Ever take the time to really think about the gateway into your business' website? Yes—we're talking about your homepage. Your website homepage design should be enticing enough to draw "window shoppers" further into your website and to eventually convert them into customers.
If you've felt pressured to hire a professional to handle your homepage design (or redesign), you're not alone—but it's also (probably) not necessary.
Simply by spending some time to square away your strategy and brush up on current homepage design trends, you can mimic professional web designers without incurring the expense.
Let's start with the basics: What is a homepage?
A homepage is "the introductory page of a website, typically serving as a table of contents for the site," according to Oxford Languages.
It’s the starting point of a website and is the default page when a visitor enters your website via domain name. For example, www.leadpages.com will display the Leadpages homepage.
Why should I care about designing a homepage?
First impressions matter. Your website offers the first impression of your business, so you must care about designing the perfect homepage. The good news is that there are lots of great examples out there, so in essence, the design work is already done for you. It’s more about picking the right design for your business.
How do you design a homepage?
There’s a lot that goes into designing a homepage. Elements of one can include:
- Site menu and navigation
- Headline and subheads
- Hero image or video
- Copy, including company mission statement
- Supporting imagery
- Background colors or images
- Call-to-action button or pop-up
- Search bar
Pro tip: Head to Hubspot and check out a compelling infographic on homepage element must-haves.
Your homepage shouldn't hodge-podge all of these elements together. Start by mindfully placing them based on a hierarchy of importance.
If you are starting a homepage from scratch, consider using a website builder. It will do the heavy lifting to help you identify and structure your homepage elements through templates. For example, with Leadpages, we work tirelessly to find the templates that have the best conversion rates and highlight them within our template library.
What makes a good homepage design?
Before we dig into the trends specifically, it’s important to understand what makes them good. A good homepage design balances beauty and function. It should not only have the above elements, but it should go beyond the call to make it easy for visitors to understand what your business is all about. Here are some of the common themes of the best homepages out there:
1. It vividly describes a business
While well-known brands might be able to get away with a scarce homepage, most businesses can't. To this end, a great homepage describes their business and what they do. If visitors can't identify what your business is all about fast, they will skedaddle.
2. It targets your core audience
Good homepages don't actually appeal to everyone in the world. Rather, they are narrowly focused and speak to the right people (A.K.A) people who they know will buy from them.
3. It communicates value to your core audience
"The homepage is the best place to nail your value proposition so that prospects choose to stay on your website and not navigate to your competitors'," says Hubspot. It should answer "what's in it for me" quickly and efficiently.
Focus on the user by helping visitors quickly identify with what you're offering and determine if their needs can be fulfilled. In addition, it should provide examples and inspiration to help visitors imagine themselves using your product or service.
4. It’s optimized for all devices
Today's homepages should be mobile- and desktop-optimized. While 30% of all website traffic comes from a handheld device like a mobile phone or tablet, 90% of small business websites don't design for these devices' screen size.
That’s a costly mistake. In fact, failing to have a "responsive" site or one optimized for these devices can drive away customers, hinder your search engine rankings and look unprofessional.
Here's what makes a responsive design:
- It adapts to any screen size
- It loads quickly
- Flexible images and layout
To tell if your small business website is responsive, or needs a little work, use Google's mobile-friendly test tool. All you have to do is enter your URL and Google will rate your website's mobile-friendliness using handy color-coded guides. And it ranks everything from mobile page speed to screen capacity.
Remember: just because your homepage looks excellent on a desktop computer, it may not communicate effectively on a smaller mobile device, nor will it load quickly. To design responsively, make sure your visual assets (images, background, etc.) can scale on any device.
5. It starts the sales funnel
Every well-done homepage has a goal of luring customers further through the sales funnel. Whether it's implementing a pop-up page, lead form, or call-to-action button, a great homepage is a lead-generation engine. Again, the key is making it easy for visitors to take action on your page. Tell them what to do next, so they don't get overwhelmed or lost.
6. It changes
We are decades beyond the internet's infancy. When once websites were a set-it-and-forget-it endeavor for business owners, today's website is now known to be fluid.
The best homepages out there evolve based on your visitors' needs.
Homepage operators (or small business owners) change their homepages frequently; looking at website data, conversion optimization testing, and filling in the gaps to reflect their visitors' common questions and answers. Point blank: homepages should be dynamic and have a ton of data inputs!
A homepage layout should anticipate user needs and should also answer "Where will my visitors land next?" and "What do my visitors want to know about?"
Pro tip: Take visitors on a journey and build a relationship by offering relevant info in exchange for their email. (But, don't expect them to book/buy on the first visit).
7. It looks awesome
A beautiful homepage makes a significant impact on visitors. It shows professionalism and can impress someone enough to take the next step in the journey, whether that's a purchase or opting in to further communication from your business.
Beyond beauty, a great homepage pays attention to current homepage design trends.
So, drumroll, please… From design aesthetics to user experience, here are twelve homepage design trends to help you boost your homepage engagement to draw visitors further into your website.
