Your website is absolutely crucial to attracting potential clients.

There is no mistaking the importance of the homepage on your site. If your homepage is boring, uninformative or unprofessional (let’s really hope that it’s not all three), any visitor and potential client will go elsewhere to find the service that you’re offering.

If your homepage isn’t drawing people in, it’s pushing them away. You don’t have to be a professional web designer with 15 years of experience to understand what you should include on your homepage. Instead, you just need to follow these simple do’s and dont’s:

DO send a very clear message to your visitor what you’re selling or doing. Use a heading and sub-heading (a brief explanation of what you’re doing) that will immediately attract the attention of a visitor. It should be obvious within the first couple of seconds what your website is. Get straight to the point. If your visitor has to click on something to see what your business is, it’s time to reconsider your design.

DON’T insert large amounts of text that a visitor will never read. Again, headings do a great job of telling our minds where to look for the most important information. Big blocks of text on the homepage are intimidating and will rarely be read by your visitors

DO include relevant images that are directed towards your target audience. Images help our minds process information in a way that words can’t (read about how our minds process images in only 13 milliseconds). Having an image that is relevant to your business will help your visitor understand and remember what you’re trying to sell.

DON’T overload your homepage with distracting images, sounds, videos, or anything else. The fastest way to have someone leave your site is by having obnoxious content on the homepage. Images that move or have blinking lights are distracting. Having a song on your homepage that automatically plays is a surefire way of having visitors quickly click that little “x” in the top right corner of the screen (imagine if they’re in a library or other public place).

DO everything possible to build trust between you and your potential client. Add real customer testimonials (make sure to keep them short!). Prove that your clients are important to your business. Reassure visitors that your site is secure, especially if you’re running ecommerce. This can be done by explaining that you have an SSL connection.

DON’T have too many calls to action. Avoid overwhelming a future client with 10 different calls to action. Make your calls to action obvious and easy to find, but try to keep them at two or three maximum. Primary calls to action consist of making a purchase, signing up for a service or free trial, creating an account, etc.

DO provide primary and secondary calls to action. Give the visitor many options to navigate around your site. Secondary calls to action work well in the footer and can contain contact information, a link to your blog, partnerships, technical specifications, etc.

DON’T depend on your gut instinct for good design. Run A/B tests to find out what works best for your homepage. Do the necessary research to know what drives your visitors to action.

DO include contact information on the homepage. If a visitor is only visiting your homepage to make direct contact with you, make it easy for them. However, this shouldn’t be the first thing a visitor sees. Consider putting contact information at the bottom of the page as this is traditionally where you can find additional information about a business or person.

DO offer links to additional info/resources. The vast majority of your visitors are not going to immediately purchase your product or service. Instead, they’re likely to be visiting your site for more information. Provide easy-to-access links to other pages that help a visitor grasp the basics of your business.

DO include links to your social media platforms. Links to your Twitter, Google +, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook accounts can enable your visitors to stay connected with you outside your website. Check out these 55 examples of different social media links for inspiration.

DON’T be afraid to express creativity and try something new. Although these suggestions are rather specific, don’t be worried about implementing a creative new design. If you think of a way to include all of the “do’s” from this list in your own creative way, give it a try! If it doesn’t produce positive results, you can always go back and tweak the design.