This is how the average web professional thinks about homepages:
- It is the ‘entrance’ to a website
- It should be the primary place on the website to ‘make an impression’
- It’s the first page on the site visitors will see
Yet often visitors just don’t use the homepage in that way. Usually, it has quite a different role to that. Here’s a little example to prove the point:
I was speaking to someone from a major technology news website & they mentioned:
- Their homepage gets 140,000 impressions per day
- Their website as a whole gets 35,000 unique visitors per day
So let’s make the assumption that 80% of visitors view the homepage (the rest may come in to deeper pages through search, via emails, bookmarks, etc, & may never look at the homepage within the session). That means that the homepage itself gets 28,000 unique visitors per day.
How That Breaks Down:
- 28,000 visitors
- 140,000 impressions
- = 5 homepage views per visitor
What does this mean for the role of the homepage?
- The homepage is /not just/ the front door to your website. In fact it is more like the central hallway
- Visitors are not always comfortable relying on your top & side navigation – they will return to the homepage to reorientate & move elsewhere.
- Don’t just put ‘welcome’ content on there. The homepage should provide easy paths to your valuable content.
- As visitors will see the homepage several times & trust it, it may be useful for you to include ‘dynamic’ content areas to introduce them to different things (just make sure this is ‘additional’ content, rather than ‘core’ content, as visitors will expect core content to remain there consistently)