Make a Splash on That Home Page!

The first page of a web site is known by many names: splash page, landing page, home page. Whatever its name, a good home page follows the same principles of any attractive presentation: Be bright, be brief, be gone.

Albert Einstein once said that if he had only one hour to save the world, he’d spend 55 minutes defining the problem. The same is true of good home pages: The more time you spend thinking about what you want your users to see, read and do on your home page, the happier you’ll be with its design.

What are you offering on your home page? Maybe it’s a way to keep in touch with your family? Your home-based business? Pictures, poems, pastimes? Any one of thousands of approaches can be used for a good home page, depending entirely on what kind of content you want to present.

If you’re looking to do something friendly or fun, think in terms of bold designs and lively colors. (Try to avoid looking like someone melted Skittles on your home page, though.) If you’re using software that offers color themes or templates for your web site’s home page, don’t be afraid to use them – and don’t be afraid to change them to something you like better.

Give your page a focal point, so your users know where to start. Use a big family photo if it’s a family page, or some of your children’s artwork. These days, there are all-in-one printer/copier/scanner machines that can turn Junior’s finger-painting into a digital art file in no time at all.

If you’re using your home page to present your business, think about what your customers might expect. After all, you wouldn’t be very likely to trust an accountant who puts up a wild-and-crazy home page, would you? Or a medical clinic whose home page looks like Mad Max at Thunderdome?

Try to think like your friends/clients/customers/users when creating your home page. What do you think they’d most like to see first? Should something be animated? How do you think they’d like to move about your page? What do you need to provide for them on your home page so they’ll know how to move around the rest of your site?

Interactivity is the crown jewel of the Internet, so be sure to give users a prominent way on your home page to get in touch with you, either by an online contact form or an email. That way you can be sure to give them what they want or need.

The point is, make your home page design correspond to the content you’ll be presenting. Home pages don’t have to have flashing lights and screaming headlines in order to attract people through the hustle and bustle of the Internet. If anything, pages that present calm, pleasing appearance can be more likely to get a user’s attention – if for no other reason than that you’re giving them a nice place to rest their eyes.