't Want To Add My CC Info

Solution = No credit card required.

If they love your product, it'll do all the convincing needed to get the purchase.

Earning The Sale AKA Below The Fold

Now, as much as we’d love for every visitor to convert above the fold, that isn’t going to happen.

So, what are the must-haves on the rest of your page that earn the sale?

Using An Open Loop To Drive The Scroll

So, outside of having a killer above the fold.

You can earn the scroll by using an open loop.

Open loops are curiosity-inducing and tell the consumer there is more to be seen.

Let's look at examples:

1. ConvertKit

Right above the “fold,” they’ve placed text that would be curiosity-inducing for their ideal prospect.

How does ConvertKit help creators grow their audience?

How does ConvertKit help creators make a living?

To answer those questions, prospects need to start the scroll.

Earning the scroll turns an elevator pitch into a full-on conversation.

2. Muddy Bites

Muddy Bites uses animation to draw the visitor’s attention and initiate the scroll.

3. Farmer's Dog

Farmer's Dog uses a second headline to engage you and tell you that there is more important information below.

The Remaining Components Of An Effective Home Page

Okay, you did it.

They scrolled.

Now, what?

It's time to educate, differentiate, share use cases, prove our claims, and answer any questions.

Let's go through it section by section.

Differentiate Your Product

If you're in a saturated market, it's imperative to differentiate yourself.

Personally, I like to add a section early in the scroll to differentiate a product.

So it stays top of mind and doesn't get lost in the weeds.

Because your differentiation factor is your competitive advantage.

The better you can cement it, the better chance you have of staying top of mind when a prospect is searching around for a solution.


In the image above, Farmer's Dog illustrates why they're different and how they're different.

This is a perfect segway to introduce the benefits behind your differentiation.

Segway To The Benefits

You differentiated yourself.

Now, amplify the benefits behind the differentiation.

Don't overlook how you position your benefits.

It's not enough to say what it does for the customer.

You need to take the consumer into another world.

One where their desires are reality.

Example: Maven

Maven does a great of using its benefits to spark the imagination of a creator.

They start by identifying the desire for 99% of creators: Make a living teaching what you love.

Then list the benefits of using Maven to do so:

1. Create a highly leveraged asset

2. Build your brand as the go-to-expert

3. Strengthen your community

These benefits take the creator and project them into a future where they see this as their reality.

This is why Apple's infamous "1000 songs in your pocket" headline was such a success.

Because it took the consumer into a world where they saw themselves walking their dog, at the gym, sitting outside, listening to their favorite song.

Position Your Features As Benefits

The best features are disguised as micro-benefits.

The majority of your customers won't care about the small features you ship.

Nor will they make a buying decision based on them.

But how can you get them to care?

By disguising these features as benefits.

Example: Hugo

So, let's take Hugo here.

Let's disguise this feature as a benefit.

Wrong: Streamline Your Meeting Prep

Right: Save 45 Minutes A Week Streamlining Your Meeting Prep

Now, the customer knows they can streamline the meeting prep aka the feature.

And they can see a world where they save 45 minutes a week doing so.

Tell Them How It Works

Imagine finding a piece of furniture you love but you have no clue how to build it.

Now, what you loved is a pain in your ass.

The same goes for any product or service.

Instructions are everything.

You can't expect a consumer to just know how something works.

Be their guide.

Walk them through the process step-by-step.

This is the importance of your "How-To" section.

It's meant to indicate a frictionless set-up process.

And educate the consumer on what needs to be done.

Example: Sound Inside

Here's what to remember to create a crystal clear how it works section:

1. The Fewer Steps = Fewer Mental Calories - Only add what is essential.

2. Use Instructional Language - Use verbs relevant to your product.

3. Add Visuals - Using visuals helps illustrate each step.

Continue To Convince With Endless Social Proof

Customers buy from brands they know, like, and trust.

