It is a good idea to think about what you want to be on your Homepage last. Once you have been through the process of thinking about what you want to be online you will be in a good position to choose what is most important. Think about the most common tasks that users are going to perform on the site and if possible put them on the Homepage. Do not make users work to find what they are looking for. If you do they will leave your site.
Think about what is most important to your business. If you are a service for example make sure that your contact details are available on the Homepage. What use is an excellent website if no one can get in touch with you? Secondly why are people coming to the site? A good agency will define this with you but make sure that users can quickly and easily find what they are looking for on the Homepage. Thirdly what is your business about? It is possible that users will arrive at your homepage knowing nothing about you. A two to three sentence description of who you are and what gives users a quick overview of what to expect on the site.
Do not include information that is erroneous to what users are looking for. Resist the temptation to put a photo gallery of senior executives on the Homepage. It may be good for their egos but for someone looking for information it is no use. Avoid long flash introductions. Amazingly these are still being produced and cause annoyance to users who are not interested in seeing abstract phrases flying around their screen.
Perhaps the biggest challenge is to keep things simple. Too often a Homepage tries to do too much. Most sites have two or three areas and/or functions that are most useful to users. Put these on your Homepage and rely on a logical and structured information architecture to allow users to find further information.
Have an update or suggestion for this article? You can edit it here and send me a pull request.