The first thing customers see when they visit your website is the home page, so it stands to reason that you really want to hit your mark with it.
    
Many will take that to mean the homepage should be loaded up with as much pizazz as possible just to wow your first time visitors. However, littering your homepage with tons of fancy design techniques, animation and distractions is not the way to go. Instead, you want to keep it simple and straightforward.

Steve Krug in Don’t Make Me Think, says that every home page has four main purposes:

  1. Show visitors what they are looking for
  2. Show them more
  3. Show them where to start
  4. Establish credibility and trust
Those may seem difficult to implement in theory, but they’re really not; each principle is simple. To prove that, we’re going to take a look at four case studies. Every one of these brands has designed a homepage that follows those four basic principles.

The Wedding Ring Shop

Just take one quick look at The Wedding Ring Shop‘s homepage and you can tell they merged modern style and function with the four principles.

Customers visiting the site are obviously going to be looking for jewelry. The first thing you see is attractive images linking to several popular engagement and wedding bands for sale. As you scroll down the page, you are provided with direct links to more fine jewelry.

Every image and link takes visitors where they need to go. For example, if they want engagement rings or wedding bands they just need to click on one of the related pictures. It’s straightforward, and very easy to navigate.

Finally, at the bottom of the homepage we can see nominations, awards and labels the brand has received for fine service. All the way at the bottom we can see the Better Business Bureau rating, and American Gem Society endorsement. In other words, they are clearly establishing credibility and trust with their customers.

The overall design is clean and minimal, and all the required elements are laid out exactly as they should be. It serves as a near perfect example of how to structure your homepage.

Best Rehab Center

The Best Rehab Center homepage has a few more elements and objects to show. That said, it serves as another great example of how you should structure your own homepage.

Since it’s a rehab clinic, the first thing you see is contact information—such as a phone number—where you can get assistance. There are also links to the local facility, and their various recovery programs that tell customers right up front what they can expect. As you scroll down the page there’s more information about the clinic itself and their recovery model. This follows the “show them more” principle, as the brand is offering excess information visitors might need.

The static but subtle navigation bar at the top and the various buttons spread throughout the page direct customers and tell them where to go for specific resources and information.

Finally, at the bottom of the page you have the certifications and security labels that show the business is credible and trustworthy.

The New York Times Online

Journalism has changed considerably, and the internet is the cause. The New York Times has embraced this idea on their redesign homepage and they’ve used it to their advantage.

The first thing you see is an example of the new site design, showing off what their updated online publication looks like. This is important because people visiting the site are either subscribers, or they’re interested in becoming one. Scrolling down the page you’ll meet with different features the site has to offer. This gives interested parties the option to see the premium site in action before subscribing.

The static navigation bar is clearly labeled and will take visitors exactly where they need to go, with direct leads—such as the big blue button labeled “subscribe.”

Finally, you’ll notice that unlike the other sites on this list The New York Times does not provide any certifications, labels or awards. That said, they do have direct links to official social media accounts. At the bottom of the page they also have a small feature that shows how the site design has evolved over the years spanning from 2001 to 2014. Believe it or not, this helps establish trust and credibility by showing the company has been around for a long time. It’s a different approach, but it works and that’s the point.

Mint

Like everything else on this list, the Mint website follows the four basic principles to a tee. You have all the main features listed, along with links to sign up. Scrolling down the page you’ll see plenty of information about being a premium Mint member. You’ll also notice the navigation options are bright and clearly labeled. In addition, at the very bottom of the page there are testimonials giving credence to the brand’s credibility and trustworthiness.