Ensure your home page tagline tells what you actually do
When people arrive at your website’s home page, you have about 10 seconds to win them over. The majority of your visitors will decide in that short time whether to stay or leave. They have heaps of other websites they can easily visit if they find your home page confusing or unhelpful.
In view of this, the tagline on your website home page (and the underlying meta tag) is an important factor in influencing visitors to stay or move on. The more visitors stay, the better your results.
A tagline is basically a short description. For a home page, the tagline summarizes what the business is about. A tagline summarizes the overall benefit being offered by the organization, bridging the gap between its products or services and what the customer wants. Whether it is a product, business, service, or idea, the tagline offers helpful information that can easily be remembered.
Using a good home page tagline is a fundamental principle of good website design. A good tagline is all too easy to forget about when providing the content under pressure from marketers to feature the slogan of the day.
Don’t confuse the tagline with a marketing slogan. The purpose of the tagline is to briefly describe what your organization does, while a marketing slogan is often just hype that doesn’t relate to site content that the search engines want.
The tagline should encapsulate what you actually provide. Visitors don’t want to read clichéd ‘solutions’ that say little about what is actually provided on your website.
How can you determine whether your tagline is suitable? Usability guru, Jakob Nielsen, advocates collecting the tagline from your own home page and from the home page of your closest competitors. Print them in a list without identifying the organization’s names. Read them and ask yourself whether you can tell which organization does what. Then ask a sample of external people the same question.
If the readers can’t readily identify your organization, you need to rewrite the tagline to be more descriptive.
Good taglines can be written relatively easily for most business-to-consumer (B2C) sites, but are more difficult for business-to-business (B2B) sites, which tend to sell products or services that are more complex. Summarizing the purpose is much harder with B2B sites, but is worth the effort.
Software sites are a classic example. If you read the tagline in most software sites, you will usually find a lot of waffle and puffery that only confuse the average customer.
How Do You Develop a Tagline?
- A tagline should be a short summary.
- Be creative, and avoid making a bland, vague, or meaningless statement. Use dynamic verbs that will move the audience toward a problem area.
- Offer a solution to the issue, and people will begin inventing their own reasons to take advantage of what is being featured.
- Use simple language that is clear, easy-to-read, and understandable. Focus on a friendly approach that will build a lasting connection with the viewers.
Here’s a classic example of a home page that didn’t even have a tagline. This is the lead text from the home page of a multi-billion dollar engineering and construction company. The first sentence (What makes…etc) is what appears in Google. It is completely meaningless to a visitor who is unfamiliar with the company:
Welcome to [Name}
What makes [Name] worth talking about is our proactive “can do” culture. We continually seek opportunities to improve our performance and provide high quality solutions to our clients.
Perhaps the in-house writers think the company was a household name and therefore they can make the home page cleverly understated. Perhaps they were so close to the subject that they couldn’t see the wood for the trees.
The problem for such companies is that they aren’t a household name for everyone. Such a home page won’t convey what their business is about in the search engines. And therefore prospective employees will find it unnecessarily difficult to find.
Compare the above effort with one of their competitors. Here how the the competitor’s tagline showed on Google:
XXX is a fully integrated and diversified business with operations in Property Funds Management, Property Development, Construction and Infrastructure …
Not exciting, but much more explanatory.
You can find many similar examples on the web. As the home page tagline is particularly important to organizations engaged in e-commerce, why don’t you check yours to see if you can improve it? You are likely to find your traffic increasing and therefore sales increasing as well.