4 Effective Product-Led Homepage Design Examples (And Why They Work)

September 23, 2020

50 milliseconds. Less than a second.

Once someone lands on your website, that’s about how long it takes for them to form an opinion about your product.

First impressions really are everything—score a positive one within this tiny timeframe, and it might just result in the person sticking around, following your CTA and signing up for a trial. And if that person gets a not-so-great impression, you know the outcome: low conversion rates and high bounce rates, which might spell disaster for your business.

If you’re already sold on product led growth, you know that having a truly great product that solves a pain point is absolutely essential. But just for a moment, put yourself in the shoes of a potential customer who just landed on your website for the first time: Is having a great product enough to get them to stick around, sign up and become a daily user?

Not exactly.

To move someone to take action on a product homepage, you can’t cross your fingers and hope that they’ll spend some time thinking about what they see or figuring out what exactly you want them to do next. It’s all about great design—and it’s got to be so good that people don’t even need to think.

Related read: What is product led growth?

Writing for CognitiveClouds, Gopinath Melon said: “Great design is the only thing differentiating your SaaS product from the products and services offered by your competitors.”

Melon also stressed its importance: “Great design balances a great user experience (UX) with a great looking user interface (UI) to create a holistic product experience, wowing your customers and turning them into your biggest advocates.”

Since you’ve made it this far, I take it that you appreciate the role your SaaS homepage design plays in helping to drive growth. And because you do, I’ll show you four SaaS homepage designs you can draw inspiration from to improve your website’s experience.

But before that, one quick thing:

The benefits of great design

Apart from helping to build a first good impression, having a thoughtfully designed SaaS website comes with other benefits.

First, once prospects land on your site, so many forces are at play. The most prominent of these forces, per this report by Vanseo Design, are:

  • What they know (how they found your product)
  • What they expect (pre-product perception)
  • What they want to do (the problems they want to solve/goals they want to achieve)

As someone looks at a webpage, their eyes send millions of signals to their brain. And our brains can only intercept and make sense of a few of those signals, not millions.

Brain processing

Source: Inside Design

Well-designed pages are made with people in mind—designers format images and words in a way that makes it much easier for someone to understand the message you’re trying to convey, moving prospects to take a desired, mutually beneficial action. The user experience is smooth, not exhausting or frustrating.

And as my people (the unique people of Ikot-Inyang, a village in Nigeria) would say: “The eyes eat first, and you must satisfy it to get other parts of the body moving.” In this context, your design must appeal to the eyes if you want someone to click on your CTA.

Secondly, and very importantly, your design should be product-led. That means it should give people a glimpse of what your product can help them do—the problems it solves and the goals they can achieve with it if they sign up.

As you’ll see in the examples below, when it does this, it addresses the third and final force the report by Vanseo Design reported to be at play as prospects visit your site: What they want to do (the problems they want to solve/goals they want to achieve).

In an Inside Design article, Joseph Shaffery also noted this: “When designing buttons and interactions, understand the potential actions and the consequences.”

How I chose these SaaS homepage examples

I researched several reports, like this one from HubSpot, this one from Responsive Inbound Marketing, and a few others. In all, I found about 43 SaaS products with outstanding homepage designs.

I trimmed my list to four by first looking for homepages that addressed the two essential benefits of great design mentioned above:

  • Convey necessary information in a swift second, and
  • Was product-led by giving visitors a glimpse of what the problems the product solves.

I didn’t end there, though. While researching this article, I found this study by Amy Alberts, a researcher who worked at Microsoft, as reported by FastCompany.

Amy’s research found that when designing interfaces, and that includes homepages, “large numbers on a contrasting background and real human faces get almost instant attention by the eyes.”

In the report, Amy also noted that her study showed “our brain is built to look at a human face.”

This research finding got me thinking—and eventually it led me to realize that I’ve personally fallen for product homepage designs with real human faces.

So I considered that when used appropriately, and with a contrasting background (as per Amy’s study) these were distinguishing factors that could transform a homepage design from good to great.

