Why You Need a Homepage (Right Now)

Grace Miles

The internet is one of the most powerful ways to connect with people because you can control how people see about you and how they act.

It doesn’t matter what you do, or what industry you’re in, psychology works with human brains.

For example, if a well-designed website can help music teachers gain more students, and help pianists sell more music.

Here are a few reasons why you need a home page right now (if you have one, then here’s why you should make sure it’s good).

1. A homepage is where people will find you interesting. Or not.

They’ve taken the first step; where are you going to bring them?

If you don’t have a website yet, you should have an About.me and Twitter page. That’s how people figure out if they’re interested in you.

They’ll go to About.me to see what you do, and Twitter to make sure you’re not annoying. Then, they’ll go back to About.me to contact you.

Still, these two are the lazy person’s version of a homepage and you should get a good website if you are serious about investing in your career. (My favourite people to think about hiring are those who have their eyes closed or holding wine glasses– when I Google them and the first result is a Facebook photo. )

WordPress is a great platform for starting any type of website.

2. Traffic doesn’t count.

My design portfolio gets less traffic in a month than what this blog gets in an hour. But I still pay for it because a good percentage of people who visit the portfolio will hire me.

Your website, then, doesn’t need a ton of traffic. It needs to be well-designed. You need a clear goal and imagine the pathways that people take to go through your site.

For example, if your goal is to sell music, then all the pathways on your website should lead to a few key pieces of music that acts as an intro towards your other products. If your goal is to gain music students, your booking form should always be one click away.

3. People see exactly what you want them to.

Are you a crazy-tough rock musician? A sweet mamabear piano teacher? The flexible yoga teacher whom everyone is jealous of, but can’t help liking?

You can take your best quality and bring it out. What are the words you often use? How do people normally see you?

In daily life, people say that I’m “sweet” and “caring.” I don’t know what that means, but I do want to be everyone’s friend.

I share personal photos from my phone and the lessons I’ve learned, the challenges I go through. I want to be someone who looks out for you.

Look, I took the above photo with my phone. You don’t see that my voice is gone, and I have a sore throat. You also don’t see that I can do witchcraft on Photoshop, so every weird photo is intended that way.

The next day, I visit the doctor to get antibiotics for my sore throat. She says antibiotics won’t help and there’s nothing to be done about my missing voice.

She tells me to get an x-ray so we can make sure I don’t have pneumonia.

I bet it didn’t cross your mind that the girl in the photo could have pneumonia.

4. By saying who you are, you’re crossing out all the things you’re not.

If your photo is on social media, you can’t be an undercover cop.

By writing about design strategy and business, my blog is not about practice tips for the concert pianist.

Sometimes, that takes a lot of courage.

5. Design counts.

Elizabeth Silence conducted a study where she asked people to look at websites about hypertension. Then she asked whether they trusted these websites, and why.

What happened? You might be surprised. She found that when people distrusted a website, 94% of the time it was a design problem.

So we can use psychology to better design for how people behave.

I’ll be sharing ways to design better in the following weeks. In the mean time, if you teach music, here are 3 non-sketchy ways to gain music students using your website.

P.S. Here’s Elizabeth Silence’s study, in case you want to read it.

5. Once you’ve nailed it, get found.

You want to show up when someone types your name into Google.

This is called SEO (Search Engine Optimization), and it’s legal, because Google just wants to help people find what they’re looking for.

If you want your photo to show up when people search your name, make sure the image’s “alt” tag is your full name. Google can’t read images yet, but it reads words attached to an image.

On WordPress, here’s where you write the alt tag:

Why You Need a Homepage, Right Now

And here’s the basic HTML code:

<img src=”IMAGE_URL.jpg” alt=”YOUR NAME” />

Another one of my favourite tricks is having the name in the homepage’s title. I’ll be covering other tools soon.

What’s your experience with homepages? Join the conversation by leaving a comment below.

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