Converting visitors to members. Building a membership website homepage requires some strategy if it’s to succeed in getting a visitor to become a subscriber.
Membership homepages need content designed to introduce, inform, build trust, peak interest and prompt the subscription of a visitor. And they also need to be optimised with keywords to be found by search engines.
We’ve created a checklist of homepage elements and best practices to use when building your membership website.
A simple logo
The first element most people add to their website is a logo. While it’s important to convey a brand identity, it shouldn’t be a focal point.
Avoid a large logo which typically creates a lot of empty space in the navigation area and pushes the banner below the fold. Unless you’re a name brand, your logo won’t inspire a visitor to sign up so keep your logo modest in size.
Add a favicon
A favicon is that small icon next to your site title on a browser tab. It helps users locate your page when multiple tabs are open. So often it’s a forgotten design element but it is another area where you can promote and establish your brand.
When building your homepage, make sure you pay attention to even the smallest detail.
Essential navigation links
Limit your navigation links to no more than six otherwise the header will appear crowded. Non-essential links like About and Contact can be placed in the footer.
Take some time to plan how your members will navigate your content. Make sure your site’s navigation is logical and user friendly. Good structure is important for both users and search engines when they are crawling your site to index it.
Your banner is the first point of engagement for a visitor as it’s ‘above the fold’. This means it’s the content that first fills the screen. Here’s where you need to make an impact and capture a visitor’s interest.
Use a high-quality, appealing image. Make sure you’ve compressed the file so it loads quickly, saves bandwidth and doesn’t ‘dribble’ down the screen. Use online image compression tools like tinyjpg and tinypng.
Your banner headline needs to connect with and inspire your audience AND be compelling enough to convince a visitor to keep scrolling. Exercise “power words” to motivate your audience to convert.
Use the subhead, to promote, inform and convince your visitor.
Anchor the text with a call to action button to trigger further action. Link it to your subscribe, store or learn more page.
Showcase member benefits
A showcase section allows you to highlight 3 or 4 key benefits of membership. Keep the text succinct yet descriptive. Be sure to include the relevant keywords you wish to be searchable for as this is vital for SEO.
Consider introducing each feature with a representative icon. This serves the dual purpose of adding visual interest while drawing attention to each benefit. Icons help to reinforce your message.
Use this space to make an impression about your service, product, team & philosophy. Share your story and peak a visitor’s interest enough that they will scroll further.
Before & after images
Fitness coaches should spotlight member stories. Include before and after photos to provide authenticity and advertise membership results.
Member endorsements help to build trust and online authority. Consider featuring 2 to 4 member recommendations on the homepage of your membership website.
Samples can be in the form of online tutorials, downloads, workouts or the article content you offer. This provides the opportunity for a visitor to have a sneak peek at your member content and a way for you to engage with your visitors.
Having a mix of member and non-member content is essential as Google doesn’t index content behind paywalls.
Use SEO best practices in content creation
On your homepage and throughout your membership website, you should be optimising your content to get found by search engines (SEO). This means incorporating the keywords and phrases that are being used when people are searching for content like yours.
Keywords help search bots understand your website and identify if it’s relevant to a search query.
Keywords should be present in titles, headlines, body text, image tags and most importantly meta tags. Of course, this doesn’t mean to keyword stuff. But to use keywords in a natural and authentic manner meant to inform and accurately describe your content and website.
Compress image files
To provide the best user experience, you want your homepage to load fast. Often large images are the culprit of slow loading pages. Make sure to resize and compress large image files so they load fast and deliver a positive impression to visitors and don’t click away.
Newsletter sign up
Offer a monthly newsletter to capture the email of interested visitors who may not be ready to commit but are potential future members. By adding a pop-up opt-in to your homepage, you have the chance to re-engage with and convert visitors at a future date.
List price plans
Hook your visitor at the bottom of your page with a call to action button linking to your subscribe page or with a grouping of your subscription plans outlining your membership options.
Clean & simple
Remember to keep the page structure simple and clean. Don’t overload your website homepage with images and text. White space allows the page to breathe and the visitor to focus.
Finally, pay attention to the colors you employ as every hue triggers specific emotions and can impact conversion.
Are you ready now to get started building your own membership website homepage? Head over to subhub.com and open a free 14 day trial.