Your home page is the single most crucial page of your site. This is the page that will be the primary entry point for a majority of your visitors. It is also the page that sets the stage for the rest of the site giving visitors a birds-eye view of who you are, what you're about, what you can do for them, what you offer, and how they get the information needed.

The importance of making sure your home page is user-friendly cannot be understated. This page, more than any other, has to pull together so many elements without being overbearing or overloading the visitor with information overkill. Despite the over-reaching purpose of the home page, simplicity is the key. Provide the necessary information and usability elements and you'll lower your bounce rate and improve site conversions along the way.

Site identification

The home page's first function is to convey to the visitor what site they are on. Company name and logo must be clearly and obviously displayed.

Home Page Usability

Identify page

Visitors should know that they page they have landed on is, in fact, the home page. A quick glance at the page should make this obvious.

Home Page Usability

Site overview

Home page content should provide an overview of who you are and what you do. It should go on to introduce the main areas of your site, giving visitors the opening to continue through to the information they came for.

Home Page Usability

Calls to action

Use textual and image links that convey a distinct call to action that drives the visitor to the desired destination.

Home Page Usability

Splash pages

Splash pages should never be used. These pages serve very little purpose and tend to annoy visitors.

Home Page Usability

Minimize content

Home page content should be kept to a minimum. This page should serve as a jump off point (enticement) to direct visitors to the deeper sales content pages.

Home Page Usability

Minimize scrolling

Vertical scrolling should be kept to a minimum. Ensure that most important information is visible "above the fold".

Home Page Usability

Discuss this article in the Small Business Ideas forum.


October 30, 2007





Stoney deGeyter is the President of Pole Position Marketing, a leading search engine optimization and marketing firm helping businesses grow since 1998. Stoney is a frequent speaker at website marketing conferences and has published hundreds of helpful SEO, SEM and small business articles.

If you'd like Stoney deGeyter to speak at your conference, seminar, workshop or provide in-house training to your team, contact him via his site or by phone at 866-685-3374.

Stoney pioneered the concept of Destination Search Engine Marketing which is the driving philosophy of how Pole Position Marketing helps clients expand their online presence and grow their businesses. Stoney is Associate Editor at Search Engine Guide and has written several SEO and SEM e-books including E-Marketing Performance; The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!; Keyword Research and Selection, Destination Search Engine Marketing, and more.

Stoney has five wonderful children and spends his free time reviewing restaurants and other things to do in Canton, Ohio.





Comments(11)

Could you re-title this page to be something like
"7 ways for Pole Position Marketing to get free advertising. Again"

I don't see you allowing other people to do this kind of thing...

Excellent post, Stoney!

Dave, the site he chose doesn't matter, it's the content of the post. Writers often write about their own experiences, sites, etc.

If you would like to submit an article, get in touch with Jennifer. If it's good, we won't care what site you write about. The key is whether or not it is of value to our readers.

Robert - not saying it's not of value and he very obviously know's his stuff as can be seen throughout the site.

However, is there any need to use his own site at each and every turn as an example of how great they are and how they have got everything right? I'm not so sure.
Do that anywhere else and people shout SPAM! Jennifer has similar trouble not so long ago on a forum.

I'm not saying it is spam mind you, it's just that I don't think anyone else would be allowed to do it in the same way over and over.

Still, fair play to Search Engine Guide for posting my comment.

Hey Dave,

It might help to put this into context a bit. This post was first published on my own blog at www.emarketingperformance.com. While I provide unique posts almost weekly here at the SEG blog, Jennifer frequently republishes content from my blog as well. This certainly would not have been a blog post I would have made at SEG because I try not to reference my own stuff over here, but since it's a republish, it was entirely left up to Jennifer to use it or not.

But you do make a good point about using my own sites for things like this. Sometimes it's just a matter of convenience. Instead of hunting down a handful of sites that do what I'm describing I took the "lazy" way and found the one that already does it. In other posts in my usability series I've used other sites, mostly because I know my own site didn't comply fully with the things I was discussing.

Thanks for replying, Stoney.
Can't blame you for using the 'lazy' route and I fully accept that this was taken from your blog.
I'm not trying to really have a go here (although it may appear that way), I was just uneasy with the way things were done (even though it's none of my business really).

It just smacks of favouritism that's all, it's always a handful of sites that get lots of what appears to be free publicity here. I know that it is because you write good stuff but I don't see Jennifer picking other sites in the same way.

Does that make sense? Don't want to open a can of worms here.
Cheers.

Naw, you're speaking your mind and that's what Robert loves! I know Jennifer is always looking for good content so get in touch with her and like Robert said, if she likes it she'll use it!

Dave wrote:
Does that make sense?

Your points make perfect sense and we are actively working to make it easier for people who don't get a lot of exposure to be able to address our audience. Something Jennifer and I feel strongly about is using Search Engine Guide to give a platform to people that don't yet have a reputation built up. It's hard to get a break and there are amazingly talented people that are not being heard simply because they haven't been given an opportunity to showcase their skills.

Obviously, Jennifer is going to be strict about what content is published on Search Engine Guide because it does no one any good if the standards aren't kept high.

But please, if anyone feels like they have something to contribute and/or they feel shut out by the search marketing industry, get in touch with Jennifer. You don't have to be perfect but you do have to be open to editorial feedback from Jennifer. And, whether anyone knows your name or not isn't relevant to us. We know everyone has to start somewhere.

Back on topic here....

Can you comment on how you manage your homepage from an SEO perspective (juggling usability vs. SEO)? More specifically, homepages often end up with the highest PR b/c that's where most people point their links to. You recommend minimizing content and scrolling....how do you balance this with the need to flow valuable PR to many of your internal pages (esp on a larger site)?

In my case, 90% of my traffic comes in "sideways" from search engines. Since only 10% of my visitors land on the homepage (but homepage still has highest PR), I've recently started to experiment with tweaking the page more for the engines (and PR flow). So, the homepage has more links than I'd prefer, but it seems to be having a better impact on traffic and conversions overall since the deep pages are bubbling up (given my traffic patterns).

Just curious how you think about this issue.

Hi Garrett,

well, PR will flow from the home page simply through your site's main navigation so you really don't have to worry about that too much. But you make a good poing about contextually trying to hit your main points, provide enough information to direct the visitors to where they want to go and keep it all pretty minimalistic. I don't have any magic solution and I recommend just test to see what works and what doesn't.

Hope this helps.

"This is the page that will be the primary entry point for a majority of your visitors."

Is this what you really think? Sounds like 1990's SEO...

Carfeu, good point. I should have said "plurality" rather than majority. For most sites the home page is still the single most frequently viewed page. But this also doesn't have a lot to do with SEO. Good SEO delivers people to the internal pages that are most relevant. Once someone is familiar with a site, however they often frequent the site's home page. I can only think of a few sites myself that I only bookmark internal pages. But maybe that's just me.

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Search Engine Guide > Stoney deGeyter > 7 Ways to Make Your Home Page a Home Run for Usability