Homepage structure 101: how to finally make sense of the most difficult page on your website

Some businesses treat their homepage like the outside of a tube of jelly beans. Colourful brand imagery, plenty of serving suggestions, lists of attractively named flavours squeezed around the legally required small print such as nutritional information, customer service contact info. Oh, and your current prize draw too.

After all, who knows who’ll be visiting your homepage? It could be anybody. From a job seeker to a member of the press. From someone who mistyped a search term to a VIP customer.

It’s not surprising then, that structuring such an assortment of information can feel like a daunting task – and that homepages are the most difficult part of a website to write.

You’d think that 30 or more years after the first homepages were created, the internet would have solved this conundrum. But as a quick Google search reveals, most online advice isn’t up to the task.

First up, there are the blog posts like this guide to website structure, that use words like “webbed”, “sequential” and “matrix”. They’re far too technical for the decision maker who simply wants content that makes sense for their visitors.

Or, you’ve got the posts like this top-ranking article, that rattle off the various elements you’ll need, like a homepage shopping list. “Headline (duh!), sub-headline, call to action…”

The trouble is there’s no one size fits all when it comes to homepage structure. Yes, you might have all the components – but that doesn’t mean you have a well-structured homepage.

Why? One simple reason:

A powerful homepage structure is more than the sum of its parts

In this article, we’ll walk you through how to find the ideal structure for your homepage content – all illustrated with examples from 3 different industries: consumer products, B2B innovation and software as a service (SaaS).

  • First, we’ll explain why homepage structure is so important – especially in e-commerce, and especially for mobile visitors.
  • Next, you’ll learn to ask the key questions that will help you develop your homepage structure.
  • Finally, you can sense-check how long your homepage should be in order to optimise for conversion – depending on your business model, industry and ideal customers.

Your conversion rates don’t rise to the level of your A/B testing.
They fall to the level of your page structure.

Let’s start with a look at how a poor homepage structure harms your business.

No structure, no traffic

Search engines use structural elements like headings, subheadings, images and links to analyse your homepage and determine what it’s about.

Let’s take Google as an example: The Google EEAT model prioritises web pages that demonstrate Expertise, Experience, Authority and Trust.

Wondering how structure plays into this? Well, think about some Authoritative, Experienced Experts that you Trust. Perhaps a medical doctor, a colleague or a university professor you admire. When they present information to you, it’s probably not a firehose of random remarks.

Applied to your homepage, it’s only natural that a logical structure will help you attract traffic and turn it into leads. After all, the page exists to represent you and your business as an Expert, Experienced, Authoritative and Trustworthy partner for your customers.

But ranking well on Google is not the only reason homepage content structure is so essential. It’s also one of the simplest ways to improve the experience of your mobile visitors.

And in turn, increase your conversion rates.

No structure, no mobile shop sales

Responsive web design may be the norm these days, but that doesn’t mean viewing homepages on mobile devices is a walk in a park. Here’s why: many homepages lack structure and overview. “Overview” lets visitors see the page or website’s structure at a glance so they can quickly get to where they want to go.

According to one of the most extensive studies ever conducted by Baymard Institute, disorientation and a lack of overview are especially prevalent in mobile e-commerce, where many products compete for our attention:

The issues caused by a lack of overview lead users to miss important information, select incorrect options, or draw conclusions that aren’t correct (e.g., a particular product isn’t available, when it’s simply out of view in a product list). During testing we observed many users abandoning a product or site because they couldn’t locate critical information.

And nowhere is this issue more pressing than the e-commerce sector: Statista’s Market Insights report that in 2023 and 2024, 60 percent of all global e-commerce sales happen on mobile.

In other words, if you want to increase conversion rates, your best bet is to optimise the user experience of your online shop for mobile users.

According to Statista's Market Insights, mobile e-commerce sales reached 2,169 billion USD in 2023 and now make up 60 percent of all e-commerce sales around the world. The share of mobile e-commerce has been on a steady climb, up from 56% in 2018 to an expected 62% in 2027. The increase of mobile e-commerce sales in U.S. dollars has been even steeper. Statista analysts predict mobile e-commerce sales worth $3,436 billion. This is in stark contrast with the $982 billion that were generated in the segment as recently as 2018.
Statista analysts predict further growth in mobile e-commerce sales over the next few years. Source: Chart: Global Mobile E-Commerce Worth $2.2 Trillion in 2023 | Statista

How to get your homepage structure right for mobile visitors

If you’re looking to improve your website, run some user testing first. Just 5 to 10 tests per customer segment will reveal the most important stumbling blocks to taking action on your site.

