Why the Future of Home Page Design is “Funnel Marketing”

by Marcus Sheridan

simple web design

How's that for simple design?

I want to ask you a question that is the driving point to this entire article:

As a consumer, when you land on the home page of a website, what do you want to achieve? In other words, what’s your immediate goal?

Really, think about this question for a second before continuing. What is it that makes a great home page vs. one that frustrates you and leaves you wanting?

Although many answers could be given to this question, I submit we all share one central desire:

To find what we’re looking for IMMEDIATELY…without having to think too hard to get it.

It used to be, and still is for many companies, that a website’s home page was loaded with text—stuffed with every keyword possible and enough messaging to practically write a book. In fact, as I’ve worked with dozens of clients over this past year with their web marketing strategies, one of the most common problems is cluttered and confusing home page design.

But in 2012 and beyond, the principle of “Less is More” has never been stronger when it comes to effective web design and lead generation as “funnel marketing” (as I like to call it) appears to be the choice for many of the industry’s leading conversion authorities. Let’s look at a few examples of companies doing it right:

Copyblogger:

Copyblogger

With 4 distinct funnels, Copyblogger is the ultimate example of simplicity combined with efficacy.

Always known for their incredible focus on design and conversions, Copyblogger’s most recent home page design manages to perfectly allow the viewer to quickly and easily choose a funnel based on their needs. Although not shown in this image, the rest of their home page continues this theme with a strong newsletter opt-in and then their latest blog article.

Convince and Convert:

With 3 prevalent funnels showing, viewers can easily land on Jay Baer's site and find what they're looking for, or simply opt-in to his newsletter as well.

I’m a huge fan of what Jay Baer recently did with his website’s homepage, as it in many ways is the ultimate “How to” example of setting up a site built to convert traffic into leads but also allow viewers to quickly find what they’re looking for. Because Jay’s two main business are speaking and consulting, they show prevalently at the top but there is also a strong call-to-action with his newsletter opt-in box at the bottom right.

River Pools and Spas

Going from left to right, the 4 funnels take the prospect further and further down the buying funnel of a fiberglass swimming pool.

Over the years, I’ve experimented again and again and again with my swimming pool company’s homepage, but as far as increased lead conversions go, my current design has proven very effective. In fact, if you look at the four main funnels, going from left to right, you can see each addresses a “stage” in which a consumer may currently find him or herself in the buying process.

For example, if you’re just getting started with researching pools, you’re going to visit “Inground Pool 101.” If you’re starting to get more serious with your research but you’re still not ready to meet with someone, you’ll likely download an eBook or order our DVD. And finally, when you’ve researched enough of our products and you feel you’re ready to take things to the next level, you’ll call us for a quote.

As you truly understand your buying personas as an organization, the process of knowing what funnels to offer web viewers will get easier and easier.

HubSpot

HubSpot_homepage

With 3 main funnels and a touch of social proof, HubSpot shows why their database grows by the hundreds every day.

Similar to Copyblogger, HubSpot demonstrates the “less is more” technique clearly on their homepage with 3 main call-to-action funnels– (A free eBook, a free webinar, or a free trial)– all of which are set up to get prospects into a buying funnel and commence one of HubSpot’s now practically famous lead-nurturing campaigns.

SEOmoz

SEOMoz

4 funnels and a little social proof help SEOmoz lead their visitors perfectly down whichever funnel they choose.

It’s no surprise the leading search engine optimization site on the web is also one of the leading lead-optimization sites as well. Similar in scope to the HubSpot design, SEOmoz quickly gives viewers the ability to start a free trial of their impressive software as well as learn the 3 main components of what makes the software so effective with the bottom call-to-action funnels.

KISS

We’ve all heard the model of KISS, or Keep It Simple Stupid, but never has the phrase been more prevalent when it comes to effective home page design to generate leads, traffic, and sales. In essence, if you’re looking to enhance your company’s homepage to make things easier to navigate and also increase leads, here are some tips for review:

  • Don’t go nuts on the amount of text. People don’t want to invest in heavy reading until they dig further into your website.
  • Make your services pop, preferably with visible images, buttons, and calls-to-action.
  • A little social proof is a good thing.
  • An opt-in box where the prospect can easily subscribe to further articles/information (see Jay Baer or Copyblogger) from your company should be prominent.

