Your website home page is your virtual front door. If a new visitor doesn't like what they see, their knee-jerk reaction is to hit the "back" button. That's right -- unfortunately, a lot of people still judge a book by its cover.
What makes a website's home page design smart? Well, it takes more than looks alone -- it also has to work well. That's why the smart home page recommendations below don't just score high in beauty, but also in brains.
1) Clearly answers "Who I am," "What I do," and/or "What can you (the visitor) do here."
If you're a well-known brand or company (i.e. Coca Cola) you may be able to get away with not having to describe who you are and what you do; but the reality is, most businesses still need to answer these questions so that each visitor knows they are in the "right place." Steven Krugg sums it up best in his best-selling book, Don't Make Me Think: If visitors can't identify what it is you do within seconds, they won't stick around long.
2) Resonates with the Target Audience
A home page needs to be narrowly focused -- speaking to the right people in their language. The best home pages avoid "corporate gobbledygook," and eliminate the fluff.
3) Communicates a Compelling Value-Proposition
When a visitor arrives on your home page, it needs to compel them to stick around. The home page is the best place to nail your value proposition so that prospects choose to stay on your website and not navigate to your competitors'.
4) Includes Calls-To-Action (CTAs)
Every home page listed here effectively uses primary and secondary calls-to-action to direct visitors to the next logical step. Examples include "Free Trial," "Schedule a Demo," "Buy Now," or "Learn More." Remember, the goal of the home page is to compel visitors to dig deeper into your website and move them further down the funnel. CTAs tell them what to do next so they don't get overwhelmed or lost. More importantly, CTAs turn your home page into a sales- or lead-generation engine, and not just brochure-wear.
5) Optimizes for Mobile-Friendly Usability
All the home pages listed here are highly usable, meaning they are easy to navigate and there aren't "flashy" objects that get in the way of browsing, such as flash banners, animations, pop-ups, or overly-complicated and unnecessary elements. Many of them are also mobile-optimized, which is an incredibly important must-have in today's mobile world.