Combine this with reading large-scale UX research to turn your findings into a prioritised road map. For example, that Baymard Institute study we cited proposes a number of improvements:

[…] a general solution was observed during testing which can help to mitigate some of the issues caused by a lack of overview: Keep It Simple.

There’s always a tendency to add more features, more links, and highly interactive content to a site — all of which can benefit end users in certain circumstances.

Yet the primary goal of the site should never be forgotten — helping users find, explore, and purchase products — and it’s often observed in testing that this extra content, while perhaps well intentioned, harms users’ ability to maintain an overview of the current interface.

One may assume that, for example, having an extra promoted category in a product list is “no big deal”, or adding a sitewide free shipping ribbon won’t matter much, or having an “Install App” callout isn’t a “deal breaker”, but all of these can greatly harm users’ ability to get an overview of the mobile page — especially when the multiple additions are experienced at once — and consequently these issues are often observed to be a direct cause of mobile site abandonments.

In short, resist the urge to overcomplicate the mobile interface. Simple, clean designs were observed in testing to almost always support users better than complex designs that demand a lot of user attention.

Understanding Mobile E-Commerce UX: 5 Overarching Issues – Baymard Institute, original emphasis.

The takeaway: optimise your homepage structure for mobile traffic and SEO

  • KISS: Keep your homepage structure as simple as possible. The clearer your structure, the more easily you’ll achieve a good content score, which is essential for SEO.
  • Avoid making them scroll and scroll to find a table of contents or the end of the page.
  • The best possible experience for smartphone shoppers may look wildly different from the one on desktop. So, if you’re in e-commerce, consider offering a mobile app.
  • Never copy big online retailers like Wayfair, Macy’s, Walmart, Sephora or Amazon. No matter their reputation for conversion rate optimisation, they often get things wrong – as demonstrated by many examples in the Baymard Institute study.
  • To continuously optimise your homepage structure, read relevant UX research and conduct your own.

These insights apply whether you’re in e-commerce or not.

Even if you’re a service provider or in the B2B software sector, it’s likely that a large proportion of your visitors visit your homepage on a mobile device: According to January 2024 data shared by Statista, smartphones accounted for almost 60 percent of global web page views – with slightly lower figures for Europe (52.62 percent) and North America (45.48 percent).

So, how should you structure your homepage?

To figure this out, you need to understand how people want to interact with it – and how to make that easy for them.

Here’s one simple technique we like to teach our clients:

Structure your homepage like a conversation with your ideal customer

This is another twist on our favourite mantra in Conversion Rate Optimisation: Just give people what they want. As a nice side effect, it means there’s no need to make your homepage super fancy or learn a whole new website theory.

All you need to know is who you want to attract – and what they’re looking for. Then you can help them get to the right place as smoothly as possible.

If you’re not sure what “the right place” looks like, think about the most valuable thing people can do on the page. In her book Websites that Convert, Claire Suellentrop recommends asking yourself the following question: “Will my business fail if I DON’T guide people to take this action?” (p. 10)

In practical terms, this means that less important or less frequent visitors such as suppliers, applicants or the press can have a link in a less front-and-centre space – such as the footer.

Let your ideal customer’s most important questions be your guide

Homepages have an important part to play on high-converting websites: They confirm to visitors that they’ve come to the right place. They answer people’s high-level questions. And they compel them to explore your website further.

The easiest way to achieve this outcome is to use the following list of questions as a starting point for building your homepage content structure:

1. What do you do?

Especially if you’re less well-known, use your value proposition as the main (H1) headline of your homepage. This will help people to quickly decide if your offer matches their needs.

The hero section of the Swiss Pocketbook homepage. H1: Eye-friendly colors. Subheading: Read in color on a large 7.8” E Ink Kaleido™ 3 screen, listen with Text-to-Speech and built-in speaker. Animated image of an e-reader; its home screen reads "InkPad Color 3". Call to action: Watch video.
Example of a poorly structured homepage: Switzerland-based e-reader and e-notepad manufacturer PocketBook places a single product in the hero section. This means that prime real estate on this website is targeting only a small subsection of the company’s customer base.

2. Why should I care?

In a subheading or bullet points in your hero section (above the scroll), list your unique selling points, most important benefits or the values your business shares with your ideal customer.

