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The homepage is always a battle and full of controversy in companies, what can you do?

What are some rules of thumb to creating an effective homepage? Here's a few we've learned from our experience helping over 75 startups build websites, applications and that elusive quality called 'brand.'

Things to consider

  1. Visual design and page structure create an indelible impression in the blink of an eye.
  2. Clear description of what the site is all about.
  3. Strong visual representation of the site's value. Tell your story in images, not just words. Make it memorable.
  4. Clear ways to find information about the creators, owners and team behind the site.
  5. A strong and stable call to action to new visitors. Invite them to perform a valuable task that engages them in the site's content or services.
  6. Additional stable calls to action useful to visitors making return trips.
  7. A few lively, dynamic elements that show the site has a pulse.
  8. Why should I trust the site? The elements must come together to make me feel confident that spending time here is worth it.


Our friend Luke W., principal designer at Yahoo! and author of the Functioning Form blog, offered some great thoughts on the concept of "stickiness" in his notes on Malcolm Gladwell's book "Tipping Point."

The content of a message matters. Specifically, the quality of "stickiness": is it memorable enough to spur someone to action?

The "stickiness" factor says that there are specific ways to make a contagious message memorable; there are relatively simple changes in the presentation and structuring of information that can make a big difference in how much of an impact it makes.


Usability expert Jakob Nielsen offers one of the best references on homepages and usability with his book Homepage Usability: 50 Websites Deconstructed.

Stanford's Persuasive Technology Lab published 10 Guidelines for Web Credibility as part of a larger compelling paper on web credibility in '02.

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