Where are the calls to action on the first screen of your home page?

Think about the people who arrive at your website for the first time.

Some will first see an internal page on your site, others will first see your home page.

If someone arrives at an internal page after reading an email, clicking on a PPC ad or reading a Tweet, you’re in good shape. You have delivered a specific promise and directed the reader to a relevant page.

But what about those visitors who first see your home page? More specifically, what do you do to get visitors to take action when they are looking at the first screen of your home page?

Think about that.

Someone who is directed to an internal page or a landing page is presented with a specific message.

But someone who sees the first screen of your home page is usually presented with a more general message.

As an example, someone arriving at an internal page of an online footwear store might immediately see a specific message which addresses his or her particular interest – light-weight hiking boots.

But if he or she arrives at your home page the message would be much more general – we sell footwear.

What do you do to address this issue on your site, or on sites you work on?

Keep in mind that if you want a home page visitor to take action, you have to give people a reason to act within the first screen. You won’t get 100% of visitors scrolling further down the page.

I raise this because too many websites fail to promote any kind of action within that first screen. They use that space simply to say, “Welcome. Here’s what we do.”

Yes, there may be various links. But the presentation of links is not the same as promoting action.

Here is what I do…

I look at the historical data and determine which three actions most people take when on the home page. Very often you’ll find that a good 80% of your home page visitors will take one of these three actions.

I then make sure I give people a good reason to learn more about each of these three topics, with a call to action within the link text. And I make sure that all this appears within the first screen.

As for the other 20%, I address their interests below the fold. You can’t satisfy everyone’s needs within one screen.

Take a look at your sites. Look at that first screen and see how hard it works to get people to click through to your most important internal pages.