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When online portfolios emerged as a marketing tool, the layout recipe for pages was simple: a block of text and an image to go with it was the standard for most pages, while portfolios used one page for each gallery. Now, with the evolution of social media and apps, we’ve got the hang of scrolling and customer anticipate to get all the info they need from one single stacked page.

This doesn’t necessarily mean we should all build only one-page websites, but a little stacking will greatly improve the way your visitors engage with your content. A stacked page will:

  • Paint a clear picture for your customers and draw their attention on all aspects of your work.
  • Aid Google spiders to better understand what your website is about when they crawl it; consequently, a stacked page has a greater change to place your website higher on Google’s rankings.

Stacked Homepage

We’ve covered the guide to an ideal homepage and, as you might have guessed, it’s stacked. Use this layout to introduce your business and its many facets in a few well-placed info blocks. You want to be as clear as possible in a short, yet complex, page.

Stacked Galleries

Our platform features many gallery layout options for you to choose from, and slideshows are the best choice for stacking. Use text blocks to introduce each collection or choose a unique background color for each of them, add borders or leave them as they are, your stacked galleries will give your visitors a proper understanding of your aesthetic.

Stacked Info Page

Use this page to fully introduce yourself. An image and a block of text is great to set the tone, but keep going! Use a simple list to showcase your clients, publications and awards. Follow this with testimonials from previous projects. Add a slideshow video gallery, a service and price list, items with professionals you work with, leave nothing out.

Our platform features a great number of website templates that use stacked pages. Black&White is a great example of how a stacked homepage should look and feel, Audio used stacked galleries, while Flash has a one-page layout. These are just a few examples of how we use stacking when designing our website templates. See for yourself with a free trial!

website homepage

If you’re in the process of building a website for your business or redesigning your website, the homepage is typically the first place you start with.

Your homepage needs to provide visitors with a quick rundown of your business; think of it like your elevator pitch. Who you are, what you do, and why they should be interested. It’s important to sum up the important parts of your business and to “hook” the users so they want to keep scrolling and check out every page.

Need a little guidance? Here’s a brief checklist of the top things every website homepage should include.

Logo

First and foremost, give your website a piece of your brand identity with your logo. Your business logo needs to live at the top of your homepage in order to stay top of mind to your visitors.

Logos let consumers know more about you and gives them something to remember and identify your brand with down the road, so it’s an essential part of your homepage that shouldn’t be overlooked.

Give your brand identity and website some thought to figure out the best placement for your logo — maybe it’s the top corner, maybe it’s front and center. Either way, make sure it leaves a lasting impression on your website visitors.

Introductions

This is your chance to quickly communicate to a new visitor who you are and what you do. While you can save the details and backstory for your About page, the intro on your homepage should hone in on exactly what you want your brand to represent — this is where your tagline or brand statement should go.

Include a heading and a subhead to give consumers a bite-sized idea of what your business is, who it’s for, and what they can get out of it.

Navigation

Your website should provide a good user experience, and this is especially important when designing your navigation menu. The navigation on your homepage should feel intuitive; it should flow easily, guide visitors from page to page and take them where they need to go.

The navigation bar is often the first place users check out so they can get a feel for what the rest of your website has in store for them. Be strategic when thinking about how you want your navigation bar organized.

Products/Services

You will likely have a separate page that lists your products or services and into more detail, but the homepage is your chance to highlight a few of them.

If you have an online shop, this is where you can feature your recent products, a new collection, or seasonal picks. Use this page to draw them in and give them a sneak peek of your product offerings.

If you have a service-based business, use the front page to talk a little bit about each service you offer, and link it to the page that goes into more detail.

Contact Information

Once potential customers or clients have scrolled through your homepage, have a solid idea of what your business is, and are attracted to what you offer, they will be looking for a way to contact you.

Whether you have a brick and mortar address or you solely operate online, include your contact information on your homepage.

As a business, the last thing you want is for a potential client or customer to struggle to find a way to reach you. Make it easy for the user by having a space on the homepage clearly dedicated to your contact information or including a button that links to your contact page.

Start Designing Your Website Today!

liveBooks offers mobile-responsive, customizable website templates for creative professionals and businesses worldwide.

The best part? Our website designs are ready for search engines and look great on any mobile device!

We’ve also got a top-notch support team who’s here to help you every step of the way. Start for free here.

Great Gray Owl (Strix nebulosa)

Donald M. Jones of Great Gray Imagery has been a full-time Wildlife Photographer for the past 25 years. He worked for the U.S. Forest Service for 10 seasons following college (B.S.’ Forestry and Finance) before his Photography career. It was during those years that he honed his skills and began selling images to outdoor publications around the country.