Your Turn:

A couple of quick questions folks. Have you noticed this trend of more simple home pages combined with less text and more prevalent marketing funnels? Also, how would you describe your company’s current home page design and where do you feel it’s falling short? What have you done that has proven effective? Jump in folks, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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{ 74 comments… read them below or add one }

Rebecca Livermore June 11, 2012 at

I appreciate the examples because they make your point really well, and all I can say is that I can see that I clearly have my work cut out for me! ;)

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John Falchetto June 11, 2012 at

Who told you I was doing this to my homepage?

Funny you write about this, I was going to talk to you about it at BWENY.

Yes I love it, it’s simple and drives the message of what is happening.

Will you be going this way with the Sales Lion?

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Ameena Falchetto June 11, 2012 at

This is something I’ve been thinking about a LOT for my site redesign … it makes complete sense …
Another way of describing it would be to thinking of your homepage as a store front -you don’t have a clothes shop putting EVERYTHING in the window. They get their window display to basically summarise what they sell to entice you to dig deeper.

This is great now I need to get implementing!

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Marcus Sheridan June 12, 2012 at

LOVE the storefront analogy Ameena. Yes, the idea of putting an entire rack of clothes or product in a window is ridiculous, and so we need to start to think about these same principles when it comes to our web marketing.

Thanks so much for stopping by and also for allowing your husband the time to come to the States, it was so great chatting with John. :-)

Marcus

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Jay Baer June 11, 2012 at

Thanks Lion. I appreciate the kind words. What you may not know about me is that my background is in Web strategy and usability. There are two key things about home pages that I used to tell companies all the time. First, the goal of the home is to get the visitor to the best possible next page, in the least amount of time. Period.

Second, if everything on your home page is important, nothing is important. You can make your CTA clear in up to three ways: color, shape, size.

The problem is that VERY few companies use page-level analytics to diagnose the health of their sites. They look at aggregate data instead of drilling down to determine “what happens when people land on this home page for the first time? do they click where we want them to click? if not, why not?”

Great post, and an important success factor that’s not talked about enough. Bravo.

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john Falchetto June 12, 2012 at

Hi Jay,

Thanks for this insight about page level analytics.

I was wondering why you adopted this ‘funnel marketing’ approach on convinceandconvert but not on jaybaer.com?

Thanks

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Jay Baer June 12, 2012 at

Good question John. Jaybaer.com is a different site, with a different purpose. It’s primarily for speaker’s bureaus and meeting planners with whom I’m already in contact. Much less of a call-to-action imperative there, because it’s more of a credibility builder portion of a funnel that occurs primarily offline.

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Marcus Sheridan June 12, 2012 at

Great question John, great answer Jay. :-)

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Marcus Sheridan June 12, 2012 at

#AWESOME

Love it when you share a few of those extra brain cells you have with the rest of us JB ;-)

Keep rockin brother,

Marcus

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Tom Zoebelein June 11, 2012 at

Marcus,
One of your finest posts to date. And you are 100% correct with your philosophy on page design. My clients all want increased sales results. That’s it. They pay for us to make this process happen for them. They appreciate design, but “cool looking site” for sake of cool looking hasn’t entered the conversation in quite some time.

I find myself adding more and more buttons to client pages as I come up with contnet and ideas to attract more prospects and had not really thought about a left to right , above the fold, sales funnel process. You are right, people are coming to your business at all levels of sales funnel. The may hit you right at the buy now stage. Or they may be learning about what they want to buy. I think the mistake has been (on the home page) to move all prospects down the same funnel and assume they are just browsing and therefore need to be convinced, instead of ready to talk or ready to check out and ring the register.
I think this can still be done with some elegant design while still building and supporting the brand. Those buttons and those “funnel paths” don’t have to be so sterile.
I have just forwarded this post on to my creative director with a little write up and you can bet we will be meeting this week about it. We have about 8 websites/inbound marketing prospects in the works right now and I think you just helped me map out my strategy on their page redesigns. Thanks Marcus.
To answer your questions, I see pages with way too much clutter these days. Even the template sites out there have too much content on the first page for fear of bounce rate. The “Here it all is” approach is a bad one, just as an ambiguous approach is. This notion of clearly pointing people down the right path is an excellent strategy.
Second question, what does our site look like? terrible and I know it. but as with anything else its so hard to get back to your site when you have so much paying work and prospects to serve first. But I have been wrestling with what out new site should look like, and I think you have steered me in the right direction. We have a very “MadMen” look to our office, promo materials and even our proposals. I have been struggling with this idea of what would Sterling Cooper Price’s website have looked like in 1962 and then trying to create it. I get caught up in my own notions of period correctness sometimes at the sacrifice of real performance. My audience doesn’t live in 1962, they just think my stuff is cool. I need instead to do what best serves my audience.

