Day 10 of #the100dayproject - 1st Homepage Essentials
So you have started setting up your 1st website. You need to keep it simple and walk before you run. But what are the essentials? At this point we are going to ignore adding a shop and other more sophisticated elements for now and concentrate on the basics.
Your site needs a simple menu to navigate around it. I suggest 'Home', 'About', 'Portfolio' (or gallery) and 'Contact' as the basic menu to start with and we will add to this later. Home is always the first item, contact the last and about is often the second. That's fairly typical and where most people expect to find things so stick with that consistency rather than making up your own order as it will make things easier for visitors. I will concentrate on a page at a time as I go through the next few daily posts.
On Day 7 - Create Your Brand I talked about branding and Tabatha (above) came up with 4 colours she wanted to use in her brand, crimson, pink, grey and white. She chose the specific shades she wanted and made a note of the rgb (red green blue) codes in the colour picker tool in her logo design software so that she could transfer exactly the same shades to her website. She chose to use the strong crimson in the header area of the website in her chosen Jimdo template (Rome) as a darker colour works well there. She chose to use a splash of pink in the secondary menu area at the base of her picture so that it was not too overpowering and used grey for main body text as this often looks a bit more sophisticated than jet black. She chose white as her main body background as this creates a crisp clean look which works well for art and craft websites. She then chose to repeat the crimson on all page headings. This instantly created a good part of her own branding on the site and will work well with her new logo.
If you have your logo from Day 6 - Create A Logo at this stage that too should appear on all pages throughout your site like the menu.
So what do you put on your 'Homepage'? Your homepage is often the page that people visit first so it is important that you create a good first impression. I like to start off with a strong image. A picture paints a thousand words as they say so fill most of the screen with a good one. Tabatha is starting with a single image of her but as time goes on she will add additional images to a slideshow using the chosen template so that a new image passes by every second or 2 and people can then quickly get a good feel for her, her work, her processes etc all within a few seconds rather than having to read lots of text work that out.
It is important that your business name that you came up with on Day 1 - Choose A Name is prominent. This may or may not be your own name so there are a few options. It may be present in your logo but take care that it is large enough to read if it is without wasting too much space on your homepage. Tabatha has chosen to highlight it also in the pink area below the photo. Here the colour change highlights it drawing attention but making good use of space on the homepage. Another option is to edit the photos you are displaying to include your name or perhaps use a template that displays your name over the graphic.
Next think about the short punchy statement about what you do that you created on Day 2 - Define What You Do. Add this as a strong heading on your homepage so that visitors quickly see it and very quickly get a feel for what you do to support what they are seeing from your photos.
Next think about the detailed explanation of what you do including your unique selling points that you looked at on Day 3 - What Are Your Unique Selling Points?. These should follow quickly and be easy to read.
Finally think of the 2 or 3 most important parts of your website. There are lots of parts referenced by your menu ultimately but the 2 or 3 most important parts should be accessed by strong clear buttons so that they are spotted quickly and easily accessible. On this simple site at this stage these buttons are probably 'About Me' and 'Portfolio' although later on it might be 'Portfolio', 'Shop' and 'Galleries' or perhaps 'Workshops'. Tabatha has added the text to the graphic here to make things cleaner and the slightly transparent band draws the eye and makes it look good while introducing more of her branding colour.