How To Nail The Hero Section On Your Small Business Website

People don’t stay on websites for long. According to MetricHQ, the average web user only spends 52 seconds on a website.

How much of a website can you really see in 52 seconds? Not a whole lot, even if you’re a very fast reader! That’s why the hero section of your website’s home page is so incredibly important.

Hero sections are simple – they contain an image or short video and one or two short lines of text. From those basic elements, you need to communicate your unique selling proposition and give people clear next steps. And you need to do this without breaking your site on mobile devices or dragging down loading speed.

In this guide, I’ll talk about how you create an effective hero section that immediately engages visitors and drives conversions. You can follow these tips to make a strong first impression and turn site visitors into loyal customers, whether you’re working on a small personal brand website or a 500-page corporate megasite.

What is a Hero Section?

The hero section is the part at the very top of your page. It usually consists of an image or short video and one or two quick short lines of text.

Hero sections have two jobs: immediately tell visitors what the site is about and tell them what to do next. Giving users this information is necessary to keep users engaged and get them to take action like booking a call or making a purchase. The hero section is the fastest, simplest, easiest way to give that information all at once.

SEMRush is a complex marketing tool, but their hero section is very straight and to the point. They also use colors with clear contrast to draw your eye to the center of the page.
SEMRush is a complex marketing tool, but their hero section is very straight and to the point. They also use colors with clear contrast to draw your eye to the center of the page.

Your hero section sets the tone and expectations for the rest of the site. So with that in mind, here are six concepts you need to understand when you make yours.

  1. Unique Selling Proposition: What makes your business – and its site – different from the competition? How are you helping your audience, and how can you communicate this ability to help?
  2. Call to Action (CTA): Effective hero sections include a clear call to action that prompts visitors to take the next step, whatever that may be. Common examples include buttons with text like “Learn More,” “Sign Up,” or “Get Started.”
  3. Visual Hierarchy and Design: Your hero section needs to be easy to read. That means making sure the text doesn’t blend in with the background and that it’s big enough to read. You also want to make sure messages are conveyed in the right order, which is why you see so many hero sections that follow the pattern of: headline, subheadline, call to action.
  4. Responsive Design: All kinds of devices can access the internet, so your hero section must perform flawlessly across all screen sizes.
  5. Loading Speed: Hero sections need to be visually appealing, but images and video files can be big. You need to make sure yours are optimized to keep loading times short.
  6. Brand Consistency: You need to keep a consistent brand identity in your hero section, from colors to fonts to messaging. The whole site needs to feel coherent.

Bearing these concepts in mind, we can now move forward to discuss specific steps you can follow to get your hero section right.

7 Steps To Nail The Hero Section On Your Small Business Website

Hero sections look simple, but making them functional and beautiful is a complex and nuanced task. To help you with that, I’ve broken down the process into seven manageable steps.

Nail The Hero Section On Your Small Business Website 1

1. Clarify your unique selling proposition.

You need to be able to explain your business in five seconds or less. Otherwise, you can’t fit what you need to on a hero section. For that, you need a clear unique selling proposition. To quote an earlier article:

To build a positive brand image, you need to have an answer to this key question: “what makes your service so special?”

Your answer to that is your unique selling proposition. What are you doing differently that no one else is doing? Maybe it’s your approach, your experience, or a particular method you use.

Unique Selling Proposition Diagram

You need to figure out your unique selling proposition before you try to write a headline. Otherwise, you won’t be able to clearly articulate what you offer and why people should work with you.

Easy Step 1: Define your unique selling proposition.

2. Come up with the perfect headline.

The headline in your hero section is going to be the first thing web users will see on your site, so make it count. It should be attention-grabbing, informative, and directly tied to your value proposition.

Use powerful, action-oriented words that compel users to want to learn more about what you offer. Keep it concise. Keep your headline under ten words to ensure it’s quick to read and easy to understand. If you add a subheadline, keep it under twenty words.

Easy Step 1: Write a headline, 10 words or less.

