In our 5+ years of working with high-growth B2B startups, we’ve looked at hundreds, if not thousands, of startup homepages. After a while, they all start to blur together.
Above the fold is usually a big, bold value proposition with a prominent call to action (CTA) and some snazzy graphics. Below that: a grid of client logos, or maybe some links to case studies or a quote from a client. Then, some short blurbs about what the product does, with links to use cases, product pages, and other longer-form content. And finally, another CTA, maybe a form to request a demo.
There’s a reason almost every startup uses this formula: it works. It’s good! But if you’re reading this, then perhaps “good” is not good enough. So what can you do to bring your homepage from good to great?
If your homepage is already working well, you don’t need to start from scratch to take it to the next level. There are small changes you can make to your content and design that will give your homepage that extra edge. In this post, we’ll show you a few of them.
Your homepage is precious marketing real estate. It’s often the first place people learn about your value proposition, social proof, and what your product does (and, perhaps more crucially, who it’s for). A good homepage will also drive desired actions like demo sign-ups via strategically placed and well-designed CTAs.
A great homepage does all of this plus a little something extra. Here are key elements that distinguish a great B2B startup homepage from just a good one:
A unique voice
Strong writing (anchored to solid positioning and messaging) is the lifeblood of a startup’s homepage. But not all website copy is created equal. A website’s voice is “good” if the value proposition is clear and concise, there’s no vague language or unnecessary jargon, and the reader comes away understanding how your product solves their problems.
“Great” copywriting does all of the above, but also has a little extra flair and personality—something that shows (not tells) potential customers how you’re different from the competition. If you’re not sure where to begin, try this differentiation hack.
Quantitative social proof
Just as you might be hesitant to hire someone without references or stay at an Airbnb that has no reviews, B2B buyers are much less likely to engage with your brand if you don’t feature your social proof upfront. Testimonials and case studies are all fine and good, but they’re even stronger with attention-grabbing stats to back them up. A great startup website goes beyond telling the story of how their product is solving problems for their clients and shows how much.
For very early-stage B2B startups still looking to land their first customer, this might be challenging, but it’s still critical. This blog post has some great ideas for other types of social proof you didn’t know you had.
A good website is up-to-date with the latest news and product updates; a better website is adaptable. Design the homepage to be easily adaptable as your startup grows and evolves. This includes updating content, adding new features, and incorporating feedback from users. Think about which sections of your homepage may need to scale as you gain more customers and build more features.
In addition to being adaptable, being responsive across all devices is a must. Designing for responsiveness is web development 101, so hopefully you’re already doing this. If not, here’s a handy guide to get started.
Focusing on forms might seem nitpicky, but the moment someone is filling out your demo request form is not the moment you want to screw up. This one also happens to be a UX pet peeve of mine. Here’s what doesn’t work: forms that are too long, form fields that are labeled in a confusing way or not the appropriate size, and forms that don’t catch and highlight errors in real time.
As a rule of thumb (and according to most global data privacy laws), you should only collect the absolute minimum amount of user data necessary. In the case of a demo request, you just need to make contact and get the conversation started.
Fast loading speed
Similar to the item above, this is a small detail with big ramifications. People expect websites to load quickly. According to a recent study by Google, the probability of a user bouncing increases by 32% as page load time goes from 1 second to 3 seconds—and after 5 seconds the probability goes up to 90%! If your visitors abandon your homepage before it even loads, it won’t matter if you have the perfect tagline and rock solid social proof. Slow loading also has a negative impact on SEO.
To keep things speedy, compress images and use efficient coding practices. On the backend you can focus on optimizing server response times and using faster hosting solutions. It’s also a good idea to continuously monitor and test your homepage’s performance. Tools like Google’s PageSpeed Insights can help identify areas for improvement and track changes over time.
The bottom line
A good homepage is a dime a dozen. A great homepage is a powerful conduit for your startup’s value proposition. To be great, ensure you have a clear, compelling narrative that shows how you stand out from the competition, include some quantified social proof, and pay attention to UX best practices. These elements create a winning formula for your homepage, and will help usher visitors deeper into the buyer’s journey.