Top 12 homepage design trends to help you stand out from the crowd:
1. Captivate with oversized hero images
Humans have the attention span of a goldfish. According to Tony Haile of Chartbeat, a website only has 15 seconds to capture your attention. Because of this, your website has to work quickly to captivate and communicate.
Your ticket? Use bold (and oversized) imagery. "Because vision is perhaps the strongest human sense, a hero image is one of the fastest ways to grab the user's attention," says author Nick Babich in a Smashing Magazine feature article.
"Bold, graphic, and intentional imagery engages the user. It draws the user in immediately and makes a perfect centerpiece for a minimalist app or website. A hero image is more than just a pretty picture. It's a powerful communication tool."
Fullscreen and singular hero sections can help set your homepage's tone and bring focus on your business's primary M.O. It can also enliven your homepage by building depth into page content.
You can use photographs directly related to your business, vector backgrounds, illustrated artwork, and even video.
And while previously web designers shied away from below-the-fold designs, this is no longer the case, as most people inherently know to scroll down on a webpage to find the content they're seeking. But use your discretion on this one—and maybe some A/B testing if possible.
A captivating hero image can convey a message and a greater brand story. Let your visual cues answer "what's in it for me" and "what is this business all about" on your homepage design.
So, how do you create a hero image that will slay potential conversions?
Here is framework for selecting hero images from Three Deep Marketing:
- Keyword relevance: Does your hero image visualize your targeted homepage keyword?
- Clarity of purpose: Does your hero image clarify the primary point of your homepage and website?
- Supportive of design: Does your hero image support flow to the call to action?
- Authenticity: Does your hero visual represent your brand's core values and what it stands for?
- Added value: Does your hero visual demonstrate the benefits of your business?
- Desired emotion: Does your hero visual portray emotions that will help to trigger the desired action?
- Customer as the hero: Does your hero visual depict the customer using the product or service?
2. Incorporating negative space
Source: Stephanie Tang Waldrop
In line with the general website design trends of 2021, simplicity in your homepage design will continue to be important.
In fact, all layouts and sections of your homepage should be uncluttered and simple. Minimalism helps focus the message and reinforces a sense of professionalism. The fewer elements on a homepage, the less your audience has to think. When a homepage is designed properly, it will reveal to its visitors the exact information they need, and when. Incorporating negative space gives your homepage elements breathing room and helps visitors more easily digest information.
Minimalistic homepage design also has a technical benefit—it improves your page load speed. A quick page load speed is crucial because it impacts conversions and organic search rankings. To maximize the opportunity for a quick load time, do the following:
- Use CSS to create animations and path-based design elements when possible
- Use flat design: open space, bold colors, and simple illustrations load quicker and take up less space
3. Copy simplicity
Your main goal is to create massive brand appeal in just a matter of seconds on your homepage. As the gateway to your brand, your homepage should portray a clear image. (And, not to mention, that vibe should be consistent through every marketing asset you have.) To keep your copy consistent, clear, and unique to your brand on your homepage, consider the following:
- Nix the fluff: Many homepages are loaded with overused adjectives (descriptors) and industry jargon that your visitors will never understand. When designing your homepage, stick with words that matter. Active verbs, numbers, and proof points that your business is the best are a few of the examples of homepage copy points that work.
- Word count: Less is more on a homepage, but your word count shouldn't be bare; aim for 300 words on your homepage. The word count should be higher as you dive deeper into your website. Choose your words with care. Prioritize keyword-focused words first, then mix in impactful verbs and nouns that best describe your product or service.
- Persuade: Nix the neutral tone on your homepage's copy. The words you choose should pack an emotional punch on your visitors.
- Message: Keep your homepage copy with all other marketing messages on other marketing channels.
- Visual assets: Maintaining consistent imagery (particularly the hero visual) and the color palette is key. Your visual assets should mirror your copy. Simple is always better.
- Tone: Always keep a consistent voice and tone; your brand personality should shine through, even on your homepage.
Use design systems to keep typography uniform and your website buttons consistent. This helps visitors understand what to expect as they venture through your website.
4. Muted and basic color schemes
Feeling inspired? Get started with this Leadpages' template!
Your homepage color scheme will curate a specific mood and personality. Choosing the right colors is as important as the copy on your homepage. Black, white, and gray can help facilitate a positive attitude.
Start by considering 2021 website color trends. Believe it or not, muted and basic color schemes are on trend.
Black, white, and gray can help facilitate a mood.
Muted color schemes are effective for a few reasons:
- It emphasizes textures and shapes while drawing focus on your messaging.
- It's classy (and a little artsy!) if that's your jam.
- It offers an easy way to maintain brand standards as the color palette is simple.
If you already have a website, you can improvise and tone down your homepage design by converting your color palette into black, white, gray, and neutral tones.