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Jason Diller June 11, 2012 at

I’ve always made my homepages rich with text to get them to rank for many keywords as my homepages always have the most authority obviously.

Is this wrong? I think my navigation is really clean, but I def. have lots of text.

Am I crazy?

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Marcus Sheridan June 12, 2012 at

Tough to say bud, but I will tell you, I think that “style” if you will is something the search engines are going away from, especially with all the new updates.

And ultimately, we’ve got to have a great reader/customer experience as well.

With River Pools, I have less text than ever on the HP and and showing up for more keywords than ever, I can tell you that.

I’d suggest experimenting bud.

Good luck!!

Marcus

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Tom Schwab (Goodbye Crutches) June 11, 2012 at

Great articles and examples to a clear trend in making better home pages and sites in general.

Two Things come to mind as I read this great blog:

1. Steve Krug’s books where he talked about looking at most any web page and being able to cut the word count by half…and then half again. With ever smaller mobile screens we don’t read we scan for answers and directions.

2. I recently took the time to watch my 12 year old daughter navigate the web. I was amazed ho fast she made decisions to click (either thru or back). It was clear she wasn’t reading it all, just scanning for an answer or direction.

As for me, the older I get the more I look for headlines, pictures, and CTA and avoid reading the small print. It’s not that my eye site is worse, it’s just the print on everything is getting smaller.

Thanks Marcus

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Marcus Sheridan June 12, 2012 at

Tom, LOVED this comment man. Seriously. And how cool to analyze the way your daughter surfed and scanned the web! We can learn so much just by taking the time to notice these things.

GREAT stuff, thanks so much for stopping by,

Marcus

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paul wolfe June 11, 2012 at

Very cool post!

Will have to work out how to implement this on my bass guitar site.

And at some stage I’ll have to bring it to Da Spoon as well to cater for the folks who wanna read about video, and those who wanna read about writing.

How are u going to implement that here?

Paul

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Marcus Sheridan June 12, 2012 at

I’m certainly going to implement it here Paul. It’s just the next step in the developmental process. I think I’ll have 3 big fat funnels– Speaking, Workshops for Organizations, and Content Consulting….and maybe a HubSpot one as well.

Still figuring it out but be rest assured, you’ll be seeing it soon.

Cheers brother,

Marcus

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Mr.G June 11, 2012 at

Interesting desings…. they all look to me like Derek Halpern’s “Content Buckets” idea on steroids.

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Marcus Sheridan June 12, 2012 at

That’s not a bad point at all G, yes, Derek’s focus on simplicity aligns very much with this.

Thanks for your thoughts!

Marcus

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Michael Stetina June 11, 2012 at

Hi Marcus – Your timely posts sometimes make me wonder if you’re reading my marketing plan. I’m in the middle of a Home page redesign and your great advice is just in time.

I was especially having a hard time trying to use too much text – your post has given me license to edit! Thank you.

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Marcus Sheridan June 12, 2012 at

Hahahaha Michael, well it took you long enough to find out, I’ve had a spy in your office for 2 years now! ;-)

Thrilled this helped a little man and hope you’ll let me know of your results moving forward.

Best,

Marcus

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Ryan Hanley June 11, 2012 at

Marcus,

My homepage is the number one issue I see on my blog right now. I just use my last Blog Posts and the same standard sidebar. Not good… No strong call-to-action…

I don’t really have anything to add as far your thoughts here because I think their right on the mark.

