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Eight keys to a great homepage

By SportsEngine, 05/13/15, 4:15PM CDT

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These examples of outstanding design techniques will help you make a great first impression


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Are you neat? Organized? Concise and to the point? Can you identify, prioritize and convey important information?

If the answers to all of the above are yes, there's a strong chance you'd make an outstanding webmaster. 

A website's homepage, among other functions, often serves as the all-important first impression for an organization. All of those traits listed above are essential in making that experience a positive and enjoyable one.

Here are our eight keys to a great homepage:

1. BRANDING

After arriving at your website, a visitor will instantly have a reaction based on the design. Your website should represent the brand of your organization and have visitors saying "WOW!" not "WHAT?".
Note: The homepage for Flint Powers Catholic Hockey (below) definitely delivers a WOW factor.


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2. SLIDESHOW

Photography is a great way to add visual interest to your homepage. Unfortunately, it's easy to get carried away and clutter your most important page. Using a slideshow helps you create a beautiful presentation of your snapshots.
Note: Few sites on the entire Sport Ngin platform do a better job showcasing outstanding photography than the Trinity Knights athletics site below.


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3. COUNTDOWN

Your first event isn't for several months (or maybe just a few days), but that doesn't mean people aren't counting down the days (or hours). Adding a countdown widget is a fun way to let them know exactly how much longer they have to wait.
Note: Countdown page elements can be customized with photos, as seen in the Wounded Warrior Charity Games countdown in the page below.


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4. NEWS FEED

Keep people up to date on what's happening with your organization. Set a date for this year's tournament? Have you elected new officers? Organize all your news into the news feed widget for easy access.
Note: The outstanding Blake Bears athletics site is one of the few on the Sport Ngin platform to put its news feed in the prime, upper-left corner position.


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5. NAVIGATION

Your navigation is a place to help people find pages, not a place to stuff a link to every page. You should try to have no more than seven top-level navigation links. Utilize sub-navigation to organize links to internal pages in a logical hierarchy.
Note: Springfield Kings Youth Hockey, one of the most well-organized sites on the Sport Ngin platform, prioritizes its content with seven links in the top navigation.


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6. REGISTRATION LINK

Increasing membership or getting players signed up through your online registration is one of the most important events for most teams, leagues and clubs. Ensure that your registration link is obvious and easy to find.
Note: The registration link on the Anoka Ramsey Athletic Association site is displayed as prominently as possible.


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7. UPCOMING EVENTS

One of the main reasons visitors come to your website is to find details on upcoming events. Create an upcoming events widget on your homepage so visitors can easily find out what’s next.
Note: The Capital Volleyball Academy lists its coming events in its stylized Capital Events widget.


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8. SOCIAL MEDIA

Use icons with links to direct visitors to your official social media accounts. Additionally, placing social media widgets on your homepage is a great way to ensure fresh content for your visitors.
Note: The Premier Academy site uses a widget to show its Twitter feed and icons for its Facebook and Instagram accounts. 


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BONUS KEY

As a webmaster, it's your job to prioritize content. As we mentioned earlier, the homepage shouldn't become a dumping ground, leading to an endless scroll of photos, videos, stories and links. Several sites use the Tab element to help effectively organize homepage content. 
Note: The National Collegiate Hockey Conference site (directly below) uses the Tab element in the upper right and on the bottom of its homepage. The Midwest Professional Basketball Association (at bottom) uses the Tab element to organize its News Wire into multiple categories and does the same with statistical categories at the bottom of the homepage. 


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About SportsEngine

SportsEngine is 'The Home of Youth Sports.' SportsEngine was created to help people simplify their sports life. Now, we're making it easier than ever for parents and athletes to find the right sport and the right organization for them. 

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