With the blessing’s of his wife, he went full time and didn’t look back. Donald M. Jones’ coverage spans the North American continent rather than the entire planet, as he thought it was more important to be a good husband and father than a globe trotter – he has no regrets…

Jones’ specialty is mammals, though birds are very close to his heart – just tougher to make a living with. All his subjects are wild – no Game Farms, pets or zoo animals. Jones’ clients are varied from most all the larger Natural History and sporting magazines to calendars, advertising companies, etc. His 12th book “Wild Montana” was just released this past March.

Elk (Cervus canadensis)

Q&A with Donald M. Jones

Q1: How would you describe the aesthetic of your website in three words?

DMJ: Simple – Clean – Vibrant

Q2: How often do you typically update your website?

DMJ: I update my “Recent Adventures” Portfolio about every 6-8 weeks. I add new images to my existing portfolios as I produce images that I feel will bolster a particular portfolio.

Sea Otter (Enhydra lutris) mother and pup, Price William Sound, Alaska.

Q3: How do you choose the photos that you display on your homepage?

DMJ: My homepage is simple. The name of my business is “Great Gray Imagery” Named after the largest Owl in North America. As a kid I always wanted to see a Great Gray Owl, I was fascinated by them so I named my business after them – yet I still had never seen one. Time has past and I have had the opportunity to spend a good deal of time with them (I will this weekend as a matter of fact) so what better homepage image than a full frontal of the “Gray Ghost” the Great Gray Owl.

Q4: What is your favorite feature of liveBooks?

DMJ: The uploading of new images is very simple and having the ability to design from my office desktop, awesome.

Mountain Goat (Oreamnos americanus)

Q5:What’s one piece of advice you’d offer to someone designing their website?

DMJ: I’ll comment on what I know and that’s Wildlife. If you are showcasing portfolios on a certain species be sure you show your depth of your coverage. I see too many sites where an individual wants to showcase a certain species, i.e. Elk – yet there coverage is all taken from a two week period once a year – I feel you don’t want a portfolio to look like you shot it over the holiday week. You want to have your perspective clients to say “if he has this, this, this and that, what else might he have.” I find it’s better to have 10 subjects done well than 100 subjects superficially done.

I find my website to critically important to those new clients but it’s my searchable database through my website that is the gift that keeps on giving with old and new clients alike. Let your website be a sampling of who you are but let those that care to review your entire library (or nearly entire library…) at there whim day or night.

See more from Donald M. Jones here: https://www.donaldmjones.com/

Black Bear (Ursus americanus)

With liveBooks Design Editor, you can make edits to your website easily! With the back up design feature allows you to keep your changes saved and use as you please. Before we go deeper into the array of possibilities this enables, let’s go on a quick tour of these three little buttons that make design experimentation easy.

Go to your design editor. The buttons are located on the bottom of your website preview window.

1. Back up Design: This is your Save button. When you find a design that speaks to you, click that button, give your saved design a name and Save Backup. (Note: Saves do not overwrite. Saving your designs under the same name will result in multiple saves with the same name.)

2. View Backups: This is where you’ll find all your saved designs. Click on the one you want to use and the editor will load all the changes associated with that save.

3. Reset to Published: if all else fails and you are not satisfied with any of your design changes, there’s always the option of switching back to your published design. In order to have full control on your progress, our advice is to publish your website only when you’re completely happy with the outcome.

Best case scenario: You created a design that speaks to your needs and aesthetics. That’s great! All you need to do now is publish your website and start sharing your new look.

Worst case scenario: You’re stuck. Nothing looks like you imagined it would, the colors you chose are not you and wish you could go back to your previous design. There are two ways to go back: 1) Load a previous save of your backup design. 2) Choose to go back to the published version of your website.

There’s plenty room to play around on our design editor: from major layout changes, to different fonts and colors, gallery layouts, text alignment and padding are just a few of the many changes you can make. And while choosing a design and sticking to it is the best approach for a familiar feel that makes your returning visitors comfortable, there comes a time when you feel change is greatly needed for your online presence. It’s a time to experiment with the design editor to see the many features it provides.

We encourage clients to use this feature for marketing campaigns they wish to run on their website. A campaign’s visual appearance might differ from your overall design, depending on your strategy. In this scenario you can adjust all design settings to match those of your campaign. Once the promotional period is over, you can easily go back to your initial design, and the next time you wish to run the same, or similar, campaign, all you need to do is load your saved design and publish it.

Seasonal design is something you might like but weren’t entirely sure how to do without permanently changing your website design. A clean, colorful look with a grid type gallery is very appropriate for summer, while a full bleed home page image and a custom mistletoe background for your navigation bar brings the holiday spirit to everyone who visits your website. All these changes and reverting to your original design are possible on the liveBooks platform thanks to those three little buttons on the bottom of your design screen.

So, go on, take a moment to experiment! Make changes you’ve always wanted or changes you don’t think you need just for the fun of it. You might be surprised at the outcome, you’ll definitely be more confident on knowing how your website design can work for you and will surely give you new ideas of how to use design to grow your business. This playground opens with every new website you create.

Ready to check out the liveBooks editor? Sign up for a free 2-week trial today!

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