Anatomy of a Home Page
Also, says Burke, remember your brand image when designing your home page's "kicker" spaces (the larger, clickable sections of the page). Both what you say inside these kickers, as well as the language used to say it, carry strong brand implications.
Products and Promotions
Brand comes into play again in your selling space. Burke proposes using promotions only if your message speaks to such offers. If it does, have both your pictures and copy match your message.
For example, catalogers that rely on promotional material should use the word "sale," while those who stay away from discounting can use "clearance" or "outlet."
Fahrland lists banners or spotlights with text overlay, tastefully designed price call-outs and special sales sections as some of the most successful promotional sections of e-tailers' home pages.
She also recommends devoting roughly 65 percent of your home page to selling product. When doing so, she says, use photos that are bigger than thumbnails, but smaller than the photos used on full product pages. Correctly optimizing these will help keep your home page size to less than 80K (a measurement Burke uses as a standard), which keeps your site's load time to a minimum.
Of course, promotions all should be bolstered by prominent purchasing and/or shopping cart buttons, as well as a button that links the user to information about his or her account or list of favorites.
At the same time, keep the page looking clean and simple. Burke advises catalogers to limit the "clickable" spots on their home pages to less than 25. Any more, he says, and you've lost the customer.
Search and Quick Order Area
Include both a search box and a quick catalog order box on your home page, states Jim Sterne, president of e-consultancy Target Marketing of Santa Barbara.