Branchflower's Blog About Art and Websites

How to Make Your Home Page Stickier


"Autumn Patterns" 5x7 oil painting

A few months ago I decided my home page bounce rate was too high.  Google analytics showed my home page bounce rate routinely above 65%.  One month it was 77%.  This is the page the majority of visitors first land on—and I was losing them.  I did an on-line search and found many articles that helped me recognize strengths and weaknesses on my home page, and with a few modifications, lowered the home page bounce rate over 10%.  You will want to do your own research, but these tips will get you started:

Heading or Title

As an artist, your name is your brand.  It should come first, followed by a summary of what you do.  Example:  Yvonne Branchflower, oil paintings.  It should be big enough to see easily, but should not dominate your work.  (Using “artist” is too general, in my opinion.)

Subheading

This should concisely summarize the second most important facts about your work.  Example:  Small Landscape Paintings of Oregon and California.  People use search terms like these—and find me.  It may seem redundant to use “paintings” in both header and subheader, but when I used an abbreviated subheading of “Small Landscapes: Oregon and California” a search turned up lots of landscape gardeners.

Image

Changing or not changing the image is a personal choice.  I change mine every 2-4 weeks.

Call to Action

I really got hung up on this.  It is just not cool to shout “Buy my incomparably fabulous paintings NOW!”  Eventually, I decided my website is about more than selling paintings.  It includes my thoughts on art, and sharing information with viewers.  I decided on three calls to action:

  • Read my Notes From The Studio…. (my blog)
  • Subscribe to The Palette Keeper….(my newsletter)
  • See more paintings at….(my best selling gallery)

Each call to action has a link to the appropriate page on or off my site.  These calls to action improved the stickiness of my home page.

 

Readability

There are a lot of black background sites with white text.  They are very hard to read.  If you want your site read, use a light-to-medium background with black text.  Yes, black makes the paintings pop.  It also makes your text fall flat.  Keep the fonts simple and large enough to read.

 

Miscellaneous Home Page Additions

Based on web guru’s recommendations, I added:

  • My name and phone number
  • Copyright information
  • Last updated on….  (shows you keep your website current.)

Summary

I learned the hard way not to streamline my home page too much.  It is not enough to rely on one image to carry the burden of interesting viewers to look deeper into your website:   Entice the viewer with a few calls to action—with links.

I refuse to obliterate my paintings with a big copyright mark.  A general statement will suffice.

The value of “last updated on…” is up for grabs.  Some gurus say the search engines don’t see that.  I say, the viewer should, and perhaps search engines do, because I make changes often, record them, and rank pretty high in searches that don’t include my name.  It certainly doesn’t hurt to show the last update.

Make a note of your home page bounce rate for a few months leading up to your revisions, then see what happens.  This assumes, of course, that you read your analytics.  If you don’t, get with it!

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