This is also the best place for your main call to action, if you want to offer one towards the start of the homepage. Ideally, position it so that at least some of the logos or testimonials from the following section are visible without the need to scroll.

Screenshot of a section near the bottom of the Swiss PocketBook homepage. H2: About PocketBook, Subheading: Creating high quality hardware, unique software and ergonomic product design, PocketBook guarantees a perfect reading experience. 3 columns, from left to right: H3: 1 of 3, body: PocketBook is among the 3 largest global manufacturers of e-readers based on E Ink technology. H3: 50 Countries, body: PocketBook products are available in more than 50 countries worldwide, with millions of devices sold. H3: 17 Years, body: PocketBook has 17 years of experience in development of hardware and software reading solutions. Call to action: Learn more.
Never heard of PocketBook? Then you need to scroll almost to the end of the PocketBook homepage to find out who they are, what they do, and why you should care. This kind of information would be so much better placed at the top of the homepage. To optimise further, the PocketBook team could add their core value of freedom here: freedom to read wherever you are, but also the freedom from locked-in ecosystems like the Kindle ebook store. Showing a photo or video of their most recent product could still work well next to that information – it’s an option worth testing.

3. Do others like me care?

It’s time to back up your claims with customer logos, PR logos or testimonials. Make sure these represent the kinds of clients and customers you want to attract. If you opt for PR logos, link to the relevant articles or episodes and select outlets your ideal audience cares about.

The hero section of Exazyme.com. H1: Artificial intelligence. Human ingenuity. Subheading: Exazyme is the AI protein design tool that helps biotech innovators to overcome humankind’s greatest challenges. 3 bullet points: All-in-one app can handle targets for multiple properties. Superior outcomes even with 100 times fewer experiments compared to standard screening methods. On-site deployment or connection via your API keep your data & IP secure. 2 buttons: Go to product overview, Contact us for a demo. Heading: Trusted by clients & partners in pharma, biotechnology & research. Customer and partner logos: Huvepharma, Max Planck Institute for terrestrial microbiology, Ruhr Universität Bochum. Headline: "Very Good Result”
Exazyme is an AI startup that currently offers a single high-impact B2B software product. While writing and designing their new homepage, we* tested a number of different versions of the hero section. In the end, this combination of copy and design achieved the best results for clarity and memorability: The H1 (main heading) draws readers in, followed by the value proposition in the form of a subheading. The bullet points explain why the reader should care. Two buttons allow quick decision makers to take action. Client and partner logos and the headline of a testimonial appear without the need to scroll, which instils enough confidence for readers to click a button or read on.

4. How do you do what you say you do?

Answer this question and the messy middle of your homepage won’t be quite as messy anymore: Use a mix of headings (typically H2-H4), body copy, images and video to explain how you deliver on your value proposition.

  • If you’re in e-commerce, consider showcasing your bestsellers, new launches or a sales promo. Make sure to include calls to action that lead to overview pages if you sell lots of different products. Otherwise people might assume that you only sell what’s displayed on the homepage.
  • If you sell services, list the 3 to 5 most popular ones with a short summary and a link to more details. There’s no need to list every single thing you could potentially do for a client. Treat your homepage like a shop window: as long as customers know where to find more, it’s fine to keep some stock out of sight.
  • On the other hand, if you sell a single product, such as a software tool, it’s worth going into a lot of detail right here on the homepage.
The start of the How section on the Exazyme website in 2-column layout. Left column: H2: Like a thousand wet labs working on your protein design project, all at once. At a fraction of the cost. Body text: Achieve your target protein attributes with significantly fewer experiments. Button: Contact us for a demo. Right column: a series of boxes with text and decorative icons. Heading: How it works. First visible box: Upload a spreadsheet with your starting data set to the Exazyme app. The algorithm will test whether it can deliver from your data. Thumbs up from the app? Configure your job. Choose between random mutations, digital deep mutation scans, a fixed candidate list, and more. Get a coffee while the algorithm predicts which sequences would improve protein properties or provides information about protein quality. Download your results. **Head to the wet lab and test the design suggestions.** Upload your newest data to evolve your protein again. Second visible box: Eyebrow heading: Evaluate the entire search space. H3: Discover the highest possible absolute values. Body copy: Pursue the best possible protein. Not just the best you can identify with rational design. Not just the best you can find using standard methods such as directed evolution.
The Exazyme homepage presents a detailed explanation of how the software works. We chose which information to share and in what order based on interviews with Exazyme clients and prospects, as well as competitor research in their industry. So the product details don’t get lost in a wall of text, we chose a 2-column layout where the black boxes keep scrolling while the left column stays fixed. This keeps the user experience interesting and engaging, even though there’s so much information to take in.

