Tech websites have a certain kind of flair to them. You’ll see this most often WITH software companies, SaaS products, and newer startups.
But designing your own tech startup page from scratch can be tough. It requires a keen eye knowing exactly what you need, what your visitors would be looking for, and how to design around that. Not easy to do.
Thankfully you can learn from the lessons of others by designing your pages from other trends.
In this post I’ll share a handful of trends that relate to all tech sites promoting some type of software or webapp. There are many different directions you can take, but the more you study web design in this space the more you’ll recognize similar techniques.
So whether you’re creating a new startup, launching a killer piece of web software, or even creating a community membership site, all of these trends can apply to your homepage and primary landing pages.
Always Add A Clear CTA
This trend should be a #1 point no matter what. But the definition of “clear” isn’t always… clear.
When you add a CTA into your page you want to encourage people to do something. That means your CTA should be placed somewhere that would encourage that action, and the button text should clearly describe that action.
The difference here depends greatly on what type of company you’re building. Is it a custom SaaS app for heatmap tracking? Or maybe a customer management platform?
Think about what you want users to do, and then design a clear CTA around that.
On the homepage of Droptice you’ll quickly notice one green button that stands out among the rest.
This is what a good CTA should do. It grabs attention, not blindingly, but just enough to say “hey look at me!”
From there it’s your job as designer to craft a button large enough to encourage clicks, well-designed enough to blend into the layout, and with text that clearly defines the action.
Most of these buttons are just signup buttons to get more people using a service. However you don’t always need the text “sign up”. Try variations. See what feels right with the page.
I’ve always liked the Laracasts website and they sport a lot of great design trends for tech niche sites.
Their CTA actually features two options: “get started” which is basically a signup page, or another button that fades a little more into the background. That’s more like a secondary CTA with another action to keep people engaged on the site.
Everything is meant to funnel new leads into the website but you can try that with different angles and different CTA buttons.
Side note: I’m also a big fan of the Laracasts headline. It definitely takes a savvy creative to think of the tagline “It’s Kinda Like Netflix for Your Career!”
The RunCloud homepage uses some bright text and a brightly colored button to grab attention fast. This jumps off the darker page background so it’s immediately visible.
There’s a few things I like about this design. First is that the button doesn’t really stand out too much since it blends with the other yellow elements on the page.
And second, the text for this CTA feels incredibly descriptive. This is usually what I look for in a good tech site design: solid copywriting that encourages action.
People visiting the page may not even know there’s a 5-day free trial. So where would they learn about that?
On the button that you want them to click. Genius.
Demo The Tech With Screenshots
Whether you’re selling desktop software or a SaaS product or a mobile app, or anything similar, there’s often some way you can demo it.
Now I’m not saying that every tech site needs to include demo screenshots. Sometimes this just isn’t a design style that you’ll want.
But if you can I highly recommend it. These screenshots give visitors an inside peek behind the curtain to see what your product looks like and what it does, all before even signing up.
Let’s take the tracking software Binom as one example.
Again you’ll see a great CTA design with two clear options: the primary one(sign up) and the alternate one to keep people engaging further(check out a demo).
Very few products let you demo their stuff without an account. But in my opinion that’s one of the best things you could do, especially if your SaaS product is really complex and might require some time practicing the UI.
Although even without clicking any button you can still check out the live screenshot of Binom lower on the page.
This gives you a brief idea of how the tracker would look and how it’s organized on the screen. So people who are in the market for a tracker can quickly check out this homepage at a glance to see what Binom feels like.
Another nice example is on the Bonsai homepage.
This is a product suite made for freelancers to manage projects, contracts, client invoices, all that jazz.
There are a few calls to action here with one being the signup button in the navigation bar, and the other being a single form signup field. You’ll see a much higher intro rate when you only ask for an email address, but this can also send curious people who sign up and never go anywhere.
I suppose the more interesting feature here is the actual split header layout. On one side you have this email form signup, and on the other side you have a screenshot of Bonsai.
As you scroll down there are no other screenshots which leaves the visitor wanting more.
And under the “products” menu there are other pages with similar screenshots. So there really is plenty here to dig into and preview before signing up.
Use Branded Client Logos
You’ve likely seen this effect used by hundreds of larger websites over the past few years. It’s quickly growing into a trusted design style for tech websites too.
The whole idea of mentioned logos is to build trust and credibility with your product.
