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The Homepage – Making Your Most Important Page Count
* Warnings: This information applies to business websites only – personal, government, portal or special interest websites are not considered.
* The first page you see when you go to a website using only the URL (www.thewebsite.com) is considered the Home Page, regardless of what it may be called. Some websites call this page by other names like “Welcome” or “Introduction” or “Entry” or even “Index”.
* There are always two types of visitors to your site that must be considered, people (real human visitors to your site) and robots (automatic software, also called spiders, or web crawlers) used by search engines.
Why is your home page so important?
Your home page is important because it is the page where the crucial decision is made:
Is this website relevant?
There is so much information and so many websites on the World Wide Web these days that the first decision made while browsing the website is always “Is this website relevant?” Does it cover the topic I wanted? Does it have the kind of information I need?
For example: If you are looking to buy shoes, you can go to Google and type “shoes”. On the results page, you can find a site that is all about the history of shoes. While it was on the right topic, this site would not be exactly what you were looking for.
As a surfer, you probably scroll the home page and notice first if the website is about shoes. So you will look to see if there are shoes for sale on this site. If not – or it’s not clear, you can just move on to the next site in the list.
Search engines use your home page when evaluating your website for relevance to keyword searches. In fact, it is the heaviest page. If the word “shoes” is not on your home page, your site may not appear at all on a Google results page for the search term “shoes”.
Other pages can be used by both types of visitors, but often the crucial decision is made on the home page.
If your home page does not provide the information that you think a potential customer will need to make a decision to stay on the site or not, in a way that can be easily and quickly assimilated by both types of visitors, then the Your home page has failed. his most important task.
If people never see your website, nothing else matters.
Your home page is critical to both getting people to your site and keeping potential customers on the site once they find it.
Traditional advertising and business marketing is essential to the success of a business and should be included in any business plan. You should drive as much traffic to your website as you can using traditional marketing methods. Web marketing should never be considered enough on its own.
However, for most businesses, search engine optimization is very important. Search engines can provide a significant portion of traffic to a website. But this can happen only if the website is well optimized. Optimization starts with the home page because it is the most important page for search engines.
What information should be on your home page?
“A concise and specific summary of the site, using as many keywords as possible. The summary should include the products and services offered, by brand name and in layman’s language. The primary competitive advantages or main distinguishing factors of the company must be mentioned as well. Any relevant restrictive factors must also be specified (ie only wholesale, or service areas covered).” Contact information is also useful on a home page.
In other words – people and search engines should, just from the text of the home page, be able to determine if this site is relevant to their search.
Does the order of information or format matter?
Search engines rank text on a first-come, first-served basis. This means that the first text found on a page is considered more important than the text at the bottom of the page. The format is also considered by search engines. Headings that use the correct HTML tags are weighted more heavily than plain text. You should use headings and subheadings to organize and display your information according to its importance. Your headings should use clear, specific, keyword rich text. For people who read your home page, the same is true. Writing your homepage “in order of importance” and using headings to organize the text makes it easier for most people to read and understand the information presented.
Flash, Animation and Images
What search engine optimization means is: “making it as clear as possible what the site is all about – in terms that a search engine robot can understand”.
This is important because it is very common these days for websites that are not written in HTML. Technologies such as flash and Java script, among others, are now very common. It is difficult for a layman to know the difference, since websites that use search engine friendly technology may seem indistinguishable from those that do not. A useful test is “can you copy and paste text from the website into your text editor”? If the text is written in HTML, you can do this. If you can’t, then it is likely that the search engines will not be able to read this text.
Limiting the type of technologies that are not friendly to search engines to non-essential decorative purposes makes the most sense for a business website. In this way you can have the advantages of these technologies (cool graphics and effects) without any of the negative sides (such as a poor search engine performance).
Is load time still important?
Yes! Load time is always important. There is still a significant portion of people on dial-up Internet connections. If your home page takes too long to load due to too many images or flash, your potential visitors may just give up and go elsewhere!
Go to the rest of the site.
Every major page on your site should be linked from your home page.
This serves three purposes;
1) To make it clear at a glance to real people what they can expect to find on the rest of the site.
2) Know that a few possible clicks are required to reach the desired information.
3) So that the search engines can follow the links to the rest of the pages on your website and the index.
Avoid using splash pages that have no text or page links to the rest of your site. These pages make it more difficult for search engines to index and classify the site, and ask people to make extra clicks and waste time to find out if your site is relevant to their search; in addition, they often negatively affect the loading time.
Making an impact
Of course you want your site to look good and you want your home page to “make an impact”. But think carefully about what kind of “impact” the home page is really making. Do you want your visitors to think, “Wow what a great website? I wonder who the designers are?” Or do you want them to think, “Wow that’s exactly the product or service I’ve been looking for! I’m going to buy it now!”
Where you can go wrong is thinking that potential customers are impressed with flash movies, animations, music and other such bells and whistles, when in reality most people are more impressed, in a useful way, by a website that loads fast. , has well-organized and complete information, and offers the product or service they want in favorable terms. – Really!
The single page website. Better now than later.
In some cases, a home page may be all you need. Especially when you don’t have the time or budget to have a bigger website. It is better to have a one-page website done now, than to wait six months or more to have a larger website created.
These days, a website is often used for simple research purposes. Does this company exist?
Do they have/do what I need?
Where is it?
How do you contact them?
A well-made home page can provide all this information and at a very reasonable cost.
Also, if you are planning to have a website at some point in the future (and why wouldn’t you?) then having a one page website will give you a head start with the search engines (which can take to four months). to index a new site).
by Candace Carter, Back2Front-The Web Site People
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