5. Animation and micro-interactions (Marquee is back!)
With two billion websites on the web, your competition to be top of mind is fierce. Your job is to captivate website visitors quickly. And to do that, one of the ways is through movement. Movement can be created through micro-interactions like GIFS, chimes, animations, scrolls, marquees, and even pop-ups!
Movement through micro-interactions creates an event on your homepage that's inviting and engaging. They surprise the user and create an event that is inviting and human.
"Movement is the visual path a viewer follows when viewing a composition. With proper movement, a composition can create a narrative and provide high-quality user experience," says Hubspot. Previously movement was made possible by static objects like lines, shapes, and colors. Today animation and micro-interactions make this possible.
There are a few reasons why movement on your homepage rocks:
- It creates moments of delight for the user while reinforcing subtle messaging
- It can be used as a visual metaphor to reinforce an overarching brand message
- It can signal a user to take the next steps—like click on a call-to-action button or venture further into your website
- It heightens a sense of interactivity, which helps engage a web visitor
Feeling inspired? Get started with this Leadpages' template!
Subject diversity in your homepage is another big trend. You'll see that television advertisements are finally catching up to reflect the correct pool of people. Homepages are no different. Diversity of skin color, backgrounds, and race are crucial on your website. Isn't it exciting to see that brands are finally modifying their marketing to reflect the world's real population?
So, how do you put this design trend to practice? Use a diverse range of race and gender in photography and illustrations. Avoid stock images of all Caucasian subjects. If you're looking for a useful resource on this, look no further.
7. Unique layouts
Source: Rudolph Care
Deconstructed and broken grids are super popular when it comes to fashion design and homepage design.
To think outside the conventional homepage grid layout, do the following:
- Vary box sizes
- Display your navigation pattern uniquely (vertical, maybe!)
- Change your hero image or video placement.
- Switch up type treatments
- Modify other elements to organize and prioritize content on the homepage
- Use a magazine layout
Need to view this idea in real life? Here are some design examples from the Webflow blog.
Pro tip: You can still use a grid layout (like we do at Leadpages) and make it appear that you're using a deconstructed grid. (In using our templates, we can mimic design trends to break horizontal sections.) Grids are useful for novice designers because it gives them the framework to place website elements properly.
Notice the little purple icon on this browser tab?
Favicons aren't technically part of your homepage design, but like your homepage, they're part of a first impression. A big trend this year in homepage design is getting creative with favicons.
In a world where people often have multiple tabs open in their browser, it might be the only piece of your brand visible at the moment. So make it count.
9. Oversized, bold fonts
Source: Corsa Pizza
Bold, oversized, and sans-serif fonts are as popular as ever and are even substituting homepage hero elements entirely. From logos with brand names to homepage headings where the text dominates the screen, oversized typography can pack a huge punch.
Pro tip: If your style guide includes serifed, traditional fonts, you may want to avoid this trend. Trendy industries like fashion, art, and tech, for example, should go for it, however.
10. Inventive calls to action
At the end of the day, your business needs business. Whether you're selling something, collecting emails, or getting someone to sign up for your newsletter, calls to action (also known as CTA buttons) are necessary.
Don't hide what you're offering on a secondary or tertiary page on your website. Instead, think of inventive ways you can lure visitors in by using inventive calls to action. Whether you tweak your call to action button copy to make it a little more creative and cheeky, or create a call to action button animation, your sales will reap the benefits.
On the contrary, you don't want your call to action to seem too "in your face." To meet this need, just make sure you infuse the CTA at places you think your visitor would want to take further action. And don’t overdo it with seven calls to action on your homepage alone.
11. Pops of color
Source: Political Playlist
Fonts emphasized by bright, pop-arty color palettes, playing upon nostalgia, and breaking pre-established web design traditions will be huge in 2021.
This trend breaks up the visual stagnation of traditional fonts. It adds character and personality while also reinforcing the credibility of a brand by playing into the nostalgia of the 60s and more retro times.
12. Organic elements and doodles
With all that's going on in the world, many consumers want to see the human side of a brand. Organic elements and doodles help accomplish this. Hand-drawn illustrations, icons and lettering all show humanity and a personal touch. This trend showcases a business's authenticity, easygoingness, so it's a trend that's sure to stick around for some time.
Keep in mind that not every type of business should pursue this trend. Financial, tax, professional services, and less "creative" or artsy lines of business should avoid this trend.
Wrapping up homepage design trends
From retro fonts to minimalist layouts, we've shared the top homepage design trends of 2021. Being on-trend can be great for your brand. But make sure it’s appropriate. Get in the trenches—test out which 2021 design trends work best for your business and let the results speak for themselves.
Want to skip the head-scratching and finding out what works right away? Look no further than our website templates. And we offer a 14-day free trial so you have time to find out if Leadpages is right for you.
Do you have any homepage designs you admire? Link to a homepage design you are in love with in the comments below and tell us what makes them great!
Wondering what to read next?
Here’s what we suggest:
→ 4 Design Transformations Powered by the Leadpages Shutterstock Integration
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