Website Performance & Design

Does Your Website Home Page Speak to Your Audience?

There are many techniques to marketing, some good, some not as good. Every product should benefit from its marketing. Sometimes, however, it all boils down to luck.

Just as book covers are the primary marketing tools for books, web pages are the primary marketing tool for whatever it is you’re doing online. So what do book covers do?

The purpose of book covers

Book covers should give you a general feeling about the book. Ideally, they will convey through art and design what the book conveys to you through word. This list is a good example of a collection of book covers that portray specific feelings.

Book covers do the following:

  • Inform. The title and author should always be present.
  • Portray emotion. The colors and feel of a romance novel should depict that. And they should be vastly different than those of a thriller. Sometimes they’re not, but they should be.
  • Spark interest. Yes, I know this is pretty obvious, but when all is said and done the job of a book cover is to make me (the reader) pick up the book.

Your web page is like a book cover for your product

Chances are you’re not trying to sell books. But no matter what you’re selling, your web page is like the book cover for your product. Image is key. The feeling portrayed is key. Your goal is to get visitors to your site interested in what you’re trying to sell. Your web site essentially does the same thing for your product as book covers do for new books.

  • Inform. Your customer should not have to dig around to figure out what you’re all about.
  • Portray emotion. Simplicity, colors, images, etc. All of the elements of your page should be designed to make your reader comfortable and keep them there.
  • Spark interest. The more your readers like your home page, the more likely they are to browse around on your site.

Book covers and web pages are like cousins. The older cousin, book cover, has set an example through the years that web page designers are following.

Next time you wonder whether or not your web page is user-friendly and marketing the right ideas to your audience, consider the effect your “book cover” is having. Is the image and feeling unique? If you were a brand new customer, would your interest be sparked by what’s on the page? Are you giving your audience some kind of emotion? Is it the right kind of emotion?

The number one rule of design for book covers and web pages alike is to KEEP IT SIMPLE. Simplicity is key to keeping your audience interested in your page. We’ve all experienced being overwhelmed by an overdone web page with too many links. Just as a book cover full of busy images, too much text, and and overwhelming amount of information is likely to be put back on the shelf, web pages can be in just as much danger of being “x’ed” out of.


Mariah Overlock is a publicist for Cedar Fort Publishing. She has a life-long and deep passion for books and believes everyone should be a reader. Whether you simply read the news everyday or the latest bestseller, nobody ever lost intelligence from reading.

5 replies on “Does Your Website Home Page Speak to Your Audience?”

I really like your ideas and enjoyed your article. There is a problem though. What if your website is done by an outside company. In this case, you have little control over how your website looks or what is on it. It can be frustrating not feeling you have much control and realizing that customers are not showing much interest in your website as a result. What would you do in this situation?

Great comment CeCe – this is why, when we build websites for clients, we like to give them options on WHO enters the content. Often times we will start adding the content and then teach the clients how to change things or add things (to an extent).

Having no control of the content, or having to contact someone EVERY TIME you need to make a change, seems like Socialism to me.

To me, the main way to get customer interaction is to have content changing all the time (ie. an active and consistent blog).

Thanks for your comment.

Good point, CeCe. If you don’t have control over every detail of your website, all you can really do is the best you can with what you do have control over. You can try communicating with the company hosting your website and tell them what you want -after all, it’s your site. Maybe you could show them statistics about the lack of interest from customers.

Thanks for the comment!

Some people are just SO CONTROLLING 🙂 Like I recommended to CeCe, I think the best move is to TEACH clients how to add content and change things. The only red flag can be that they get so “trigger happy” to change things up that they mess things up.

What I would do is put something in the contract that says, “You CAN change these things – and we recommend it; but if you touch this stuff and mess it up, it will cost you dearly for us to fix it…”

Thoughts on that?

Checking for some tips at your WebSite, Nate. ALWAYS good information here. The example you give above (the book cover to Gifted) presents, to me, a puzzle that needs solved. The cover would get my attention because the cover’s colors are SO GARISH; but at the same time that garishness would prevent me from opening the book. Knowing how each generations “processes information” (like a book cover) is important in my business because it’s the generation with young children that I must appeal to. Sometimes I’m at a quandary because MY baby boom generation thinks differently than those parents of today, so learning to know when something is generational as opposed to “just poor taste” is a difficult choice.

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