Engage Your Website Visitors Instantly With These Header Design Tips
Before a visitor lands on your homepage, they have likely been exposed to quite a few other promotional messages in the course of their day. Unless, of course, your website is the first one they are visiting.
Making an impression and engaging your visitors thus becomes a difficult task. How can you capture their attention and inspire them to explore further?
Well, part of the answer lies in making your headers more interesting and appealing.
Your website header is the first thing any potential customer will see. If you put some effort into it, you can overcome some of the reasons most websites have high bounce rates and disinterested visitors.
When reading this article, please think Services instead of Product, if that is what you offer. The marketing and promotional aspects discussed here are the same for both…
Showcase Your Products in a Striking Way
Since you never get a second chance at a first impression, your first order of business is to wow your visitors with your products. You want to instantly inspire a desire for ownership. The customer may not end up making a purchase, but you are aiming to make them want your product right off the bat.
How you will achieve this effect will depend on both the product and your audience. That’s why it’s key to create buyer personas before you move on to your header redesign. They will help you understand the kind of imagery that will work best.
Ideally, you will show the product in use or, if applicable, you’ll show the results the product can bring. Be as realistic as possible, and focus on the best aspects of the product. Accompany your imagery (or video) with conversion-oriented and benefits-based copywriting to further highlight the quality of the product.
Take a look at Rain or Shine Golf and their header. They are showing their products being used by relatable people, and it’s sparking plenty of emotions. There is a bit of FOMO going on as well – the people seem to be having a lot of fun, and you’ll want your family and friendship group to experience the same.
Image source: Rainorshinegolf.com
This kind of header will inspire visitors to keep scrolling and browse the different products you offer. They’ll want to know more, and they’ll be much more likely to click on a product page than click off.
You may also want to read: Website Design Tweaks That Can Improve Your Conversion Rates
Use the Header to Tell Your Brand’s Story
Storytelling is another great way to boost audience engagement, as it makes you more relatable, approachable, and infinitely more human. By telling the story of your brand, you are also emphasizing your brand’s uniqueness in a very effective way.
Granted, there is limited space in your header to tell a long story, so you will need to be conservative. Aim for the most effective way to communicate as much on-brand information as you possibly can.
Take a look at Orizaba Original. They have prominently displayed the most important features of their story in their header, alongside an image of one of their products. They are using powerful words, and they are underlying their USP at the same time: authentic, family-run, original.
Image source: Orizabaoriginal.com
You can achieve the same effect with the use of your own power words. What is it about your story you want your customers to know? How can you distill that information down, and how can you best communicate it with your audience?
You may want to use an image or a video to tell more of your story. Or, you can link out to your About page from the header (or prominently from your main menu) and direct those who would like to learn more there.
Remember to also focus on the aspects of your story that will resonate with your audience the most. How are you like them, and what can you tell them that will make them want to learn more?
Highlight Exceptional Customer Value
Your customers will be much more engaged when they are able to clearly identify what they will be getting from you. If you are able to clearly show them what’s in it for them, they will naturally be more interested and willing to explore further.
There are many ways to highlight your value in your header. You can:
- Showcase concrete data.
- Distill your value down to one key message.
- Use social proof.
- Do an explainer video.
The general rule of thumb is that the more complex your product is, the less technical you should be getting. Unless your audience is specifically tech-oriented, don’t flash around terms and numbers that no one will understand. If a portion of them isn’t knowledgable, always cater to the less informed and provide a way for the experts to get more information.
This is the approach Ahrefs has adopted. Their toolset is complex and varied, but they focus on none of that in their header. They do, however, provide some very powerful social proof. They also utilize FOMO a bit, as they are showing how many new users they’ve acquired in the past week.
Image source: Ahrefs.com
Your goal is to promote your product in a similar way by putting customer value at the very heart of your messaging. How you will deliver on your promises is something your engaged customers can find out by scrolling a bit further down the page or by checking out some of your other pages.
You may also want to read: Design Tips for Increasing Conversions on Content Sites
Describe Your Product with Video or Animation
If your visitors don’t understand your product, they are likely to bounce. The more time they need to get to know what you will be able to do for them, the less interested they will become, and the more likely they will disappear and never come back.
If you have a complex product, you can use an explainer video to provide more information. Make sure to keep it on the shorter side and speak an easy-to-understand language. Focus on the benefits a customer is expected to experience.
Phrasee is an excellent example. Their services are certainly complex, so they have shot a 2-minute video (that you don’t have to watch, mind you) that explains exactly what they will do for your business.
