The homepage is the epicenter of your e-commerce website. It usually has the highest authority in the website. It is a nerve-center, from where all the navigational links branch out to the rest of website.
Search engines crawl the homepage and follow the links out of it to other pages of the website. They give high authority to the pages that directly link up with the homepage.
Visitors do the same; homepage provides them navigation cue to their search – a product or a service.
But have you optimized well your home page?
Do you get better, faster, easier and more conversions on your online store?
If your answer is no, then it is time to take a hard look at your home page.
There is a reason to get worried, but do not panic.
I know 5 homepage optimization secrets. They will transform your home page into a “money page”.
Here they are:
- Get your homepage navigation right
Before we talk in depth about it, I would want you to understand the navigation layout on the homepage.
In the above screenshot, you see product categories listed in a vertical manner. This navigation structure makes it easy add greater numbers of product categories.
If categories are less, say, 5 to 12 then horizontal navigation is a better option. Check the screenshot.
The vertical navigation arrangement allows you to include more categories and sub-categories on the homepage.
See below in the screenshot of Amazon.
Hover the mouse over the Electronics & Computers category. The sub-category menu opens. Car-electronics is one of the sub-categories. It is a link that takes you to the following page.
If you have many categories and subcategories, vertical navigation on the homepage is an ideal option.
When it comes to deciding the navigational links on the homepage follow this checklist.
- If categories and subcategories are many, then use vertical navigation
- If categories are few, then use horizontal navigation
- Prevent robots to crawl any of the links from sub-menus. Because too many links dilute the page rank.
So make some of them un-crawlable, excluding the best seller product links. It is like killing two birds with the same stone.
You improve the PageRank of the important links without cloaking the search engine. Amazon does that with success.
Try to de-clutter the navigation architecture by keeping minimal links.
The benefits are:
- greater page rank
- easy-to-find content (even in one click)
A complex navigation means complex content findability which in turn increases shopper anxiety.
See how Aeropostale has simplified its navigational links. Just 4 of them right in the hotspot.
Do you want to give your shoppers the many-clicks-anxiety or one-click-goodie-shopping experience?
The choice is yours.
2. Clearly define the navigation labels
The above screenshot is a fine example of short-named navigation labels. They are common names and well-known to most of the users.
Following are the best practices you should follow when you label your navigational links.
- Do not force a keyword in the primary or secondary label. SEO should not be the primary aim.
- Use a label that is understood by most (if not all) viewers
- Use short labels
Create separate URLs for each category if you group different categories in one label
See below the screenshot.
3. Search box the right way in the right place
Search box or field is a crucial part of the e-commerce store.
You see it somewhere on the top of the most of the home pages that you might have come across.
It should be in a prominent area of the homepage. See below the screenshot.
The white colored search box:
- is right on the top of the page
- is easy to spot
- occupies a prominent position on the homepage
Add search links to product attribute patterns like narrow, wide, popular, etc. See below in the screenshot.
The search by links are the entry points for search engines.
Users prefer them too because they go straight to their page in a single click.
4. Place More Text in less space
Usually, you do not find much of plain text content on the homepage because of the space restrictions.
The homepage is the nerve-center of the e-commerce store. It is also a high authority page on the website. There is a tendency to load it up with hot deals, images and graphics to entice visitors.
Most of the times it leaves little or no room at all for the text.
But you can overcome this shortcoming by using the carousel (aka slider). Instead of images put in your content.
See below in the screenshot.
Carousels give you enough space to add content. You can also hyperlink to the internal super-relevant content pages. That is good from the SEO angle too.
But you need to take care of the following with your carousel.
- The slides should not rotate fast. The readers should have enough time to read the content from each slide
- The auto-rotation should always pause when the mouse hovers over slides
- The auto-rotation should stop after any user interaction with the carousel.
Another great way of adding content on the homepage is through the use of tabbed navigation. See below the screenshot. Clicking on the individual tab opens up the relevant text page.
Note: Users tend to overlook the tabs. Hence, provide strong design cues that there is super-relevant content in them, which they want.
5. Utilize the marketing and merchandising area
Sliders that I have mentioned earlier in the tip no 4 come handy once again. This time for marketing and merchandising, right on the home page.
The popular products and hot deals in the home page slider link up with categories pages.
Search engines give greater authority to such link structure than other links.
Homepage based links get higher PageRank. Hence, the advertised deals and products get more converting traffic.
See below in the screenshot.
The user can slide the images of different products offered under “Hot Deals” and “Best Sellers” categories.
The homepage is the key area of the e-commerce store. You now know the 5 tips to optimize it and make it a money spinner page of your e-commerce store.