A website’s homepage tends to get all the glory but, whilst our research shows that it is one of the most visited pages on a recruitment website, it is certainly not always the entry point that many think it is.
Gone are the days when a user would have to enter the URL of a website into a browser to access it. Many enter a website via an e-newsletter or blog link, a search on a search engine that brings up the most relevant page to that search, or social media.
It’s therefore essential that every page on your website ‘thinks’ like a homepage.
When a user lands on a page – whatever page that may be – they need to know who you are, what you do, where they are on the website, where they should be going next, and how to navigate to that point. Every single page needs to have a homepage mindset.
Your brand identity – logo, colours, shapes, tone, content approach – should be consistent throughout your website so that whichever page a user enters your site via, it will be immediately recognisable as your business.
As they travel through your website, that branding should be constantly reinforced. Everything from the types of imagery used, to ensuring your core message is embedded on every page, to the approach taken (formal/informal, etc), to the tone used in your text should be consistent across your website.
One of the homepage’s major roles is as a stepping stone to guide the user through the website. If a visitor lands on another page on your website, it’s vital that navigation is similarly clear.
Bigger websites should employ the use of breadcrumbs – a secondary navigation tool for websites with a large number of pages organised in a hierarchical structure. A breadcrumb trail helps users to understand where they are in the hierarchy of website pages, allowing them to quickly navigate back. Clear navigation on every page is vital in reducing bounce rates.
Header and footer
A great way to offer every navigable option to users, whichever page they land on, is to keep a consistent header and footer. That way they can immediately see what content the website contains and where to find it.
Both header and footer should feature your logo and tagline if you have one, plus other branding elements – this anchors and guides the user. The logo serves a dual purpose. As well as being a core part of your visual identity and a way for users to immediately connect with and recognise your brand, it often functions as a link back to the homepage. If users do feel disorientated by landing on another page, they can quickly navigate to the homepage and begin their journey from there.
When approaching the content of each page you need to design and write for someone who might not have arrived at it via your website’s homepage.
The content needs to tell the visitor not just what that particular page offers but what they can expect from the website – and business – as a whole.
It is important, however, that the page doesn’t lose its own identity and purpose. What is the main goal of each page and how does that fit into the overall goals of the website? Always have that goal in mind when creating content and ensure the call to action (CTA) facilitates that goal.
Every page on your website needs a call to action (CTA), a way to prompt, entice and direct users to perform an action that will either directly convert or will take them to the next stage of their journey on your website.
Of course, each page will have a unique purpose and therefore a different CTA but always make sure you tell visitors what to do next.
The perfect CTA should be persuasive, compelling, clear and concise and must do the following – offer benefits, lead to immediate results (of some kind), rouse curiosity, create urgency, be easily clickable/tappable on whatever device is being used, and be placed intuitively on the page. It might be ‘Apply now!’ or ‘Register for job alerts’ on your jobs page, ‘Subscribe for more content’ on your blog page, or ‘Get in touch’ on your client/candidate pages but you need to guide users to take the next step on every page.
Ultimately, you need to design every page for a user who has no knowledge of your business. You need to give them context, clear navigation, brand recognition. They should gain the same clear idea of who you are, what you do and what you offer whatever page they land on.
Along with their own specific goals, each page should have the same key objectives as the homepage – quickly engage new visitors, direct them to the content they are looking for, and convert those visitors into registered candidates/new clients/interested parties that want to know more by contacting you.
Design every page with a homepage mindset and it won’t matter how users get to your site or where they land.