This is sincerely a great question. I say this because most designers, founders, and developers of online marketplaces approach this in a way to satisfy one side of their audience only – completely disregarding the other.

Assuming your question refers to the “index page” or home page of the site, the correct answer is the buyer of services.

If you are branding effectively, your direct traffic (PR, WOM etc…) will be primarily potential customers. So make sure your value proposition to this side of your marketplace is front/center. Let’s look at a similar platform to what you describe: Gigster.com:

Notice the simplicity and direct customer-focused above the fold content ^. This is very intentional. They know they have milliseconds to get their value prop across, so they have to get right to the point.

**Note: for a short time, Gigster was testing out a funnel that sent traffic right into a project chat from a very basic landing page (just one section with their mission and a client logo strip) and a button to “Get Started” that sent users right into a chat with a project manager. I mention this because you may be building your model the same way – trying to offer mediation of projects without connecting users directly to the developer.

Thumbtack is also a great example. They get users right into a project type search so they can present the experts that meet their needs before asking if they’d like to post a project:

This approach only works when you have all of your categories filled with quality experts.

One last thing, you will have recruiting efforts/ads/links out there at the same time you have revenue-generation (sales) efforts/ads/links. So make sure you have a landing page just for experts to use for any campaigns for building your expert network.

In either case, the main takeaways from this are:

  1. Use two different landing pages – one targeting customers only above the fold (your index page), and one for recruiting experts.
  2. Keep the content above the fold very simple and include the main value prop for your platform to customers.
  3. Test multiple variations of each of those and make sure these variations are each completely different in structure and copy.

I hope that helps 🙂

alex glenn – I Will Show You How to Launch a Marketplace! & I Will Give You Actionable Growth Tactics! Expert – Clarity