Right before Christmas, I put out a call for response and asked for a few brave souls to volunteer to let me audit their brand’s homepage for free in exchange for them letting me use the audit on my website and social media.
I was blown away by the response and ended up choosing three homepages to audit and showcase for a high-level “3-Minute Homepage Audit.”
First up is TCK Training, a coaching and training organization specifically designed to help families who are living cross culturally thrive. TCK’s founder, Lauren Wells, just so happens to be my neighbor — so this was a fun exercise to walk through with her.
Let’s dive in.
At first glance, this homepage is set up beautifully. In fact, from a layout perspective, I honestly wouldn’t change too much. Here’s what I would change:
- In the top lefthand corner, I’d use a main logo (with the brand’s name) or leaving as is and using a larger, main logo front and center (where TCK Training is currently living). This helps to quickly create a visual connection between the brand name and the key visual element.
- Condense the Navigation Menu to include at most 7 page options. Having too many page options creates visual clutter that can cause “analysis paralysis” (and thus, in action) on your end-user’s part. To increase clicks as well as time on page, condense the navigation menu. Additionally (and you can’t see this in the image above) — I’d strongly recommend ditching the dropdown menus from the navigation bar too. They’re not user friendly and often end up being more cumbersome as they “hide” information rather than plainly presenting it. Of course — this begs the question, “Where do I put all of my content then?” Keep reading. We’ll get there.
- Under TCK Training, I would revise this statement to be a power-packed Value Proposition aimed at answering the following questions right off the bat: What does TCK Training do? Who do they do it for? How do they uniquely do it? And here’s the big one that most people miss — what’s the benefit of working with them?
With one scroll, we’re taken to the above screen on the homepage and I have just a few more minor changes:
- The statement that starts with, “A TCK (Third Culture Kid) is…” can be removed completely because the brand’s ideal client / target audience is versed in this definition and has the context to move forward without it being spelled out. So often, I see brands fall into the trap of appealing to everyone instead of adhering to the “Rule of One.” The Rule of One involves knowing your ideal client / target audience intimately and catering every message to them and them alone. When brands try to appeal to everyone — they end up talking to no one, so it’s always better to speak directly to your ideal audience. (This is something we cover in both of my branding packages The Works and The Mini because I never want my clients guessing or operating under a vague understanding of who they’re trying to reach.)
- The Mission Statement and “We Do This Through” sections can be moved to an About Page instead of taking up the large amount of visual real estate it’s currently occupying on the homepage. A well-crafted Value Proposition (see #3) avoids the need for a full blown Mission Statement on the homepage. Moving this sort of “in depth” information to an About Page allows your site visitors to quickly and efficiently scan your homepage (which we know 80% of them are!) and understand the nuts and bolts of what you do (because of the Value Proposition) — but gives them the freedom to click for more information (without having to sift through it).
- The button for Services and Pricing can be moved to your Services section (below).
- Because of the logo adjustments we made in #1, I suggest swapping out this logo for a brand photo (either of founder, Lauren, or of TCK in action).
Because the page is starting to get quite lengthy, my biggest and simplest piece of feedback here is:
- Move everything here to a Resources or Shop page. Because I know Lauren is in the middle of launching her newest book, The Grief Tower, in order to promote the new book sufficiently on her homepage, I would suggest either a pop-up box or even better, a fixed banner at the top of her page (through an add-on like HelloBar) to increase conversions.
Again, in efforts to shorten the amount of scrolling necessary on this page:
- Weave testimonials in throughout the site appropriately. This section header kind of gets lost in the length of the page anyway — so my biggest suggestion here would be to, instead, incorporate testimonials throughout the entirety of the site and to make them stand out by putting some sort of visual cue around them (e.g., a container box, brackets, etc.) consistently.
- The Upcoming Workshops header also gets lost in the mix of the page so I suggest removing this from the homepage altogether and keeping it separately on the Workshops Page.
Since we’ve freed up a ton of space on the homepage by moving things to different subpages, we can rework these membership options by:
- Making them more visually prominent by adding a larger section / section header. Because most service-based brands look to scale their business model with membership models, I imagine these memberships are a big push for Lauren in 2021. That said, I would give these buttons a ton of visual real estate and add some descriptive copy that communicates the benefit of the memberships more than it focuses on the features of them. Answer the question, “What’s in it for me?” and sell me (your ideal client / target audience) on some of the reasons I can’t afford not to opt-in here. Consider leveraging some solid testimonials and reviews from those on the membership plans in this section.
A high-level Services section is appropriate to keep on the homepage, however, I would suggest these modifications:
- Consider a more prominent section header. The more I find myself saying this, the more I think this is a formatting / font issue than anything else. Because the current header font choice doesn’t create a ton of visual hierarchy, I’m not being clearly visually alerted to the fact that this is a new section with a new set of information. Change this font by either making it larger, swapping the font face, or putting a container box around it.
- Consider a more engaging section header title. Something like, “How TCK Helps,” “Work with Us,” or “Let’s Thrive Together” has a bit more personality than simply stating “Services” — yet isn’t convoluted or confusing.
- Add membership options here since changing the section header title copy will make it applicable.
Last but certainly not least — the footer. The temptation is so often to overlook the footer — but in reality (especially on mobile designs!), they can be incredibly helpful.
- Before we tackle the footer, let’s talk about this newsletter opt-in. Instead of simply asking people to subscribe, offer them something of value in exchange for their email address. Consider offering a free resource that directly speaks to your target audience — their needs, their pain points, their goals, etc. — and make it available via email download to increase conversions.
- Footers can get so easily overlooked, but in reality, they’re a great place to house things like, links to your Contact form, most read blog posts, your Shop or Resources, etc. At the very least, I would strongly suggest including your brand’s copyright information.
My biggest takeaway from this 3-Minute Homepage Audit is to condense the homepage to two to three scrolls worth of content. I totally get that the temptation to add all of your content ever to the homepage is so, so real — but the reality is that 80% of site visitors are SKIMMING your page. Because of that, making your homepage too lengthy often deters users from sticking around.
In fact, my most given piece of feedback when doing website audits is often the same: Focus on your content that’s above the scroll.
Prioritize the content that site visitors see before they even have to scroll. Answer the most questions, provide the most value, and speak their language before they have to go searching for all of it.
I’d love to get my hand on the analytics of this site to see how links are performing as you scroll down the page. My best guess would be that the content at the top of the page is seeing the most action — and as we work our way down the page, clicks are gradually falling off.
January 18, 2021