5. How will you improve my life?

Credibility is key. So, back up each of your most important claims with a proof point. We like the winning combo of a compelling H2 heading, some body copy and proof points (stats, case studies, reviews, testimonials).

Case study on the Exazyme homepage. H2: Helping leading synthetic biologists outperform a Nobel-prize winning protein development method by 2.8x Body text: For the research team at this major research institute in Germany, our AI-based algorithm created a list of novel protein variants to take to the wet lab, replacing weeks of manual modeling. 2 column layout comparison table, column on the left is coloured in red and labelled: Before Exazyme. Column on the right is coloured in green and labelled: After Exazyme. Approach before: Rational design and directed evolution, Approach after: Algorithmic design and wet lab validation. Resources before: Wet lab testing of 15,000+ variants, Resources after: Wet lab testing of 10 variants. Performance before: ~20% active variants, Performance after: 90% active variants. Results before: Enhanced properties in ~1 in 8,000, Results after: Enhanced properties in 1 in 5.
On the Exazyme homepage, we chose a case study to illustrate how clients’ lives will improve with the software. Instead of integrating the entire case study into the homepage, we summarised it with a heading and some body copy before zooming in to the most important outcomes with a before-and-after comparison table.

6. Why is it safe for me to believe you?

Trust is the essential condition for conversion. If you’re a household brand, you won’t have to work very hard to build that trust: chances are it’s been passed down through generations.

Startup or challenger brands have to earn it first. One way to get a head start is by building on the trust of others. This is where certification or investor logos, information about returns, guarantees and customer service shine.

  • For example, if your investors are extremely well-known, or you’ve received government funding, displaying the logo can go a long way.
  • If you accept online orders, help people feel safe spending money with you. Embed logos representing payment methods, PCI compliance or a “Trusted Shops” certification on your homepage.
  • Similarly, there may be 3rd-party certification logos that matter in your industry. If you’re in fashion or cosmetics, the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) logo or the PETA vegan certification logo show you’re legit.
  • Finally, it’s always a good idea to reassure visitors about easy returns, extended warranty terms or competent customer service.
Reassurance section on the Exazyme homepage. H2: Wise words → clever code → powerful proteins. Body text: Tomorrow’s Exazyme app will perform even better than today’s. To make that happen, we rely on advice from recognized scientists and experts in biocatalysis, AI, and drug development: Prof. Dr. Uwe Bornscheuer, Institute of Biochemistry, Universität Greifswald, Germany, world-renowned biocatalysis expert.
Dr. Hugo Grimmett, Staff Product Manager at Toyota Woven Planet, Berlin, Germany, AI product development and building startups.
Prof. Dr. Matthias Ocker, Charité Professor, CEO and Founder, Berlin, Germany, drug development with a focus on cancer.
As a startup, Exazyme have to work extra hard to win their audience’s trust. Sharing who’s on their advisory board is one important ingredient. The combination of photos, full names with academic titles, university, location and a one-liner about their expertise adds sufficient context even for those who may never have heard these names before.

7. Let’s say I believe you. Now what?

At the very end of the page, confidently invite visitors to take action. Make this section stand out. Give the heading, short body copy and call to action plenty of space. (The only content following this section of the homepage should be the footer.)

Final section and footer on the PocketBook homepage. H2: Get the hottest news. Body text: Want to get the hottest PocketBook offers and the best book recommendations? Subscribe to our newsletter. Email signup form. Footer includes links to the privacy policy, warranty terms, EULA, Cookies, mobile privacy notice, country selector, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and TikTok.
On the Swiss PocketBook homepage, the final call to action on the page leads to a newsletter subscription. Is this really the most important call to action from a business perspective? If so, it’s poorly motivated by the preceding content. To increase subscription rates, every section of the page should lead up to this by clearly presenting the benefits of staying in the loop.