What I would love if for you to do a follow-up post and talk about the Landing Pages that this Action-Oriented Funnel Marketing Homepages send web traffic too… (If you haven’t already)…

Thanks dude.

Ryan Hanley

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Marcus Sheridan June 12, 2012 at

Hey brother, thanks for the suggestion. It’s a very good one and I think I’ll be talking more about design conversion strategies going forward, because it’s something that affects us all, more than we even realize.

You’ve got a strong site though man, so don’t be hard on yourself. And it’s getting better all the time– which is actually one of your greatest strengths in my opinion– you’re constantly pushing the improvement bar.

Keep rockin,

Marcus

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Ryan Hanley June 12, 2012 at

Thanks dude… I’ll step back from the ledge then I guess… haha.

If you’re interested in some good Conversion Strategies reading check out Convert by Ben Hunt.

I’m like 3/4 through it and loving this guy’s style.

Hanley

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Amy Bermar June 11, 2012 at

So great to see this.

When we revamped our site last year — the challenge was to keep it clean, and still focus on what the customer really wants. The evidence: http://www.corporateink.com.

For us, that meant CEOs and VPs of marketings — and what they ask us — a PR firm — in pitches.

So we focused on industry expertise, driving exits, driving leads, and creating new markets. And we dumped the ‘usual’ PR stuff about who we know, and writing press releases.

Glad to know it is still good. ;-)

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Marcus Sheridan June 12, 2012 at

Amy, wow! I just looked at your site and am truly impressed– talk about a perfect KISS homepage, well done!

To success!

Marcus

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Urban Renström June 11, 2012 at

Thanks for the insightful post. Seeing simple and clean designed from your examples naturally helps to visualise your points.
Design is important and is critical for the 5 sec test. What I struggle with, as I am not being a designer, is translating my ‘vision’ into simple webpage incorporating the funnel idea.
The KISS concept maybe is where I should focus my efforts.
Great post I have +, And tweeted.

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Marcus Sheridan June 12, 2012 at

Urban, thanks so much for taking a moment to stop by and I’m so glad this post helped a little.

So good luck with your KISS efforts and continued success sir!

Marcus

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Marlee June 11, 2012 at

Hey Marcus,

I agree with Mr. G. in these comments, and I really like the concept. I think this trend has been a long time coming. The concept has been around for a long time in the form of squeeze pages, but applying your buying process to the idea takes it to a whole new level. I’ve yet to implement anything like this in my business, but it’s something I could easily see myself doing. I think the key to making this effective rests on really knowing who your customer is – and not just who you think they are – you gotta know. I think that probably makes all the difference it whether or not they convert they way you want them to.

Thanks for keeping us in the know, Mr. Marcus!

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Marcus Sheridan June 12, 2012 at

Marlee!!! I’m so happy to see your smile stop by the Lion’s den :-)

You’ve made a great point regarding knowing who your customers are. Yes, that’s a big, big deal. Huge actually. And you’ve got to know you YOU are as well.

When we put 2-4 big, fat funnels on a page, it’s a clear message as to what we do and what we are…and who we’re targeting.

Again, wonderful seeing you Marlee!

Marcus

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Cheryl Pickett June 11, 2012 at

This is an excellent post and timely for me as well. I think too much clutter, visual or text, and lack of organization are definitely two huge issues a lot of sites have. As Jay said, there are elements that are testable, but there is also a level of subjectivity to design and navigation that we have to remember as well. Some people are quick to scan around, others want more up front clear and obvious, so each may have a slightly different idea of what is easy/simple or fast enough. All circles back to doing the best you can at understanding your customer.

I’m also glad you brought this up as I believe this is an area where I can use my skills to serve people and it looks like there is a need for it! So thanks for that!

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Marcus Sheridan June 12, 2012 at

Hey Cheryl!! How are you? (New job going well I hope!!! :-) )

Thrilled this article helped a little bit and yes, design is certainly a subjective thing. I think part of it goes back to the need to experiment, see what converts, and also see how design affects traffic patterns too.

Have a great rest of your week Cheryl!