The examples below met all these criteria.

1. Zenefits

Zenefits received an honorable mention from awwwards, and it’s no wonder—their site features snappy SaaS homepage copywriting, brand projection, appropriate use of color contrast, and a real human face to evoke emotions in visitors.

Check out the screenshot below. On the left side, there’s a value proposition, subheading, CTA and supporting benefits to enforce the CTA that is succinct and straight to the point.

Zenefits homepage

And on the right, the smiling human face with a logo overlay evokes the happiness an HR tool can help a user feel. At the same time, her eyes redirect you back to the product’s copy and value proposition—a reminder to take action.

Zenefits screenshot

As you scroll down, it almost feels like you’re on a tour, seeing how different features of the product work and what the benefits are:

Zenefits homepage

For me, this is a shining example of a homepage design being product-led.

And due to this, every element and navigation on this website combines to give visitors a glimpse into what the product does.

2. Slack

Not too long ago, Slack swapped out illustrations for real human faces on their homepage, and it was a smart move. As one of the most famous product led growth companies out there, Slack’s homepage is another solid example of leading the design with product and brand.

Right away, Slack welcomes you with a glimpse of what you can achieve with their product:

Slack homepage

On the left-hand side, the copywriting and accompanying CTAs project the company’s brand and culminate into a value proposition you can’t ignore: “Slack is where work happens.”

Slack homepage

An exceptional thing about Slack’s homepage design is its adherence to the 60-30-10 design rule, which states that your primary color should take 60% of the web page, secondary colors should take 30% and the remaining 10% can go to neutral colors.

And even as you scroll down the page, you’ll see this 60-30-10 design rule play out.

Slack’s site design demonstrates that they are truly a product-led company. Each section of the site shows, in real-time, how the product solves your problem:

Slack homepage example

3. Lessonly

Lessonly’s website takes more of a minimalist approach with design, but it’s so effective. In the hero section, we see real people happily using the product to learn new skills.

This section points you back to Lessonly’s value proposition, “Do Better Work,” and CTA to see a preview of the product:

Lessonly homepage

You’ll find this same minimalistic design approach led by the product throughout Lessonly’s homepage as you scroll down.

For example, just below the hero section, Lessonly doesn’t have any copy. Instead, they show the brands that use their product. What follows is another section with people enjoying Lessonly:

Lessonly homepage

4. FreshBooks

FreshBooks needs no introduction in the SaaS world—and their homepage does an outstanding job of conveying their value proposition.

Like Slack, you’ll find FreshBooks included in tons of “best homepage design” roundup posts like this one by HubSpot.

The hero section captures everything found in Amy Alberts’ study, showing that large numbers, excellent contrast, and a real human face are essential for effective design:

FreshBooks homepage

Their homepage also showcases what the product can do, and the eyes of the human face on the page naturally direct visitors to the “Get Started” button. We saw this on Zenefits’s homepage, too—it really does help move people to action.

As you scroll down the page, there’s a section that outlines all the product features. The features aren’t just listed out—the accompanying copywriting highlights the benefits of each one. And on the right-hand side, we see the product in action, performing what’s discussed to the left:

FreshBooks homepage

Key takeaways from these examples

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to designing SaaS homepages, but after taking a close look at these four examples, here are a few things that stand out to me:

  • Show real humans on your website—after all, your product is for real humans
  • Make it easy to see what people will get—show your product in action!
  • Include a clear value proposition supported by logical CTAs to help move people to action
  • Design with a product-led mindset. That means tying product features to benefits and showing, in real-time, how your product does it.

More product led growth resources

Victor is a SaaS content strategist who excels at blending content strategy, product storytelling and copywriting into content pieces loved by users and ranked by Google. If he's not using his experience to help early and growth-stage SaaS brands drive growth, you'll find him curating original SaaS growth stories and experiments for Real SaaS Content, a Medium Publication he Founded. Else, he spends time getting to know his heartthrob, Omosede, better. <a href="http://www.victoreduoh.com">VictorEduoh.com</a>