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How Important is the Homepage?

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Seth Godin, on his blog, wrote "Do you really need a home page? Does the web respect it?".

Here is what he wrote:

Human beings don’t have home pages. People make judgments about you in a thousand different ways. By what they hear from others, by the way they experience you, and on and on. Companies may have a website, but they don’t have a home page in terms of the way people experience them.

The problem with home page thinking is that it’s a crutch. There’s nothing wrong with an index, nothing wrong with a page for newbies, nothing wrong with a place that makes a first impression when you get the chance to control that encounter. But it’s not your ‘home’. It’s not what the surfer/user wants, and when it doesn’t match, they flee.

You don’t need one home page. You need a hundred or a thousand. And they’re all just as important.

I fully agree with Seth’s view. I wrote a similar post last year, where I questioned the undue importance marketers give to their home page (Homepage How Critical is it?). In this article I highligted several reasons why the majority of  users might never see the traditional homepage.

Essentially every page is a home page (use your web analytics tool to find out where users are entering your site and treat at least the top entry pages as your home page).

Below are some of the factors, that I mentioned in my post, that cause users to bypass the home page.

1. Search Engines – Visitors, now more than ever, rely on the search engines to find the sites or pages which are relevant to what they are looking for. Search engines link into internal pages not just the home page, at least that’s the case for well search engine optimized (SEO) sites.

2. Viral Marketing – Friends referring friends to internal pages (pages other than homepage) of the site.

3. Bookmarks – Visitors are book marking the internal pages which have content/products which interest them and then use these bookmarks to visit the site.

4. Deep linking on the other sites – Other sites, blogs etc. are linking to the internal pages with content/products relevant to their content.

5. Online Advertising – Online Advertising (and offline too) drive users to landing pages which are generally internal pages.

Note: that in response to my post last year, Joeseph Carrabis wrote a post titled Homepage as Bookcover.

How Important is the Homepage?
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About Anil Batra
http://webanalysis.blogspot.com

Anil has over 10 years of experience in Consulting, Business Intelligence, Web Analytics, Online Advertising and Behavioral Targeting. Anil helps companies use Web channel data to improve online business results (lead generation, conversion, retention and self-help metrics). Anil has helped several fortune 500 customers effectively use web analytics and increase their ROI on the web. Anil has worked with customers such as Microsoft, SmartMoney.com, ESPN, T-Mobile, Hoovers, Realnetworks, Starbucks, and TheStreet.com

Anil holds a B. Tech in Electronics and Communication Engineering from India and an MBA from University of Washington, Seattle. WebProNews Writer
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