Your homepage is probably most important page of your whole Web site. Yes, even more important than your order page (or pages where you pre-sell affiliate program products).
The first page most of your visitors will land on is your homepage. If your homepage doesn't grab your visitor's attention, your order page will be useless. You can have a super hot design. You can have fanciest e-commerce package in World. You can even have most desirable widget for sale.
But if your homepage doesn't pull your visitor's interest and push your sales offer (without being pushy), you will lose an enormous amount of sales.
There are two aspects of your homepage that affect its sales power:
1. Design 2. Copy
As always, most important thing in this exercise of Internet marketing is: KNOW YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE.
Here are a couple of highly effective design and copy strategies you can use to boost sales power of your all important homepage:
1. Keep vital elements above fold. "Above fold" is a term borrowed from newspaper lingo. It means area that readers see first (which means top of your homepage), so it is most important area. Basically, this area does work of grabbing your visitor's attention while your main copy is loading. You should place your Unique Selling Proposition, logo, and an attention grabbing headline above fold.
2. Work your headline to perfection. Your headline is most important piece of copy on your homepage. Make it totally irresistible. Here's a "secret" tip for headlines: don't give opportunity for reader to escape your headline. For example, "Do you want to make money online?" isn't a good headline, because it gives a way out for reader. How about: "Learn all you ever wanted to know about making a fortune on Internet". Much more powerful.
3. Offer something for free on your homepage. An ebook, newsletter subscription, special report, etc. An effective strategy is to use free books in conjunction with newsletter subscriptions (i.e. "subscribe and get this free ebook"). At least if they don't stay at your site this time, they'll be reminded to re-visit when you send your newsletter.
4. Optimize your homepage for super-fast loading. This is very important. One of primary reasons people leave Web sites is because of slow loading. Keep total size of your homepage below 40kB.