Marcus

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Cheryl Pickett June 12, 2012 at

They are going slow with the marketing side, but have told me they value my insights ;-)

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Rebecca Livermore June 12, 2012 at

Cheryl,

Going slow is better than not moving at all. ;) What’s your new job?

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Sarah Kolb June 11, 2012 at

We’re redesigning our blog (a project that I’ve just learned I am spearheading) and the big missing piece right now is the homepage, and I cannot tell you how timely this post is for me. You’ve given me a ton to think about and some really, really great examples of companies that are doing it right — thank you for another excellent post!

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Marcus Sheridan June 12, 2012 at

Hey Sarah! Always so great to hear from you and I’m thrilled this helped. It’s funny, it really didn’t know if many folks would respond to this article but the response has been great, especially with emails. So thank you and good luck!!

Marcus

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john June 12, 2012 at

It’s so hard to create homepage. Takes time and the result are not that good. Thanks for sharing this, At least I have hope. :)

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Claire Axelrad (@CharityClairity) June 12, 2012 at

Timely post as most websites today are just not customer centric. Appreciate the great examples! Now… on to figure out some good funnel strategy…

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Marcus Sheridan June 12, 2012 at

So glad it helped Claire! :-) Good luck!

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James Gurd June 12, 2012 at

Hi,

Great post and bang on the money IMO. What’s the biggest issue on a homepage? High bounce usually. Trying to do too many things for too many people. There are two (main) options:

1) Segment audience and deliver alternative homepage versions based on visitor type – segment content, message and calls to action based on perceived characteristics of the audience. Issue – not everyone can afford to do this (cost of tech, time to manage, measure etc)

2) Get visitors to think about why they have visited and then give them clear paths to achieve this – encourage people to think in terms of goals, helping in your pursuit of goal completion.

I’m working with a couple of Clients to test completely different formats of home pages – there is a risk that all home pages end up the same, so I think rethinking the approach to make them more goal and funnel focussed is both logical and essential.

Thanks
james

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Matthew Stock June 12, 2012 at

I try to look at our home page much like a billboard. I’m told anymore than 7 words on a billboard is very difficult for a fast moving driver to absorb. Although transit and web advertising is quite different, the “less is more” design theory applies to just about all advertising mediums (except Content Marketing!). Employing that approach allows your most important selling points to stick out. For us it is our company branding video and scheduling a free consultation.

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Ainslie Hunter June 13, 2012 at

Marcus

When my site was redesigned last year it incorporated the funnel technique based on the three main reasons why people come to the site. (which is similar to what James mentioned above)

This site is great for potential customers but also helps me from the back end.

By looking at my analytics I can clearly see which of my three buckets is more popular and therefore I tailor my content to target that specific service.

If you want to see my example then check out http://coursesthatmatter.com I can’t take any credit from the idea – James Chartrand and the Men With Pens team designed it

Ainslie

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Marcus Sheridan June 15, 2012 at

Hey Ainslie! Yep, that Chartrand does dome pretty dang good work, and I’m thrilled to here you’re experiencing success with the new design.

Keep up the great work!!

Marcus

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Rick Rhoads June 13, 2012 at

Yes! This is exactly what we are looking at with our own e-commerce website. We are completely giving our home page a makeover and this is what we need.

Thanks for great post brother!

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Marcus Sheridan June 15, 2012 at

Rick!! How goes it my man? :-) Dude, I’m so glad you’re making progress and really making things easier on the end user. That’s what it’s all about bud.

Now just keep it up!!

Marcus

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Rick Rhoads June 15, 2012 at

Yes! We are finally starting to make some progress. Let’s talk soon.

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DJ Waldow June 13, 2012 at

Very timely post, Marcus. I’m in the final stages of the WaldowSocial.com redesign (and rebranding). When I first launched Waldow Social almost a year ago now, the goal was to have a “functional” website with the blog being the prominent feature.

However, over the past few months as the business has grown, I’ve realized that even I don’t have a clue what Waldow Social does by going to WaldowSocial.com. That’s not good. The new website will streamline “the funnel” as you say. It will be (or should be) very clear what Waldow Social does and how I can help companies. The call to action will be “Learn More” … and, of course, the email opt-in will be prominent.

