Your website home page is usually the “front door” to your site and as such, it should be attractive, helpful, and most of all, welcoming.

The reason? Many Internet users have limited attention spans. According to IT research firm Nielsen Norman Group, the average website visitor spends less than one minute on a website,* so you have a very short window of time to prove to visitors that you have the information, services, or products they’re looking for.

Keeping visitors on your site longer is called stickiness, and the stickier your home page, the more time visitors spend on site which, in turn, means more time to learn about the benefits of doing business with your company.  

Website design experts offer a number of suggestions to increase the stickiness of your home page to keep visitors clicking links and digging deeper into your site.

1. Create an engaging home page. Your website home page should provide an easy-to-read list of helpful benefits, simple navigation, an engaging headline, a “search by preference” module to find exactly what visitors are looking for quickly, a site map, and embedded text links – the standard blue text that indicates a link to another page of the website.

2. Use your website to build your brand. For example, if you own a commercial accounting firm, the website’s design should appeal to mature business professionals: understated, professional, businesslike.

If you sell surfboards, the site should appeal to your target demographic – young surfers who like bright colors and are Internet-smart. These visitors grew up in front of a computer screen and have expectations you should meet in the design elements of your site – from type font to page layout to navigation bar tabs.

3. Keep it simple. Visitors confronted with too many options on a home page often “bounce” – that is, leave without ever looking beyond the home page. If you sell great products or services but have a bounce rate of 80% (eight out of 10 visitors never get past the home page) it may be time to revisit the design of that home page.

Keep the navigation simple, unambiguous and always in the same place on all pages of the website. Visitors shouldn’t have to look for a link to a website page. It should be very clear and obvious which link to click on.

Navigation should be fast and easy to keep visitors sticking to your website, reading all about your product or service offerings.

4. Use insider jargon. Use the terms that identify you as an inside authority, a company that speaks the language of the site visitor. Using industry jargon also enables you to deliver more information in less time, since insider jargon is usually a form of short-hand communication.  Make visitors comfortable by using terms and concepts with which they’re already familiar.

5. Make it simple to get “into” your website. Some websites display an opt-in module on the home page requiring visitors to provide an email address in order to access the company website.  Savvy Internet users know that the opt-in captures an email address and your company is likely to contact them for future sales opportunities.

Don’t require visitors to opt in. Many visitors bounce as soon as they see that opt-in module. Make it simple to search your website with no opt-in required.

6. Add an FAQ page. A frequently asked questions (FAQs) page provides quick information that can lower the cost of client care and deliver more highly-qualified visitors to the Contact page – the page with your company contact information.

Answer visitors’ questions online to engage them and encourage them to place an order or call your office for a consultation.

7. Update website content regularly. A sticky website is one that sees a lot of repeat visitors looking for new, quality information on products, services, or other information that benefits them and meets their needs.

A visitor may not place an order or call for a consultation on his or her first visit, but provide visitors a reason to come back and they may do so on a subsequent visit.

8. Create visitor trust. Memberships in industry associations, logos from the Online Better Business Bureau or local Chamber of Commerce, website security emblems, and other trust builders should appear throughout your website to build trust in visitors.

9. Let visitors decide. Visitors come to your website for a reason: To find a service provider. To find the perfect birthday gift. To conduct comparison shopping. To learn how to perform better. Create navigation and applications that put control of the on-site experience in the hands of visitors. Add interactive features like calculators or website search options.

10. Test and refine your website. Use website metrics – page views per visitor, time on site, bounce rate and other empirical data – to assess site performance. There are also tools, like that provide display visitor activity visually, in the form of charts and graphs.

Creating home page and website stickiness isn’t something you do once and forget – it’s an on-going process of testing, analysis and refinement.

In the end, however, a sticky home page and a sticky website are more likely to convert visitors who will stick around long enough to learn about the benefits of engaging your business – online or on Main Street.   


The information provided is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice.