There are two ways your website makes a good first impression: a well-executed design and a thoughtful structure. The structure – basically, the order in which your website content is presented – can have a major impact on visitor retention.
Think of the way you pick out a new book. First you look at the cover. Is it eye-catching? Then you look at the tagline. Does the book sound intriguing? If the tagline reels you in, you read the summary on the back of the book. Finally, you open the book and dive into the story. You can structure your website to mimic this process as well, using something called the Cone Principle.
With the Cone Principle, a website’s pages are structured with high-impact visuals and minimal text at the top. The pages then gradually introduce more and more detail the further you scroll down. This approach allows visitors to quickly and easily scan your homepage to learn who you are, what you do, and how they can interact more with your site.
Note: This principle can apply to other pages on your site, but for the purpose of this post we are focusing on the structure of your homepage.
Why does the Cone Principle work?
According to a post from Hubspot, 46.1% of people say a website’s design is the number one criterion for discerning a company’s credibility and 40% of people will respond better to visual information than plain text. The Cone Principle works because it helps solve both of these criteria. It forces your website to weigh heavy on visuals while still providing the valuable information that brings someone to your website in the first place.
The examples above show how using the Cone Principle can impact the overall professionalism of your website. The homepage on the left is an example of what not to do. Too much text, poor arrangement of images, and a busy navigation make it difficult to follow. The homepage on the right, however, shows how a few simple changes can improve the page’s organization and presentation.
How to structure your website like a pro