One last thing: My former co-worker and still good friend & mentor, Chris Penn, once told me that you should be able to look at a website’s homepage from across the room and still be able to tell what it does.

Random: Not sure what happens when I check the box next to “Check if You Think Lions are Cool (and you’re NOT spam;-)” but I did it. Ha!

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Marcus Sheridan June 15, 2012 at

DJ, what’s up bud? So glad you dropped by my man and thrilled that you’re making so much progress with your company and continuing to refine the message.

And a GREAT quote by C. Penn indeed!

Cheers bro,

Marcus

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Howie at Sky Pulse Media June 13, 2012 at

Hi Marcus

long time. I agree with you. great ost! The last thing people want to have to do is spend time searching. Many studies show how many people flee based on number of clicks. I love using Google for a product then click shopping. Bam I get a list of the product who sells it the price etc one click away.

Getting people to your home page is hard enough! Why then turn them off?

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Marcus Sheridan June 15, 2012 at

Howie!!! How goes it brother? So glad you found a little value with this post my man.

Hope all is well on your end,

Marcus

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John Byrne June 13, 2012 at

Hi Marcus,

I just remembered the reason I subscribed to your website a number of months ago. Brilliant article. Sooooo True, Funnell Marketing is the way I always wanted to design my website (I just didnt call it funnell marketing)

It makes total sense and Im going to get working on it straight away from the Home Page inwards.

I also loved your 10 Most misleading social media metrics

Thanks, I will pay attention to your site a lot more from today onwards

John

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Marcus Sheridan June 15, 2012 at

John!! Well then welcome back sir! ;-)

Keep pushing my friend and I look forward to seeing you again,

Marcus

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Ileane June 14, 2012 at

Hey Marcus, I just love this concept and I think it’s perfect for people who have a product or a service to sell. I’m not quite to that point yet, but I’m chugging along…
Thanks!

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Rebecca Livermore June 14, 2012 at

Ileane, you’re more than chugging. I see you everywhere!

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Marcus Sheridan June 15, 2012 at

Like Rebecca said, you’re more than chugging lady!! :-)

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Danica Schelts June 14, 2012 at

Hi, Marcus. Thanks for sharing this concept. Those web designs are really impressive for a website. For those people who have websites online must follow these sorts of websites features.

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Gini Dietrich June 14, 2012 at

Oh phew! I started to panic when I saw the new design of the River Pools and Spas website. I use it as an example when I speak to B2B audiences and the owners are always enthralled with the map that shows where you’ve installed pools. I’m happy to see it’s still there on the home page!

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Marcus Sheridan June 15, 2012 at

Trust me, that map isn’t going anywhere for a longgggg time G’ ;-)

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Candyce Edelen June 14, 2012 at

Hey Marcus,
Thanks again for the awesome job you did bringing everything back to earth on the panel today!
I’ve got a client for whom we’re about to start a website redesign (we’re going to be looking for bids from great design teams). The company sells to multiple niches in the financial markets where the customer needs and their interpretations of the solutions vary pretty widely. Have you seen examples of more complex enterprise software companies using this funnel model effectively?

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Marcus Sheridan June 15, 2012 at

Candyce, thanks so very much for having me on your webinar. It was excellent conversation indeed and there’s nothing better than conversing with people much, much smarter than myself. :-)

As for other examples, I honestly think this concept is generally so novel to designers that many are missing the mark, and the opportunities are wide open.

But I’ll certainly be looking around so as to let you know if I see some other great examples.

Thanks again!

Marcus

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Jens P. Berget June 15, 2012 at

Hi Marcus,

I’ve noticed the switch to “funnel marketing” and I understand why it works. Its so easy to see everything and get an overview of all the important parts of the website.

Great examples. I’ve thought about doing this to my blog, but the hard part is to add few things to the homepage when I have so many things to choose from :)

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Marcus Sheridan June 16, 2012 at

Yep, the switch is on Jens, that’s for sure. Mine should be done soon as well, so you’ll have to let me know what you think! :-)

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Rebecca Livermore June 16, 2012 at

I’m looking forward to seeing that!

