You know why you have a website. You want to get yourself and your business out into the world. You want to build your list and a tribe of great people, and you want to serve those peeps with great content, services, products, or events.
You know who you are and what you do. But the big question is…do you communicate that, super clearly, to your site’s visitors, so that they know?
The top half of your homepage, “above the fold,” is PRIME real estate on your website. It’s often the first glimpse that visitors get of you, and because of that, it needs to do quite a bit, quickly.
There are all kinds of stats out there that say you have something like a billionth of a milli-second to capture a visitor’s attention (okay, that’s an exaggeration but with all of the web “noise” out there, I think you know what I’m sayin’). So, here’s the big question:
Does the copy you have written at the top of your homepage, your homepage headline, do what you need it to do?
Are you asking, “Hmmmm, what exactly does it need to do?”
If so, it’s a good question.
Here’s the answer, you’ve gotta grab visitor’s attention, with the first copy they see on your site, by speaking directly to them and their problems about what you do and how you can help.
Are you doing that?
If not, it’s a pretty straightforward fix. Add a clear headline to your homepage that states exactly what you do, who you serve, how you serve them, and what they’ll get outta the deal.
How to look at websites for inspiration and structure
We’re going to be looking at examples of other people’s homepage headlines, so I want to be super clear as to how you should do this.
As a long time writing teacher (in my previous career), I strongly believe in the value of reading and studying the structure of others’ writing to help inform our own. But let me be SUPER clear, I am NOT condoning or suggesting copying, or plagiarizing, someone’s copy. Don’t do that!
What I am suggesting is that you read like a copy writer by analyzing how others have structured their pages and copy. Then, you can use the structure you’ve discovered to guide your own writing. Do not, however, use anyone else’s words. Ever.
Your goal in writing great copy is to sound like yourself and create trust with your visitors and potential clients. Can you do that if you’ve stolen all your copy? I think not. Okay, lecture over. 🙂
Let’s get started, and look at a few excellent examples of homepage headlines.
Homepage Headline Example #1 – Marie Forleo
First up (drumroll here…..), we have Marie Forleo’s site. Marie Forleo has a wildly popular youtube channel, MarieTV, that provides inspiration and support for small online business owners. I’ve been a student of hers in b-school, and she’s a phenomenal copywriter. If you ever need inspiration or a site to study great web copy, check out marieforleo.com.
Her homepage headline is broken into two parts:
This is a super clear introduction. We know who she is and a bit about what she does, though we don’t quite yet know how she helps us become who we want to be. That comes in part two…
And there it is. She shares ideas, tools, and resources to help you get your business and life going in a direction you’d like to take it. These two sections of copy are the FIRST WORDS you read on her site! WHO she is and WHAT she does is that important.
The takeaway here is that it’s that important for your site too (even if you’re not in seven figures – or even five figures – yet).
Homepage Headline Example #2 – Biddy Tarot
The second example is quite different but effective as well. This comes from Biddy Tarot. Brigit’s homepage headline is also broken into two parts.
In the first part, she explains exactly what Biddy Tarot is and who it serves. Are you a purpose-driven tarot reader? If so, this site is for you.
Then, we hear all about exactly what she does, how she helps her clients.
Again, the Biddy Tarot site is a super popular and growing site. The communication and copy is clear and concise, and it conveys very clearly what the site offers.
You might take a minute here and check out some of your favorite sites and do your own little analysis.
- Do they have a homepage headline?
- How is it structured? One or two sentences?
- What’s the content of their headline?
- How is it structured to communicate who they are and what they do?
- Does it do it clearly?
Take a few notes. See what resonates with you. Then, let’s dive in to the four steps to writing your own Homepage Headline.
Step #1 – Brainstorm Your Own Amazing Homepage Headline
To evaluate your current headline, or write a new one, answer the following questions, as specifically as you can. Don’t worry at this stage about polishing your copy. Right now, you’re brainstorming and drafting. Use whichever format sparks your creativity – the question or the fill in the blank version
1) What do you do?
I am a ___________________________.
2) Who do you work with?
I work with ________________________________.
3) What do you help your clients do/achieve?
I help my clients _______________________________.
4) What’s the biggest problem that you solve for your clients OR what are their biggest pains and struggles?
My clients struggle to/with ______________________________.
My clients feel deep ________________ when it comes to _______________________.
5) What results will your clients achieve/get after working with you?
The benefits of working with me are ______________________________.
Step #2 – Draft your Homepage Headline
Now, take your answers and begin drafting.
Write at least ten versions. I know, I know, this might feel like overkill, but playing with the phrases and the words will allow you to come up with some phrases and combinations that you might not have originally considered.
Also, as much as you can, try to incorporate your client’s actual words and phrases in your homepage headline. Look through testimonials you’ve gotten, interviews, questionnaires, or surveys you’ve done and “steal” their words.
I love talking to clients and hearing how they phrase their struggles because often it’s not how I would phrase them, and it’s so helpful in writing my own website copy.
The more your home page headline “speaks” to your perfect clients, the more you will connect with them in that first billionth of a milli-second that you have to capture their attention.
Step #3 – Test it
When you think you’ve got your headline perfect (or at least as close as you can get it to perfect), you’ll want to run two tests on it.
Test #1 – say it out loud to a friend.
Does it “sound” like you? Are you comfortable saying it? Or does it sound stilted and weird, too formal or too edgy or too….whatever. It needs to “be” who you are, so if you can’t say it out loud without feeling awkward, revise it.
Test #2 – if this was the ONLY copy on your whole site, does it convey who you are and what you do?
If not, go back to the drafting stage and revise. Maybe you need to cut it to make it shorter. Or avoid sounding too clever (which sometimes comes off as confusing).
Step #4 – Publish it
And the last step is to get your new homepage headline on your homepage. Share your clear, concise, authentically YOU headline with the world.
This one might seem a little obvious, but I know I’m probably not the only one who’s spent hours on a strategy that resonates, but then I don’t quite take the last step and finish (for whatever random reason that’s usually fear based).
And on that note, I’ll share my own homepage headline:
“As a web designer and WordPress coach, I collaborate with soulful, tech-shy entrepreneurs to remove overwhelm and design their perfect and vibrant website, so they can gain control of their online presence and focus on sharing their gifts and services with a global audience.”
While I feel like right at this moment, this captures what I do, it’s okay to revise your headline as your business and offerings evolve. But remember to keep it broad enough that it can encapsulate what you do. With my headline, I can provide custom Web Designs or coach and support clients as they build their own sites. I don’t have to change it every time I create a new offering or service because it already captures it.
I had the following headline for a few months when I first launched my site:
“I create vibrant and functional WordPress websites for tech-shy, service based, soulful entrepreneurs. And, I’ll educate you on how to care for it to keep both you and your site happy and working.”
My business evolved quite quickly in its early months, which forced me to revisit my headline and what I do, but revisiting my headline was also a great exercise in getting clarity on the direction I wanted to head.
And, the good news is that you can always come back and change it as you business and offerings evolve.
If you’re feeling super brave and generous, share your new headline in the comments with any questions you have. If you’re stuck, we can hammer one out together. Or we can inspire one another with our brilliant new homepage copy.
I’m cheering for you!
P.S. Fun fact (and a little word nerd alert) – I was writing a new blog post on homepage headlines, and the grammar nerd in me struggled…is it “homepage” or “home page,” one word or two? I had it written both ways all throughout, so I did a little research. Apparently when the word first appeared in the early nineties, it was two words, but now that its become so common, it’s considered one word though both usages are acceptable, home page OR homepage. Just be consistent in whichever you choose to use. 🙂