In this article, we will explore the concept of the homepage and the misconceptions around having a homepage.
In olden times, say 3-4 years ago, it was important to have a beautifully presented website ‘homepage’.
Effectively your online storefront, it was the equivalent to the main entrance to a physical store – it needed to be attractive and enticing enough to bring visitors through the doors in order to help you make sales.
Nowadays, with the improvements that Google (in particular) have made, every page is now a potential storefront for a website visitor. Let me say that again – every page is now a potential storefront.
Let’s explore this information further.
So, you’re reading this article – imagine (heaven forbid) that you’ve never heard of Showcase Web Development before and you’ve searched for something in a search engine like “website homepage best practice” and this article has come up.
You, as a virgin reader to my content land on this page and imagine – it’s poorly presented.
The content is great but it looks boring and doesn’t present Showcase in the best light.
Wouldn’t you say that this page is effectively a store front? Wouldn’t we have more chance of winning you over and you reading and liking our content with a well presented and enticing blog post page? But we’ve just said that’s what we want to achieve with our homepage correct…..?
That’s just one example.
Imagine searching for “contact web developers in Northampton” and, Google doing what Google does, shows our contact us page because Google understands that you are looking for the contact details for a web developer in Northampton.
Now, you’ve never heard of us and you click on our link.
The page is beautifully presented and attractive, you’re now much more likely to reach out and contact us.
You see where we are going with this?
No longer would Google just present a particular, pre-defined ‘default’ page which is commonly known as a ‘Homepage’. You now need to consider the impact that each and every page that a visitor could land on is making to that initiated visitor.
Now, granted there will be pages which perform better in search engines than others and generally these pages will have more visitors and so need more attention than others.
But I would hazard a guess that a significant amount of time these pages will be pages OTHER than your ‘homepage’.
Maybe there is a particular service that you offer that other competitors don’t, so the page which outlines the details of that service would show up and get more attention than other pages on the site. Or maybe there is a blog post or series of blogposts which is attracting a readership and so getting a lot of website attention.
The Most Important Pages on Your Website
Now, this is where understanding your website and its visitorship plays a massive part. There is a simple but under-used method to work out which pages are your key entry points for new visitors – and anyone that knows me will know what I am about to say – Google Analytics.
If you don’t know about Google Analytics by now, you should! I’ve written a whole article which just scratches the surface of it – but in a nutshell it is a free software released by Google (with a premium version available) to help you effectively track traffic to, from and around your website.
With Google Analytics, it’s very easy to work out which pages are attracting the most attention and interestingly also, which pages are considered ‘exit pages’ – pages which people are getting too and then leaving.
It’s just as important to identify and improve these pages to increase visitor retention and engagement.
How To Manage Your Website Effectively
It can be a daunting task to say – you need to improve the image and performance of each and every page on your website. Some websites are 100’s of pages big and this job would just be too mammoth to comprehend.
So, what can you do?
By identifying which pages are your key entry pages and your key exit pages, you know where to concentrate your energy and control the initial impressions your website is making to new visitors.
By doing this, you are effectively giving your online store a facelift and making sure it looks as good as possible to all visitors.
The entry and exit pages on your website will constantly evolve and change, so this will become an ongoing process, but with every iteration of improvements you will be improving the website’s impression for new visitors.
- Install Google Analytics on your website and work out how to identify your entry / exit pages.
- Navigate to the URL for one of the pages in question
- Ask the following questions:
Modern websites consider each and every page a homepage in terms of designing the look and feel of the page to maximize the positive impact to a potential new visitor.
Long gone are the days of having a specific homepage which takes all the focus from new visitors.
You need to understand which pages are important to your website and improve them – and that may mean improving the poorly performing pages too.
By doing this, you improve the chances of website conversion across your whole website and will inevitable increase the ROI from your website.