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Homepage 2.0 - Gateway to Your Site and Online Presence
Monday, July 23, 2007
I came across a very interesting article by Nanette Marcus over at imediaconnection.com. She posed the question of whether the homepage is dead or not? Interesting topic... Marcus states:

Site visitors are decreasingly entering via the homepage and instead are entering through other entry points, such as responding to an offer or following a search inquiry... how can brands approach site design and messaging differently to leverage new site access patterns?

This is a great topic keeping in mind that:
  • A well optimized site allows the search experience to be tailored to the user which makes it easy for a user to perform a specific query and enter a site on a product or information page.

  • Web 2.0 will prove how dynamic the Internet can be. Things like online video will introduce users to brands and intercept users in an entirely different manner.

  • Similar to the first point, personalized search will introduce entry points to your site other than the homepage. Ultimately Google and the other engines want to provide the best results possible. The best result possible is not always being served up the home page.

  • With improvement in site navigation structures more often than not you are seeing internal site pages resemble the "traditional" home page with conversion triggers, specific product/service information, and contact information that will allow the user to continue the experience on the site.

  • Think of the last time you visited EBay's homepage or Amazon.com. Originally the Internet may have been a linear tool, but it is much more dynamic now. Things like widgets and personalized iGoogle pages make the online space a very dynamic environment.

  • User generated content and blogs provide additional entry points to your brand and site.
Looking at it from the other end of the spectrum, one reason why the homepage may never go away is because there is need for a "main" site page that can act as a portal to the rest of the site. Unlike a sitemap that acts somewhat as a table of contents, the homepage is a more informative navigational aspect to your website. Not to mention the simplicity of the homepage URL structure. It's much easier for users to remember www.google.com vs. some other long dynamic string from a deep internal Google information page.

The homepage is still treated as the most important page of your website by the search engines. If you are doing any form of online marketing you will still want your home page showing up in the SERPs providing that it is the most relevant page that is being served up based on the user's search query. In 2007, the homepage is still very much alive. In terms of being an entry point to your site, the homepage is no longer the only player as to where users frequent when they arrive at your site.
posted by Jody @ 8:30 AM  
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