In the first 5 seconds that an Art Director visits your website, they are making critical judgements about you and your work, for better or worse. That’s why it’s so important to give your landing page the attention it deserves.
How do you make a strong impression in the first 5 seconds?
This happens to be a question that I hear from a lot of Illustrators, which is understandable because your Home page is one of the most important parts of your website, along with your actual portfolio. After all, if you turn Art Directors off with a poorly designed landing page that makes you look like an amateur, they’ll go elsewhere quicker than you can say “Hey, wait! Come back!”
The way I like to think about the design of a landing page is to imagine that you’re an Art Director who has never been to your site before, and consider the impression that your website makes in the first 5 seconds.
Are you putting your best foot forward?
Are you showing off your greatest work?
Is your design clean and clear?
Is your style evident?
Are you making an impact?
What is the first thing the eye is drawn to? The second?
Asking these types of questions can be very worthwhile when designing (or redesigning) your website, because they can help you to take control of the way you “introduce” yourself to your new visitor.
An Outside Perspective
In fact, I would also recommend enlisting the feedback of one or more fellow artists that you trust, just as you might when asking for a critique of your work, because sometimes it can be hard to get an objective viewpoint of your own design. When asking for help, try to ask specific questions, such as the ones listed above, so that the criticism will be more useful to you.
Another enlightening activity is to visit the websites of Illustrators you’ve never seen before, and pay close attention to the way their Home page affects your impression of them. You might even want to have a pen and paper ready to jot down notes of the things that turn you on and/or off about their landing page. Then, you can apply these ideas to your own design.
Keeping Them Around
Remember that the Home page of your portfolio website, just like every other element, has a very specific job to do, which is to impress your potential clients, make them want to see more, and get them to your portfolio as quickly and easily as possible.
Spending a little extra time getting this part right can do a lot to help achieve these goals.