Six Homepage Banner 'Must-Haves'
One of the first things people see when they arrive at your website is your homepage banner image. Most often the largest piece of real estate on your homepage, your banner image is in essence a virtual billboard or poster, usually featuring an important aspect of your business or organization.
Our SiteViz family of content management systems have the ability to update banner images through the admin panel whenever you like. With SiteViz, there’s no need to wait for a web designer to create and deploy a new banner image (unless you would like us to, of course). The power is at your fingertips!
The ability to update banner images is an exciting feature, but as they say, with great power comes great responsibility. Therefore, it is important to create your banner image with an awareness of how it will impact the overall impression of your website, your brand, and your business. Here are six tips to help you create effective, eye-catching banner images.
- Limit your text – The most effective messages are always the most simple. Each banner image should be a clear and brief expression of one idea, and one idea only. Use short, simple words for quick and easy comprehension. Limit or eliminate punctuation and edit down to the bare bones of your message. Rule of thumb: Ideally, use seven words or less. The absolute maximum is a ratio of one-third text to two-thirds visuals. There is no need to tell your audience everything in the banner image; after all, you want them to keep exploring your website and discover what your product or service can do for them.
- Limit fonts – Use no more than two font styles (preferably just one) and only one or two font sizes. Use the same font that is used elsewhere on your website, or one that is nearly identical. The order of importance determines which size to use for text. For instance, the headline should use a larger size whereas the benefits should use a smaller size. Make sure there is sufficient contrast between the text and the image. Examples: Becker Underwood and Aventine Energy.
- Choose effective imagery – Select images that portrays your message clearly. Photos should be in focus, free of extraneous clutter, well-lit, have appropriate resolution and strong composition using the rule of thirds. Your homepage is the face of your online presence, so ensuring your images are the best quality possible is essential. Make sure your images have appropriate resolution for the sizes at which they will be displayed. Pixelated or blurry images do not reflect well on your organization. When cropping your image, take care to ensure that its proportions match the proportions of your banner image window, since there's nothing worse than a site visitor being greeted with a distorted image. Avoid clip art and only use illustrations if they are specifically created in a style that harmonizes with the rest of your website design. Examples: DSM Designs and Ames Economic Development Commission.
- Limit your images - It doesn't make sense to have more then just a few images at a time in your slideshow rotation because it is highly unlikely that users will stay on your homepage long enough to see the entire "show." Instead, update your images and messages frequently to keep your content fresh and relevant.
- Don't go overboard with color - Select photos, text and graphics with colors that match or coordinate with the colors of your website. Examples: American Country Home Store and Overman Family Dentistry.
- Strive for a simple layout – Less is more. Control eye flow by grouping information logically and using the counterbalance of image and message to attract your website visitors’ attention and communicate quickly and clearly. Examples: Life Care Services and Peak ATP.
You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Make sure the impression your website makes portrays your product or service in the best light possible.