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Jon Buscall June 18, 2012 at

Marcus, I am a massive fan of the KISS approach. I think designers often like to make things pretty without thinking about functionality.

All the tracking I’ve done shows that simple, clear call-to-actions are what works.

Just because something looks “good” to a designer, does not mean it will work as a business site and deliver results. Trouble is, many clients have the perception that a complex design is what’s needed. It’s like we have to start educating clients all over again.

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Jalanda James June 19, 2012 at

I’m a fan of simple.

I especially hate websites that have every inch filled. I’m overwhelmed and usually end up leaving.

I’m following Derek of Social Triggers advice to keep the sidebars clean. I’m still testing but he’s successful. So I hope it works.

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Johannes June 21, 2012 at

Whenever I visit a website, I want that the homepage attracts me to stay on the page. I don’t want to click 10 times until I can read the newest stuff about Android. In most situations the website should be simple, but also interesting for visitors. I think thats a tough job.
One example:
I visit YouTube everyday. When I open the hompage of YouTube I the newest videos of my subs. When I watch them, there are several related videos I can watch aswell. That holds me on the side for more than just 10 minutes ;)

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Josh Squires June 26, 2012 at

Couldn’t agree with you more on this. Great article. I’ve been sharing it around because more people need to read this so they can have a better understanding of how a business website is supposed to work.

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Marcus Sheridan June 28, 2012 at

Awesome Josh, so glad you liked it!

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Mitch Mitchell July 17, 2012 at

Man Marcus, we were on a nice run there, but now I have to be me again. lol

Actually, it’s not that I’m out and out disagreeing with you. I like the simplicity and I like the look of those sites. However, comparing them to what I see as the norm in business websites doesn’t really work. Why?

Because most website have no ranking whatsoever, or if they have a ranking it’s so far down that almost no one is seeing it. The sites you highlighted, except maybe your pool site (which I’m not sure of) have tons of content in other places, which helps them in the SERPS. You don’t see that with most business websites. As a matter of fact, what you DON’T see with most business websites are those things that tell both search engines and customers exactly what the businesses do when people show up on the main page.

Pretty doesn’t get it done, and we both know that flash and images won’t get it done. What gets it done? Content, at least 150 to 200 words, so the search engines at least have something to work with. That and of course supporting pages to help boost what the main page says the company is about, if they get that corrected.

These days I see more business sites starting to look better, which is a good thing. But designers make “pretty”; they don’t even try to make functional. And like we say about blogs and the need to help drive traffic to them, pretty just won’t get it done without… content.

That’s my two cents. I do like the concept of having things ready for consumers to act once you get them there, but the trick is to get them there, and that just might take some proper SEO or other forms of advertising, adding content, and of course social media.

Yeah, I know, I’m always trouble. :-)

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Zyrine Kirk August 17, 2012 at

Using a 3rd party service is a brilliant way to create the marketing meet your needs, because this company, that is knowledgeable in most marketing forms, is capable of doing assisting you out. Plus, when customers make an effort to achieve your organization, you’ll need a multi functional texting feature.

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joe January 30, 2013 at

Perfect article, and a great page to get some ideas for the homepage design of my website. At first my site was pretty but didn’t give a great CTA but seeing some other websites really has sparked some ideas!

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Jordan J. Caron February 19, 2013 at

Marcus,

Mitch is correct that website design should be more about function and not style. Pretty doesn’t sale. Getting people the information they want in a timely matter is important in this gotta have it now world is what does sale.

Although I like the idea of people landing on my homepage and seeing all my recent blog posts, I want to direct them to the information that will generate more sales for me.

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Marcus Sheridan February 20, 2013 at

No question Jordan, but I think this is exactly why testing and experimentation is so very critical to all of this.

Thanks for coming by man,

Marcus

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Mike Pedersen March 21, 2013 at

Great post Marcus!

I’ve always liked the minimalist homepage, but have also been convinced in the past that google wants lots of content (copy) on the homepage. Not so true anymore. Every website really only has one, maybe two goals, so the homepage should be designed to get people to take those actions (and quickly).

Thanks,
Mike

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www.youtube.com November 14, 2013 at

Hi there colleagues, its enormous post about tutoringand entirely defined, keep it up all the time.

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