Social proof comes in multiple forms:

  • Customer reviews & testimonials
  • Insider Data
  • Case Studies
  • Notable Users
  • UGC
  • Press

Let's run through each one.

1. Customer Reviews & Testimonials

A lot of brands cut corners here.

The more specific the testimonial, the better.

For example, compare these two reviews for ConvertKit:

“5 stars. Love the product. Thanks.”


“Whether I’m providing a service or selling beats, I need to be able to reach my audience directly with no middleman. ConvertKit puts me back in charge of my promotion.”

The latter is pulled directly from the ConvertKit site and is meant to speak to a segment within their audience - musicians.

And they do this at scale (more later).

This review:

  • Addresses multiple use cases (selling beats, providing a service)
  • Shows how ConvertKit solves a pain point (no more middle man)
  • Illustrates the ideal outcome (being in charge of your own promotion)

If you were an aspiring musician, which of those reviews would make you more likely to buy?

So, think about how you can strategically ask for reviews & testimonials in a way that speaks directly to the pain points your customer faces.

And if you have multiple customer personas -- then copy what ConvertKit does.

ConvertKit sells to all types of “creators” — musicians, podcasters, writers, and more.

Ahrefs sells to SEO agencies, freelancers, B2B, eCommerce brands, etc.

See the challenge here?

It’s simple to speak to pain points, objections, and ideal outcomes of an ultra-specific group, but how do you talk to the pain points of such a diverse target audience?

Instead of just selecting a handful of 5-star reviews and calling it a day, identify your distinct user categories and select a review that speaks deeply to each one.

Here's how ConvertKit does it:

Ahrefs does it too:

Each review speaks to pain points and ideal outcomes that the distinct buyer persona would care about. It makes them say, “Hey, that’s just like me,” in their heads.

This is one of the best ways for a home page to capture the interest of the largest percentage of your target audience possible.

2. Insider Data

Insider data means pulling back the curtain and revealing numbers like your current customer base.

Insider data is different for every company.

ConvertKit does another great job of amplifying their social proof.

This section shares:

1. Insider Data - 428,152 Creators reaching over 253M fans

2. Notable Names - Tim Ferris, Tim McGraw, Arnold Schwarzenegger

3. Case Studies - They give the option to click out to case studies to further illustrate what they do.


3. Notable Names

Dropping notable names is like a brag bar.

You share the big names that use your product and are relevant to your audience.

These are the names that carry trust.

And make the consumer say "if X is using it then it must be good."

Example: Riverside.fm

4. Press and Awards

Lastly, your brag bar.

Drop reputable press and awards that solidify your positioning.

Example: Tempo

5. User-Generated Content

The best social proof comes straight from your customers.

And also from their social channels.

Because it's so good they share it with their friends.

Example: Riverside.fm

Frequently Asked Questions

Lastly, tackle any objections by adding a frequently asked questions section to your home page.

Example: MasterClass

Use A Call To Value To Convert The Customer

You’ve done everything, but your homepage needs the last push over the edge.

You need a call-to-value.

This is what prompts the visitor to take your desired action after landing on your page.

Different types of CTA’s can include:

  • Prompting the user to shop now
  • Prompting the user to begin a free trial (common in SaaS)
  • Prompting the user to opt-in for email or SMS marketing

But, instead of a CTA, we want to focus on a CTV.

So, instead of telling the customer to take action...

We remind the customer of the value of the backend of the action.


Putting It Together Piece By Piece

Okay, let's run through it again quickly...

Above The Fold:

  • Large, bold, Skimmable Headline
  • Supportive Sub-headline
  • Product image, video, or GIF that supports the headline
  • Social Proof
  • Addresses Objections
  • Call-To-Action

Below The Fold Section By Section:

  • Differentiate Yourself
  • List The Benefits
  • Disguise The Features As Benefits
  • Explain How It Works
  • Share Ample Amounts Of Social Proof
  • Add a FAQ Section
  • Finalize With A Call To Value

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