Image source: Phrasee.co
Their tagline is also very straightforward and tells you the gist of it. Chances are, you will be enticed to learn more.
Heystack is another good example of how animation can serve to engage your audience. Their header illustrates the pain point (complex operations that require way too much time and energy) and shows you how they can cut out the noise and help you simplify.
Image source: Heystack.is
Either of these approaches will work. All you have to do is consider the information you want to convey and the emotional effect you want to achieve. Heystack does a better job of appealing to the emotional side of customers, while Phrasee has used more of a logical and informational one. Your choice should depend on the preferences of your audience.
Use Your Header to Motivate Action
Your ultimate goal is to get your visitors to complete a certain action. So why not use your header to get them to do just that? That way, you won’t have to worry about visitor engagement, as you’ll already be taking them directly where you want them to go.
Your goal is thus to create an effective CTA that inspires just the right kind of action. You want to make it short but unique. Try to come up with something a bit more clever than “click here” or “sign up,” at least in your header.
Ideally, you want to tie the CTA back to your brand and make it something personal that speaks to your audience. By using personal pronouns, you can instantly make them feel like they are a part of your group and family, or even play with the fear of missing out.
Your CTA should also be quite distinctive and be the first thing a visitor sees. You don’t have to make it garish or extremely vibrant – just make it different from the rest of the page.
Simple CTA Example
Preset Love is a good example of an effective CTA. Their header CTA is in the red they use all over their website as an accent color, and it takes visitors directly to the conversion page. It directs traffic right off the bat and ensures visitors can engage with the product instantly.
Image source: Presetlove.com
UnscrambleX adopted a similar tactic, but this brand took it to an entirely new level. Their header gives instant access to their core product, so engagement is practically guaranteed. Those who need their services can use them in mere moments. This limits their bounce rate, as visitors are shown the feature they’ve come looking for right in the header.
Image source: Unscramblex.com
Use your header CTA to direct traffic to your main pages or the pages that most of your visitors will want to check out. If you offer numerous products, you can direct traffic to category pages or create several sections within your header that will provide room for numerous CTAs.
You may also want to read: How Website Design Influences UX of eCommerce Stores
Address a Common Customer Concern Early
Most visitors will enter a site armed with certain concerns. In the back of their minds, they will be considering shipping costs, return policies, the security of the transaction they are about to make, the quality of the product, and so on.
Addressing these issues early on – as early as your header – will put them at ease and ensure they are entering a more trusting headspace. And that, in turn, will also make them more engaged. They are much more likely to keep browsing and ultimately convert if they feel their concerns have been addressed in a timely manner.
Depending on what these concerns are, you can effectively eliminate them with your header imagery and copy. Perhaps you want to make it clear that there is no credit card required or that you offer a free trial.
Maybe you can provide certain guarantees or even highlight what your previous customers have said about your product or service. Ask your customers what their main concerns were before they made a purchase, or just address that one common obstacle: shipping costs.
Ozark Armament did a good job in that department by highlighting that they offer free shipping on all their sights. This can instantly make a customer feel more welcome and likely to shop, as they know there are no additional costs to consider and that they can now focus on picking the best product.
Image source: Ozarkarmament.com
Build Trust and Credibility
Finally, you also want to build trust and send a clear message to your visitors: shopping with you is safe, and all of their personal and transactional information will be protected.
Even though online shopping is becoming increasingly accessible and practically the norm for most, customers are still very concerned when looking to shop from a new brand. That’s especially the case if they’ve never heard of the brand before and have just landed on its homepage from a search engine.
The earlier you are able to establish the kinds of credentials that will appeal to them, the more engaged they are likely to be.
Dress Forms USA is a great example of a header that inspires trust. They highlight that they are the top-rated professional dress form and that they are trusted by the biggest names in fashion. Who these names are can be seen with a couple of quick scrolls.
Image source: Dressformsusa.com
They also have a Reviews button on the left-hand side of their header. It gives visitors the opportunity to see what others have been saying about their products and the shopping experience.
Those who value trust and credibility will thus be set at ease. Many of them have likely worked with less professional brands before, and they will be more engaged with a brand that has taken the time to highlight its commitment.
You may also want to read: B2B Website Design: How to Generate More Leads
Final Thoughts on Header Design
Improving the design of your website header can help you engage more visitors and ultimately boost your conversion rates as well. Remember that you always need to consider your customer’s interests and pain points first, and re-create your header so that it answers their questions and appeals to their particular problems.
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