If people visit your homepage and see that your product is being used by other larger companies, that immediately becomes a signal of authority. The key here is to not exaggerate in any way: only use logos that are truly related to your product.
If you look at the Moqups homepage you’ll find a small section in the header listing companies that use their product.
Logos include Intel, Microsoft, Sony, among many other big names. These brands are large enough that everyone would recognize them. Especially in the tech space.
And it’s worth noting that the logos blend very nicely into the header itself. They don’t feel jarring or out of place, and they’re just subtle enough that you might even miss them.
I feel that’s really the best way to use branded logos. Make them noticeable yet not too obvious.
Now Droplr does something very similar with branded logos that fade into the background.
One qualm I have with this style is the lack of description for these logos.
Why are the listed here? What do the represent? Even a small heading like “Clients” or “Happy Customers” would clear this up.
Yet even without that text, we still like seeing those logos. Because they’re trusted brands. And it immediately gives Droplr that much more credibility.
Now I think Reech does it best by listing customer logos and explaining what they are.
This effect can be used in many ways across many styles. You could even use branded logos for various magazines or newspapers that have mentioned your product in the press.
People trust a TechCrunch logo just as much as a Microsoft logo. So any form of recognizable branding that you can promote will surely improve your trust factor.
Homepage Signup Form
Earlier in this post I mentioned the CTA button and some trends for that. Which I still stand by: it’s a powerful tool for tech product websites.
But there’s one other method you can try which is the lone signup form right on the homepage.
Most CTAs just bring users onto a signup page anyway. So why not skip the initial click and just try coaxing people to sign up?
If you do it right this will look very natural and could even increase conversions.
Online payroll software Gusto has some really cool tech for payroll and HR tools. And they’ve also got a brilliant website to prove it.
Above the fold you’ll find a form with only 3 fields: name, email, and company.
With just these 3 pieces of info you can create a Gusto account and get your name into their email list. So even if you sign up and go nowhere, Gusto can follow-up with your account to connect and try to encourage you to complete the signup.
You’ll notice in the example above that form is small and natural to the page. That’s the type of design aesthetic you should go for.
Another great example is Cloudbooks with a simple two field signup: name and email.
Doesn’t get much simpler than that. Not to mention their design is pretty basic so there’s not a whole lot else to do on their homepage.
Directly underneath the signup form they have a small carousel which you could easily replicate. Although personally I find it more distracting than encouraging.
Yet that’s just one more element you could try split testing to see if it helps or hinders conversions.
These homepage signup forms are not as common on tech sites, but I am seeing them far more often. Even on larger websites like Digital Ocean.
Super clean account creation form placed right above the fold. Easy to work with and you only enter two things: email and password.
If you attempt this design style be sure to keep it simple. Limit of 2-3 fields max and really design the form so it’s not too obnoxious.
Add Illustrations For Branding
I’m sure you’ve seen plenty of tech startups with custom illustrations.
These are popular because they’re easier to brand, quick to recognize, and pretty fun to blend with a tech logo. For example, when I think of Docker I think of their whale graphic.
Yet even on their homepage they feature a slightly different animated illustration:
You can follow a similar style with your own tech homepage if you have an illustration that makes sense.
This is why illustrations do not need to be branded. If you design an illustration that demonstrates the product, or helps to showcase something relevant, or that just describes your tech… these are all valid uses of illustrated elements.
Alternatively you could use illustrations as background pieces to enhance the page. Rentberry does just this on their homepage.
Bright colorful background with a nice city scene. It lets the visitor know that this page is all about real estate and property management.
Not to mention the color scheme works nicely with their branding which is a plus.
Or you can go the character illustration route like Chanty to include people or scenes in action.
I really like their style because the illustrations feel like a natural part of the page. Nothing feels forced or in the way: exactly what you want out of a design.
If you go with some custom illustrated vectors you could also toss in some animation to grab attention. No wrong answers here.
Just look for design assets that can blend nicely with the brand so you aren’t forcing ideas that don’t go well with your tech.
Some Final Thoughts
The primary goal of a tech homepage is to sell the product.
Tell people what it is, what it does, why it’s useful, and hopefully hook some of those people into trying it out. If you’ve got a great product then most of those people should enjoy it.
But design is often the doorway into becoming a customer so you need a stellar design that really works.
These tips are all very practical and pretty simple to work into a layout regardless of what you’re promoting. Try these out in your next tech project and see what you think, but also keep your eyes on the industry. Tech websites change fast so it’s good to keep up with changing times and new trends as they emerge.