Take A Long, Hard Look At Your Home Page
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Conventional wisdom regarding home pages has changed a lot in the last few years. When websites were primarily static sites, they didn’t change very often. If that describes your website, maybe it’s time to take a long, hard look at your home page.
Peter Sandeen weighs in on the subject of the ideal home page in an email to his list. Here are three items on his list of purposes for a home page:
“1. It “greets” new visitors. New visitors don’t know what your site is about or why they should stick around. Your home page has to convince them to stay.
2. It gives returning visitors an easy way to get to the content they’re looking for.
3. It helps “lost” visitors find what they’re looking for. (Note: if your site is built well, people rarely get lost, so this isn’t as important.)”
This list looks so simplistic, but actually each of Sandeen’s three points is easier said than done. When he says, “greet new visitors,” that assumes you know how your particular site visitors want to be greeted, meaning both visually and in the written content. This is a big deal, and one that professionals constantly test.
And then the navigation bar or buttons have to be immediately obvious for first-time and returning visitors as well. This is also a big deal, and most web designers will tell you that getting creative with your home page navigation is NOT a good idea. The point is to keep it super obvious and simple.
By doing so, you will avoid any problem with #3, lost visitors who cannot find what they are looking for.