A homepage is a tool to tell potential customers, first hand, what it is you want them to know about your company. It doesn’t have to be crazily innovative to do its job; it needs to be well designed, well communicated and well presented.
Stockholm-based Monika Ocieczek has designed homepages for many startups, mostly fintechs. She led the product team at open banking platform Tink, which was acquired by Visa in 2021. She is now the head of product design at another fintech, Primer — she joined as employee number 10 and designed the first iteration of Primer’s products. In our Startup Life newsleter, she shares her top tips on how to create the perfect homepage for your business.
Decide which team is responsible
At a product led company, one that focuses on its product offering and features, product people — who are normally in-house employees — are heavily involved. At a brand led company where the focus is more on creating an emotional response, responsibility tends to lie more with the marketing department. They may hire in a design agency to support the work.
Define the purpose of your homepage
What is the one key action you want people to take? Do you want visitors to download your app, sign up to a waitlist, learn more about your product, come and work with you or invest in your startup? This purpose can change depending on the stage of the company or business goals — but knowing what it is will help you figure out the components the homepage needs.
Don’t try and cram everything in
The homepage needs to nudge visitors to take that key action. If the action you want visitors to carry out has higher barriers of attainment — for example, you want them to part with their cash and buy something instead of just signing up to a mailing list — you’ll need to build a ‘case’ for your product. Focus on visual design, not just written descriptions. Sexy and beautiful product shots, testimonials, video and product demos go a long way. A poorly designed homepage can create feelings of mistrust — it can feel like a lack of care or modernity. Don’t have everything about your company on there — the team may be excited to showcase its work but your potential customers will be overwhelmed by information.
Testimonials and referrals go a long way in convincing a potential customer to take action — whether that’s buying or downloading something, or filling out a job application form — so add them to your homepage. There are tools that can help with that like Trustpilot, Testimonial or even just copy and pasting in tweets that sing your praises.
Don’t start from scratch
Get help building your first homepage. If you don’t have technical skills, use platforms like Webflow, Framer and Readymag. If you’re light on design talent, head to Figma’s community resources — there are projects that you can duplicate and then adapt to your branding.
Check out the competition
What attracts customers to their websites? What can you replicate, improve on, or do differently? Check out bigger brands for inspiration, like Apple. For a product led company, its website feels more like a brand led company — it focuses on creating feelings of creativity, sexiness and magic. As an early stage startup you will have to explain your offering more explicitly but find elements that will excite new or returning customers.
Don’t forget responsiveness and accessibility
You want everyone to be able to use your site. The wider reach, the higher the chances of conversion. It’s a numbers game.
On the subject of… creating the perfect homepage
🧱 Building blocks. Here are all the elements you need to create a basic homepage.
🖥️ Is the homepage really the most important page? It may be the page that customers spend most time on, but often not the one they gain most value from.
🔧Your homepage isn’t even being looked at. If visitors are coming from Google, they will often bypass the homepage and land on a page that gives them the information they are looking for — so where should you focus your efforts?
🧑🏽🤝🧑🏽 Get better reviews. You want your users to trust the reviews you are displaying — they have to be, unbiased and reflective of your current product.
Anisah Osman Britton is coauthor of Sifted’s Startup Life newsletter, which comes out weekly on Wednesdays. Sign up here.