3. Use engaging visuals.

You can’t use too many words to communicate your message. You don’t have the time. Visuals can help you make up for what you don’t have time to say with words.

Here are four rules to follow:

  1. Use high-quality images, videos, or animations.
  2. Make sure there is enough contrast between your text and the background, regardless of screen size.
  3. Only use visuals that can be immediately and intuitively tied to your unique selling proposition.
  4. Optimize your images or videos for fast loading. In other words, don’t use bigger files than you need to.

Remember – a compelling first visual can be the difference between a visitor lingering on your page or leaving it. Don’t just pick the first thing you see on iStock.

Easy Step 1: Pick visuals that meet the four rules outlined above.

4. Make your call to action clear.

When people land on your website, they usually come from search engines, social media, or somewhere else. That means visitors need context. They need a clear sense of what to do next.

That’s where your call to action (CTA) comes in. Your CTA should be impossible to miss, prompting visitors to take the next step immediately.

Make sure your CTA is prominently positioned within the hero section, ideally at a natural stopping point in the visitor’s viewing path. Give people a button with straightforward text like “Get Started,” “Join Free for a Month,” or “Schedule Your Demo Today.”

The button itself should be visually distinct with a contrasting color to stand out from the rest of the hero section. 

If you get this right, you can keep visitors on your site for longer because they know where to look for more information. Frustrated users leave quickly. Engaged ones stick around.

Easy Step 1: Design a standout CTA that compels users to take action.

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5. Test on mobile devices.

Hero sections – especially ones that use images or videos in the background – can sometimes have mobile display issues. You need to test for these issues and correct them if you notice them.

Here’s what you need to look for in order to ensure accessibility and user-friendliness:

  • Responsiveness: Check that all elements scale correctly across different screen sizes.
  • Usability: Ensure that text is readable and navigation is easy without needing to zoom.
  • Interactivity: Verify that links and buttons are easily clickable and that interactive elements work smoothly.
  • Viewport Adjustment: Make sure that the hero section doesn’t require horizontal scrolling.

You can’t skip this – mobile testing is essential as more users access the internet via smartphones and tablets. Your website’s mobile experience needs to be seamless.

Easy Step 1: Regularly test and adjust your hero section for mobile compatibility.

6. Test for rapid loading.

Web users won’t wait around very long for websites to load. Unfortunately, because hero sections prominently use large assets like images or videos, they can sometimes tank load time. Here are some things you can do to try to prevent this:

  • Optimize Images: Use compressed images that maintain quality but reduce size.
  • Minimize Code: Streamline HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to remove unnecessary lines.
  • Use Browser Caching: Store frequently used data in the user’s browser to speed up loading.
  • Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN): Distribute your site content across multiple servers to reduce latency.
  • Test Regularly: Use tools like Google PageSpeed Insights to check your loading speed and make improvements.

Of all the above, though, optimizing images is probably the most important one. Don’t use larger files than you need to!

Easy Step 1: Test your site to ensure fast loading times.

7. Revise and refine over time.

If there is one part of your website that you need to make perfect, it’s probably the hero section. But it’s not easy to come up with the right unique selling proposition, let alone convey it with just a few words and images.

So as you make the hero section on your website, understand that you will probably need to revise it over time. As you receive feedback from users, whether through surveys or usability testing, or simply through getting unsolicited advice, take note and consider what you can improve.

You can always iterate when it comes to design elements, messaging, and calls to action. So embrace a spirit of change and curiosity, and don’t get stuck in the mud!

Easy Step 1: Continuously analyze, update, and optimize your hero section for effectiveness.

Final Thoughts

First impressions matter a lot. The hero section on your website is going to be responsible for a lot of first impressions!

Through these steps, you can create a functional and beautiful hero section. You can succinctly convey the most important parts about your business and provide clear next steps. Remember, the key to a successful hero section is its ability to communicate clearly and motivate users to take action.

Keep testing and refining based on real-world data and feedback. With time and patience, you can create an excellent hero section for your website – and your brand as a whole!

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