Mental Hurdle: The Home Page is Not Your Front Door

Most people trying to throw together a website think of the homepage as their entry point, their welcome mat, their “Hello, thanks for coming.  How can I help you?”  But how realistic is that?  Well, let’s analyze me (you can insert yourself here) and my weekly web wanderings.

What homepages have I seen this week?

It has been places where I am a repeat offender: iStock Photo,  All Recipes, Eat Better America, NPR, Etsy and Hulu.  I show up to these places as a starting point for something that I am searching for.  Each has a handy search function on the homepage.  I am familiar.  I know how to use the sites.  There is no “welcome” or sales pitch necessary, just easy navigation please.

When do I enter a website from somewhere else?

Practically, every other time I use the web!

My Google searches this week included research on leasing technology equipment, html tags, and green gift guides.  None of these took me to a home page.

Google wasn’t the only source of my web wanderings.  My visits to Social Living, SnapFish, and Wix were all the direct result of marketing e-mails.   Not a single one of these took me to a homepage.

So where did they take me?

The effective ones took me to a specifically designed landing page.  Through my own web searches and the e-mail marketing links that brought me in, the companies knew exactly what drew me to their site.  My entry point to their websites was tailored to the reason I was surfing the web.  I did not have to read through their menus or find the search box or really do much thinking at all.

If a business is blessed with the specific knowledge of what drew the customer in, it seems wasteful and inattentive not to use it.

Using It

In short, using it means providing a tailored advertisement and action motivating page all in one.  While putting this page together, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Be goal oriented. Remember your conversion goal and make that the most natural, clickable path.
  • Keep it simple.  This page should not be distracting.
  • Give them what they want.  You know why the user landed here.  So don’t offer 800 other options.
  • Keep it attractive and professional.  Make sure that this page instills confidence in the business.
  • Be clear and concise.

Hmm, be clear and concise.  Seems like a good note to end on.  Go do it.

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