Optimize SaaS homepages

1. Put together a clear value proposition that tells visitors what the platform is about, what they can do on it, how it is useful to them, and why they should use your platform rather than your competitors'.

According to Copyhackers, a value proposition is effective if it is: Unique. Desirable. Specific. Succinct. Memorable. For example, Tinder’s early value proposition: What is this site about? Finding significant others and new friends. What can I do here? Find a life-long friend or maybe your spouse. How is it useful to me? Meet and develop relationships with people you might not otherwise. Why should I buy from you instead of the competition? Nine billion matches, downloadable app. And… Unique? Yes, most are web-based. Desirable? Yes, humans crave connection. Specific? Yes, it’s for young adults. Succinct? Yes, no more than a few sentences. Memorable? Yes, there are personal stories.

2. Make your navigation easier by using industry-standard placements and phrasings.

This helps visitors to confidently move through your site without having to think too hard about how to achieve their goals. Your navigation system likely plays a major role in getting visitors off your homepage and into the conversion funnel. As a SaaS company, you might rely on your navigation to get visitors to your pricing or demo page. Navigation systems have two primary goals: They must be discoverable. How easy is it to find the navigation? How easy it to find what you’re looking for using the navigation? They must be accessible. How easy is it to use the navigation? Is it intuitive? Is it prototypical? For example, Influitive uses a standard navigation system:

3. Write content that is useful in helping visitors decide whether your platform is right for them, and what they want to do next.

It should be as long as you and your visitors need. Are all of their questions about the value proposition answered? Have they been given enough opportunities to leave the page? Your value proposition should be above the fold. The placement of your call to action, on the other hand, depends on which stage of engagement the visitor is at, and whether they’ll be ready to take that action immediately. Your visitors will read whatever they find genuinely useful/interesting. If you have a ton of filler or fluff content, of course, you’re going to find that no one reads homepage content. That obviously isn’t true. People will read what they find interesting and scan the rest for more potentially interesting content. For example, Evergage’s homepage content: Each section is informative and useful to someone in search of a personalization tool. There isn’t so much content that it feels overwhelming, yet there is enough to the given context and reinforce the value proposition.

4. Choose a call to action that is clear, concise, and describes something that the visitor is likely to want to do.

When choosing the call to action for your homepage, think back to your two overall goals and ask yourself these questions: What do I want the visitor to do next? What does the visitor want to do next? How informed is the visitor at this point? How motivated is the visitor at this point? Does the visitor have enough information to make a decision and leave the page? Sometimes, what you want is at war with what the visitor wants. The visitor should always win. If you try to rush their decision, you will have a high bounce rate. For example, Turo’s call to action encourages visitors to jump in and explore car share options with Book unforgettable cars from trusted hosts around the world.

5. Test your value proposition using customer interviews, five second tests, and A/B tests.

A/B test flipping your headline and subheading. We tend to lead with a vague, generic headline and leave all the real value hidden in the subheading. Talk to your customers to find out what value they find in your product: Why are happy customers still paying you? What do you have that no one else has? Why are unhappy customers leaving? Where are they going and why? Run a 5 second test to see if your value proposition can be quickly and clearly understood.

6. Check that your site's navigation feels familiar and effortless.

As a general rule, if visitors can feel themselves navigating, your system isn’t as effective as it could be. Do visitors know where they are if they arrive on your site anywhere other than the homepage? You are here style indicators go a long way. Are you using a tiny navigation system on a large, desktop screen? Are your navigation points in familiar, expected places? For example, is Contact us in the bottom right-hand corner of the footer? Does your navigation look interactive? Are visitors sure they can click? Does it stand out from the elements surrounding it? Does it have enough visual weight? If your navigation system is deep, is it possible for visitors to skip more than one level at a time? Or do they have to drill down through four different pages to find the subcategory they want? Have you grouped your content in a way that makes sense and is easy to navigate? What are visitors having a difficult time finding? Are they frequently looking for something in the wrong place? If you have a long page, should your navigation be visible at all times? Should you have an up or back to the top button? Is your dropdown list too small? Too big? Does your hover dropdown disappear as visitors try to click the link they want? Does your vertical dropdown extend way too far beyond the fold?

7. Conduct user testing on your call to action with a tool like Qualaroo or UserTesting.com

Ask questions like: Did you find everything you were looking for today? Is there something holding you back from signing up or making a purchase? What were you hoping to get from visiting our site? Did you get it? After reading the value proposition, what part of the page do visitors turn their attention to? How far down the page do visitors read before taking an action?

8. Check your website analytics to find out how visitors are using your website, and adjust your flow to allow for the actions people want to perform.

What’s the bounce rate on your homepage? How does that compare to the bounce rate on other pages? What page do most homepage visitors end up navigating to next? Is it the same as the one you suggest? What percentage of homepage visitors enter the conversion funnel? If you want people to go to your pricing page but they routinely end up on your features page, adjust your flow. Your data is telling you that your visitors aren’t ready to look at prices yet. Cater to their most desired action, not yours. The features page might be an additional step, but if the data is there, it’s a necessary step. In the end, conversions will increase if you simply adjust.