When you meet someone for the first time, you make a judgment about them within the first 15 seconds. It’s the same when someone goes to your website for the first time. You never get a second chance to make a first impression. When visiting your site, will their impression be good or bad?

If your homepage doesn’t have quite the effect you want, it’s important to make some changes. Here are some design elements you can use to make a better impression with your homepage.

  1. Vivid Icons

The entire point of a homepage is to compel consumer action. Ideally, they’ll find their way to your contact or sales pages where they can become customers. In order to spur this kind of action, it’s best to use vivid icons that attract attention and drive your point home.

As an example, consider this credit card review site. Their goal is to get consumers to use their reviewing services based on what’s most important to them. So, they use a series of icons and links to make it easy to navigate the reviewing process.

  1. Calls to Action

Oftentimes, a consumer visits your homepage without knowing what to do with the information presented. You can guide them with calls to action that compel them to dig deeper and even make contact.

A good homepage should include two or three calls to action on the top half of their homepage. The POS company Square is a great example of this. When you check out the site, there are three clear, compelling calls to action staring you in the face. First, they show you the value proposition, followed by an invitation to sign up for their service. It’s a great way to use hierarchy and positioning on the homepage to achieve your goals.

  1. Compelling Headlines

Both your headlines and sub-headlines should also compel the user to action. The consumer should know within 3 seconds how your site can benefit them. This is done through clear, no-fluff headlines that say what your company is all about.

Take the homepage of Campaign Monitor, a top email marketing organization, for example. Their opening homepage headline is “Send email your customers can’t ignore.” As you scroll down, they share more compelling information about their sites and services. It’s hard to miss the value proposition when these headlines clearly display it for you.

  1. Strong Imagery

The brain can process visuals about 60,000 times faster than it can process text. If you want to give a great first impression of your site, use imagery to help them understand your point instantly.

Professional, non-stock-photography is key here. You could also utilize video, graphs, or gifs to catch attention and increase the trust between the business and consumer.

The financial planning and advice site Mint does a great job of using imagery on their homepage. Their opening image shows the app in action. As you scroll, you’ll see more color and imagery being used by real people. Within the first few seconds, you have a pretty good idea what their service does without having to read the words.

  1. Clear Navigation

The homepage is important, but ideally, your visitors will get past that first page. If you have clear navigation, they shouldn’t have a problem doing so. Without this clarity, it could lead to a bounce.

The first step is clearly labeled navigation sections such as About, Services, Contact, and so on. Next, be sure that the consumer can easily click between sections.

A great example is the Best Buy website. They have just enough sections to clearly delineate different website pages, but not too many that it can overwhelm users like many commerce sites. As you scroll, there are more clear sections that allow users to easily find what they’re looking for.

Never underestimate the power of great homepage design. It’s the lifeblood of your online presence, and it can mean the difference between conversions and bounce rates.