The takeaway: Structure must serve your ideal customers

  • Outline your homepage structure based on this 7-question framework – modified from the 10/90 Messaging Layout Rule that Copyhackers originally developed for landing pages. Use the questions as prompts: reply to each one to write your content and decide which other elements would complement your answer.
  • Inevitably, you’ll discover that you’d like to switch things up. That’s fine! By using this list of questions as a starting point, you’ll put your customers’ needs firmly at the centre of your homepage structure. And that’s the most important thing to get right if you want your homepage to convert.
  • Conduct UX research with your ideal audience to refine your answers and structure. You can even run user testing sessions with your competitors’ websites to find out how well their homepage structure works. Who knows – you might just discover a winning formula that will set your homepage apart and convert better.

Don’t bore us, get to the chorus: your homepage does not need to be long

Maybe you’ve taken a look at our homepage or the one we made for Exazyme, and now you’re worried you’ll have to create a super long homepage. In that case, rest assured: not every business needs a long homepage. It all depends on your business and your ideal customers.

5 signs a longer homepage may perform better for you:

  • You sell mainly to other businesses.
  • You expect your readers to make their purchase decision right there on your website.
  • Your products or services are novel, innovative, high-end or out of the ordinary.
  • You face a lot of competition in your industry.
  • You charge premium prices.

5 signs a shorter homepage may convert better for your business:

  • You sell mainly to private individuals (consumers).
  • You’re in a B2B industry with longer sales cycles. You have a sales team.
  • You offer familiar, self-explanatory products or services.
  • You’re the market leader in your industry.
  • Your prices are low or medium-range.

How the length of your sales cycle impacts the length of your B2B homepage

To buy or not to buy?

Just like Hamlet’s soliloquy, this decision may take place outside the dialogue with your website. If your business relies on a sales team, customer success, champion-building and offline marketing, your website needs to shoulder less of the sales conversation.

QuickSprout CEO Lars Lofgren explains:

Long-form sales pages are so long and keep all the copy in one place because the copy needs to take someone through the entire journey at once. The copy needs to do all the work.

For SaaS companies, the web copy is rarely responsible for doing all the selling. The sales funnels are typically longer, and the journey happens over multiple steps and multiple places.

(Source: Andrew Yedlin, Joel Klettke and Joanna Wiebe: How to write a SaaS website – hint: it doesn’t have to be super-short (Sept 2020)

Let’s look at an example: the homepage of Morgen, a calendar and task management app built in Switzerland.

Screenshot of the entire Morgen homepage.
The Morgen homepage takes approximately 8 to 9 scrolls from top to bottom on desktop. That’s quite long compared to Slack, for example. The industry leader’s homepage takes about 3 scrolls from top to bottom.
  • Morgen is a B2B product. There’s a lot of competition in their space: solutions like Calendly, Acuity, Simplymeet and Notion seek to attract a similar type of customer.
  • But Morgen is different: It’s a calendar. It’s a meeting scheduler. It’s a task manager. It’s built in Switzerland, which is known for its high data protection standards. So, Morgen have a bit of explaining to do, to make sure visitors can appreciate the value on offer.
  • The pricing table tells us that most readers try or buy the software based on the website – without a sales team getting involved: There’s a generous free plan, and the Pro plan will suit most smaller businesses. Only the Morgen Enterprise audience will need custom deployment facilitated by a sales team.
  • The testimonials near the end of the homepage show that many Morgen users are individuals — folks who have identified a need in their personal workflows. As opposed to a corporate rollout of yet another tool.

Of course, if the Morgen strategy were the complete opposite of what’s described here, we’d recommend a completely different homepage.

The takeaway: Homepage length must serve your business model

Again, think of your homepage as a conversation:

  • If you need a longer conversation to convince someone that you’re a first-class fit for them, choose a longer homepage.
  • If it’s a spontaneous decision – or if your homepage is just the first step in a longer series of chats – then a shorter page will do the job better.

Homepage content structure is not rocket science: it’s people science

For many visitors, your homepage is the gateway to your product, your online shop – or the rest of your website. So, beckon them in with a friendly conversation. Help them to orient themselves. Answer their questions in a logical order. And don’t cut things short if they want more information.

If you think your homepage may need a little love, run 5 to 10 user testing sessions. Platforms such as UserBrain allow you to pay as you go for the exact number of sessions you need.

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*Team members contributing to the Exazyme website relaunch, in sequential order:

  • Holger Schueler – client engagement & Intention Stack development
  • Sabine Harnau – Conversion Rate Optimisation strategy, copywriting & creative direction
  • Sally Fox – copywriting & editing
  • Kristy Hanson – editing & web design
  • Luke Finsaas – web design & development
  • Maria Arango Kure – digital accessibility, web development & website optimisation