Of all the pages of your website, chances are it’s your homepage copy that really keeps you up at night.
Well, your homepage is very likely the most trafficked page of your site. It’s the first impression, the chance to win over your reader.
But even more important… your homepage drives engagement, clicks, and even sales for the rest of your site. It’s often the make or break that gets readers from curious to interested.
So putting your best foot forward is well worth your time.
In this post, I’m putting together my favorite copywriting frameworks to help you write a stronger homepage and find the perfect formula for your business and site goals.
Oh, I just love a good framework. As a website copywriter, I rely on frameworks in my own business to consistently produce high-quality, high-converting copy for my clients.
But it’s important to note that a framework is NOT a template.
A template will usually give you an outline with prompts and even filler copy.
Scream face. YOU DO NOT WANT THIS.
The problem with templates is this: they don’t account for your business, your audience, or your offers!
In fact, most templates are so watered down to try to appeal to just about everyone… thereby completely removing any effectiveness they may have once had.
But a framework is like a blueprint. It can help guide you through what we copywriters call the messaging hierarchy–or the order your argument appears on the page to best meet your readers where they’re at (and get them to where you want them to go).
While a template is too one-and-done to be specific enough, a framework offers you the flexibility to customize without losing the conversion copywriting goodness you need to make your homepage effective.
Let’s discuss this before we dive in, because even with a framework in place, there are some good rules of thumb to follow when writing your homepage.
Your homepage is–in its barest sense–a TOC. For some site visitors, it’s their first impression of your brand. But for others, they know you and your business, and are looking for something specific. So the trick is to appeal to everyone… while still being specific enough to be engaging.
Regardless of the type of business you have, most homepages have some common traits. This list gives a good primer for WHAT needs to go on your homepage.
When introducing your brand and site, think about the value you’re providing people with your goods and services.
What will your customer get from their time with you/your product?
Why should they sit up and pay attention to your website right now?
There’s a few ways to accomplish this, audience and framework depending:
I’m a big fan of solutions-based headlines because they are extremely effective at grabbing attention. If you can nail WHY people should invest their time, energy, and dollars with you here, you’ve done most of the heavy lifting.
And remember: this is about your customer, not you. It’s crucial to know your audience here.
While I wouldn’t typically advocate for a product-specific homepage hero, I love how Lush invites me to indulge (and feel good about that indulgence) with their ingredient-friendly face masks.
It feels like a personal invitation, and I know they are talking just to me.
They get me.
This can feel tricky so here’s a pro tip. Try filling in this sentence: “OFFER” so you can… “OUTCOME”
The second half of your sentence becomes your headline:
Fully loaded, beautifully designed websites in a day
Find & connect with your people online
Next-level events that elevate your brand
And since the headline and all above the fold content is the most important (and most difficult to write), here are some other types of headlines to consider:
Your value proposition also needs to be somewhere above the fold (or as close to it as possible), and leading with it can make a lot of sense, especially if your product does something unexpected to accommodate a need.
Toggl does something like by focusing on their three products as one ‘umbrella’ to solve productivity problems.
The hero and subhead list the value prop, and the image on the right actually packs in a solution WITH social proof.
Woof, that’s a lot. But it’s an example of how much can be accomplished in this valuable real estate.
Basecamp similarly manages to achieve a few things right out of the gate:
If you do decide to lead with a value proposition, make sure to include your solution there, too.
If your personal brand is the primary focus of your site, consider attaching your personal ‘why’ to the solutions/VP headline.
For example, this coach is making big promises here on the homepage to help her clients gain confidence and attention, and her differentiator is, well, her. Her approach, her style, and her personality are the missing piece to seeing results.
There’s a myriad of ways to add trust boosters throughout your homepage, but the best is with proof of your past work via testimonials, reviews, case studies, and logos of who you’ve worked with and where you’ve been featured. For the classic homepage, a ‘proof bar’ AKA a row of logos of past clients is a great way to cap your above the fold content.
This is mine:
Farther down the page, you can also layer in direct testimonials, add in a case study, or highlight product reviews that demonstrate how amazing your offer is.
Your homepage will see people from all corners of the customer journey, and they’ll all be looking for different things from you. So it’s your job to show them where to go. And since ideally your homepage will lead to action, focus on getting them to the most important pages you have, like:
It’s good to note that if you have more than one audience, you’ll want a clear CTA for each, like this example from coach Magalie Rene.
Or, you can curate your offers to meet the needs of your audience, like if you want to appeal to people at different stages of business. Fellow copywriter Lindsay Hope does this beautifully:
Also known as your value proposition (VP or differentiator, your why is what makes you, YOU. Every brand has a particular approach, style, or voice that makes them distinct. This is your chance to explain yours.
You’ve explained what’s in it for your reader and directed them to the right place, but you still need to explain your why.
Here’s a formula that can help you with this:
“Helping x [type of clients] achieve y [the impact & value] through z [your core skill/service + unique differentiator]”
It may also be that it’s your process or approach that makes you distinct. If that’s the case, plan to list that out here, like Beard Club, who has a clear brand voice and distinct process that made a name for them in the market:
Generosity is an important piece of earning trust and likeability, so give freely on your homepage. Link to your best content, your free value-adds, and any other content that showcases your credibility while also providing something of value to your audience.
You can also add an optional opt in. What I like about a newsletter or freebie opt in on the homepage is it provides the chance for your audience to engage with you without a big commitment of their time or money. And it gives you an excuse to keep them in your network and connect with them through their inbox.
These 5 copywriting frameworks include the essentials, but use different components to appeal to most online businesses according to your business type and where you are in the lifecycle of your business (e-commerce, service providers, coaches… you name it).
Mix and match from the components above and shape it to your liking!
Let’s dive in.
Best for: Straightforward 3-5 page websites for service providers, new entrepreneurs, or simple e-commerce shops.
Versatile and flexible, this homepage framework can be adapted to suit most businesses.
Best for: Strong personal brands, agencies, or online businesses in competitive spaces who want to distinguish by brand (SaaS, E-comm).
The main difference with a personal brand homepage is that YOU are the brand and the differentiator.
Best for: 1-page/simple websites or service providers with a one primary/core service.
On a sales homepage, you’ve got one main offer and your whole marketing is geared toward selling it. It’s more focused than a classic homepage, and often more targeted. That means, you can treat it more like a landing page than a homepage.
Best for: Established personal brands or simple 1-page sites where the primary goal is to build your list/audience.
For this homepage, your sole CTA/purpose is to drive email sign ups, so this can be a simple (yet powerful) page of copy.
Note: It’s best used when for content sites (see examples) or to build your list once you have an established brand and audience (Backlinko).
Best for: Agencies or service providers serving more than one core audience.
The trick here is to know your audience. Many entrepreneurs think they serve different core audiences when in fact they have the same audience at different stages of the customer journey.
In the rare case that you actually have two distinct audiences, you need to consider how to connect with BOTH on your homepage.
That’s two things:
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