The other weekend, Mark and I were driving through the heather-dappled Cairngorms National Park on an impromptu adventure away from Jura. We’d not eaten since 7am and it was now 1pm, so we were both pretty hungry and keenly on the lookout for somewhere to eat.
We’d passed a few ‘Café 100m’ signs but they all had ‘CLOSED’ plaques attached.
Then we saw a sign pointing up into a narrow, tree-lined turnoff – exactly the sort of setting you might find a roadside café.
But the sign just had a nondescript business name* followed by the tagline:
‘Excelling in luxury’
*I won’t give the actual business name obviously
We drove straight past because the sign gave us no reason to stop.
Was it a luxury restaurant? A luxury hotel? A shop selling luxury outdoors clothing? A luxury business services company? A luxury dog kennels?
The sign didn’t say what the business did or who it was for.
Which means that, if the business had been a nice café or restaurant, it had just missed out on two hungry travellers who were actively looking for what it offered.
Unlike this road sign, you can’t afford for your website hero section to leave your perfect customers unclear about what you do!
Your website hero needs to hook your perfect people
When people land on your website, your hero section* is usually the first thing they see.
*The hero is the bit at the top of your homepage before you scroll. It’s also sometimes called the homepage banner or the above-the-fold section (but they all mean the same thing).
It’s often your first impression with your perfect people. It can be what makes them stay to explore or click away. So it needs to make an impact!
Just like a road sign, your hero section needs to hook your perfect people and let them know they’re in the right place. Otherwise, if it falls flat, they might drive straight past (or go back to Google, in this case).
Thankfully, strengthening your hero section is simpler than you might think.
Your hero section needs to do just two things:
- Show what your business does
- Show who you do it for
It doesn’t need to be clever or witty.
It needs to show the value you add to the world and why your perfect people should care.
Most people arriving on your website won’t have prior knowledge of your brand, so your hero message needs to be precise and direct.
Even if a visitor has been to your website before, seeing a clear hero message again and again will solidify your brand in their mind, so it’s well worth keeping it simple.
Remember, clarity before cleverness/creativity!
Aims of your hero section
To maximise the impact of your hero section, you should aim for it to:
- Be easy to read
- Be visually eye-catching and make your message ‘pop’
- Make it instantly clear what your business is and who it’s for (so that your perfect person knows they’re in the right place)
- Sound like you (i.e. be written in your brand voice)
- Take less than 10 seconds to read
- Highlight the next step you’d like your reader to take
Key ingredients of a hero section
A solid hero section is made up of:
- A concise hero message that tells people what you do, who you do it for and what makes you different
- An attention-grabbing hero image that draws the eye and sparks interest in your brand
- A clear call to action that guides people to the next step you’d like them to take
That’s it. That’s all your hero section needs to contain.
Want to see a couple of examples for inspiration?
Hero banner examples
As a website copywriter, I put a lot of thought into crafting hero sections for my clients’ websites, as well as for my own website.
Here are a couple of marked-up examples to show you how it works in practice.
Hero banner example one – Estelle Hakner Copywriting
Hero banner example 2 – Jura Guided
Final thoughts on website hero sections
When you’re writing your website, don’t assume that people know what you do.
Lay it out clearly in your hero section to make sure you’re catching those perfect first-time visitors.
The clearer and more direct you can make your messaging, the more likely it is that your ideal customers will understand the value you can offer them and buy from you.
I hope this inspires you to tweak your homepage hero section to spark more sales.
Also, remember that you can book a website copy audit if you want my in-depth feedback on your website copy – including your hero section. It can be super helpful to have a second pair of eyes on what you’ve written.
Oh, and by the way, Mark and I eventually found a cute village bakery that made us fresh sandwiches and coffee.
Their sign was lovely and clear!
Until next time…
Keep making waves!