How Your Homepage Plays into Conversion

onsite conversion

Onsite conversion stems from understanding your website audience. Gary Illyes, a Web Master Trend Analyst at Google, held a lecture on Internet user characteristics.

Among the very notable things he said, there was one that should stay with you when you think of users that visit your website.

Do you know millennials? That part of generation Y, born between 1980 and 2000?

They are self-confident, egocentric, impatient and demanding users. But most importantly, as Gary said, they have an attention span of 8 seconds.

In comparison, a goldfish has an attention span of 9 seconds.

But Gary said something even more important. Did you know that generation Z users, born between 1995 and 2013, have an attention span of 2,8 seconds?

They demand your attention, they want a personalized experience and they want it right then and there. With such a short attention span, they will leave if you do not quench their need for information – so how can you deliver on that and what does your homepage have to do with it?

Traffic is Not Everything

To understand how your homepage fits into the conversion process, you must first understand what traffic is.

Tourism boards are a great example of how statistics and metrics work or should not work.

If you travel and inquire about your destination, you might come across information on how many visits they have had.

Sometimes it is awe-inspiring knowing that 300 000 people visited the same place you are planning on going to, and that is just in the last month. They must have experienced something so great there that visits increase in the tens of thousands in days.

Then you go there and realize there’s an airport and the tourism board includes lay-overs into the metrics. Visitors saw the lobby, maybe saw a bit of the city.

But they saw nothing of interest that would lead them to stay or spend money.

Do people that were there for 2 hours count? No, because they did not add anything to the value of the destination.

Not getting the wool pulled over your eyes by the tourism board is similar to your own website traffic.

The numbers might be staggering, but they lack importance if they stay related to traffic. Traffic and conversion are different.

Just like the layover travelers, your visitors might open your website on the way to information.

If you do not provide that information, they will leave on the next plane (website) within 2-10 seconds (maybe a Concord makes more sense) and give someone else a shot.

And while having steady traffic and plenty of it is important, you will never see a dime from it unless the visitor decides to invest into your offer.

Homepage Magic for Conversion Increase

When a visitor visits your website and leaves, he becomes part of your traffic, but when he decides to stick around is when you have the chance to convert him into a customer.

If the metrics show that your homepage is the most trafficked landing page, you will want to do everything in your power to make it stand out.

Your homepage has a huge part in your conversion process.

Like window shopping – your homepage determines if a visitor finds you worthy of their attention and money. If they like what they see, they will step inside and let themselves be wooed by your products.

Behind good intentions and the supposed magic you can find a lot of work, statistics, metrics and analysis that go into creating the perfect homepage for your product.

Unique Value Proposition for Onsite Conversions

Depending on what your conversion goals are, you will want your homepage to reflect them or lead visitors to them.

Visitors want to know why you deserve their business, why they should trust your brand and what they can get out of it.

To make sure they get your message, you must have a unique value proposition (UVP, also known as unique selling proposition – USP): a clear statement that describes the benefit of your offer, how you solve your customer’s problem and what distinguishes you from the competition.


Starts you off to see if your company name is even available and plenty more information

If you are not sure what kind of UVP is right for you, there is more than enough research and advice online.

The point of the UVP is to give the visitor everything he needs to make a decision as fast as possible and move on. The UVP should be memorable and the homepage should have a call to action as an extension of the UVP.

It should give visitors enough information to click on the call to action that takes them to your conversion goal.

That is why it is important to track how long a visitor stays on your homepage – time on page KPI.

Since it takes so little for a visitor to make up their minds about your site, you need to be sure that they can clearly understand your UVP and move on to something different that will lead to conversion.

Visitors take between 2.5 and 4.5 seconds to evaluate your homepage UVP so you should start worrying if they cannot do so and click to go further within 5 seconds.

Understanding Bounce Rates

If they leave your site, they become part of the bounce rate – visitors that visit one page and leave. That means that they did not take the effort to look around.

And that is because they found your site to be irrelevant to what they were looking for or they did not like the design of your page or some other reason.

While most think this KPI is more of a rise or fall of your ego, it is the bread and butter of your homepage and a great indicator if you have to change something.

If your bounce rate is over 40% you are doing something very wrong and you obviously want this to be as low as possible.

Some changes you can make are connected to your homepage UVP: provide relevant content, add a search function, build a clear navigation path, get rid of too much pop-ups, and improve load times.

This is also the reason why you have to think of how every part of your site is influencing your business.

A newsletter pop-up is very common today, but stats should tell you if it is working or just driving people away. Also asking someone to follow you on social media with a pop-up is a risky move which not everyone can afford.

Micro-Micro Conversion Does The Trick

While your main goal is to get a conversion, a micro-conversion goes a long way to achieve it.

A micro-conversion is when you ask a visitor to say yes to something small first because then you have higher chances on getting them to say yes on a big conversion – become a paying customer, sign up or whatever it is you are trying to achieve.

Kalki Gillespie of Responsive Inbound Marketing connected the term to the homepage: a micro-micro-conversion.

A micro-micro-conversion is when a visitor navigates from your homepage deeper into your site where he can follow your conversion process.

Kalki Gillespie

That first click is the only way you will see business from homepage visitors. This is also highly dependent on your UVP.

Homepage Button

Often visitors get to a landing page that might not suit their needs. Some will opt out and bounce, but there are 10-50% of visitors that might opt to stay.

Their next step is to click on the most obvious thing on the screen. It has almost become second nature that we go for the big logo or home button if we want to keep looking.

So even if the landing page was not what they were looking for, your homepage UVP might lead them to a conversion. You also have to keep in mind that most potential customers will visit your homepage before making a purchase.

Examining the homepage has become the second nature to visitors, as they want to evaluate your worth, effort and credibility.

The homepage is a stepping stone for visitors to view your brand and products.

A homepage UVP and call to action can drive a lot of traffic and conversions your way, but you should not solely rely on it to do the job for you and you want to get people off the homepage as fast as possible.

You should make sure that the deeper conversion pages on your site are fixed before optimizing the homepage.

I will leave you with some wise words from Gary

Your true metric is the number of visitors you helped today and how many of them you managed to convert into users or customers.

Gary Illyes

Hope this article helped you to understand conversion rates a bit more, and how the content of your homepage can improve this metric.

If you are interested in the process of ranking on top of search engines and want to learn more about SEO & content marketing read our Ultimate Guide to SEO for SaaS.

Marina Pregl

Marina is a COO & Co-Owner at Fortis Agency—SEO for SaaS marketing agency. She knows the ins and outs of content promotion and link building and loves anything related to content. When she is not emersed in daily work, she laughs at memes and puns no one else understands. She is also a yoga junkie.

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