Over the weekend i glean insights on the best practices in optimizing home pages and FAQ pages from the CXL institute training
Below are some of the best practices for home page and FAQ pages
There are millions of ways to design a great home page. In order to determine how to design an individual home page, we need to understand its role.
A homepage has two main goals: To give users information, and to provide top-level navigation towards additional information further inside the site.
Since a website’s homepage is typically the top landing page for the site, it’s imperative that it effectively communicates the value proposition:
What can I do here?
Why should I do it?
How’s this better/different from other offers?
As a secondary goal, the home page needs to get people OFF the home page and down the sales funnel. To do this, you need to identify the most wanted action, then present a call to action that leads people to it.
When you’re assessing a home page, look at the value proposition. Evaluate the offer itself, the copy, and its credibility. How well does it direct people off the home page? These evaluations will become your optimization starting points.
A great example:
Clear value proposition? Yes, both as text and visuals (“Web and mobile payments….”)
Single, clear primary call to action? Yes (“Learn more about Stripe”)
Links to additional information? Yes (Features, Pricing, Sign up, Documentation etc). However, I’d consider adding search functionality.
This home page matches the top criteria. Next, we analyze specific elements individually: page length, the information above the fold, design, and the value proposition.
We conducted a study evaluating value proposition presentation and found that:
- The bigger (more text) the value proposition, the quicker participants noticed it and the longer they looked at it for.
- Participants preferred information in the form of a bulleted list (compared to a short paragraph and a bulleted list with descriptions).
- Participants were able to recall more advantages when more advantages were listed.
Remember, we need to get traffic OFF the home page and down the sales funnel for there to be any conversions. A homepage’s success rate in doing this can be calculated by measuring bounce rate vs traffic flow to the next main step in the website flow (aka the percentage of traffic that enters the sales funnel).
After their investors recommended making the homepage shorter and (at first) begrudgingly testing this recommendation, Pipedrive achieved a 300% increase in signups:
What their CEO Timo said about this:
We confused people with loads of content and provided several call to actions, e.g. sign up, choose a package, read about features, or see a live demo. We then moved most of the text from the front page to other pages. We removed as many hurdles from the registering path as we could, even the package selection page had to go. We figured that if people like the product they can be bothered with settings and details later.
Pay attention to their reasoning — we’re always after insight, not the “ideal layout we can copy and use across all of our sites”. Will the ultra-short approach work for everyone? No. But you need to test it. It makes sense that if you focus in on a single action — sign up for a free trial — and remove clutter, it can help.
Diamond Candles makes a product that generates lots of word-of-mouth. Most of the traffic is either direct (word-of-mouth), brand-keyword traffic, or Facebook. Most already know something about the diamond ring candles.
Their home page bounce rate is ~25%, which is very good. The majority of that traffic flows onto the “Ring Candles” page.
Note that if you blindly copy this layout, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll get the same results. Home pages are highly contextual. This one works since people come to look for a specific thing, and there it is — staring you in the face.
A company with an unfamiliar product (or one that doesn’t have a signature product) would have much less success with this structure.
FAQs on websites
Should your website have an FAQ or not?
The best interfaces don’t raise any questions. Your number one goal should be to eliminate the need for FAQs.
Your audience should never have to read instructions to figure out how to use your site. If you need to explain how to buy from your site, you’re doing it wrong. Even if you include instructions, you can be sure that people won’t read them — that’s the last resort. People will almost always try to figure it out before turning to a manual.
FAQs can make a difference if they are really designed to help. Sometimes instead of using ‘frequently asked questions’ marketers use ‘questions we wish you would ask’. That’s just a waste of space.
This is what I mean:
This is not an FAQ, this is a sales pitch wearing an FAQ costume.
More effective in context
Having a dedicated FAQ page is just fine (but it should NOT belong in the primary menu), but they’re way more effective in context. Questions about pricing should be answered on the pricing page. Questions about features on the features page.
Note: you don’t need to create an FAQ section to answer these questions. The best approach is to weave the answers into the copy itself.
Example: Intercom tells you right away who their software is for. No FAQ needed.
Pay attention to what’s actually being asked
Talk to the people answering phone calls and sales emails, people manning the live chat — and figure out what’s actually being asked. If there is a common question, make sure it’s answered in the copy.
No FAQ required.