There’s No Place like Home

By Brian Lewis
Director of Optimization, SiteTuners



Many times the name we call something greatly affects our attitudes about that something.

Take the term “homepage”, for instance. In the context of the web, we all know that our homepage is where most of our visitors will first meet us, experience our brand messaging, learn about our products and services, and hopefully determine if we offer solutions to their problems.

As such, many marketers treat their homepages as an electronic kitchen sink, throwing every message, offer, special, countless products and then further distracting us with endless rotating banners under the misconception that “we need to show everything … after all, it’s our homepage”.

One of the reasons marketers have gotten derailed trying to construct effective homepages is because this page is referred to as “the homepage”.

Think about it … “Home” commonly refers to a place you are content to stay; a place where one lives. In baseball, it’s a place a runner wants to reach to end his journey around the bases and score a run.

On the web, though, we want to get our visitors off the homepage and into our site as expeditiously as possible. An effective home page:

  1. Quickly communicates  what it is we do;
  2. Allows the visitor to quickly decide if the company can meet their needs, and;
  3. Guides the visitor to the page in the site that’s of interest to them

I like to think of the homepage as more like an airport terminal. Remember your last visit to an airport? The problem you were trying to solve was to get to your destination as quickly and easily as possible. You were looking for information to get you to the right gate, and the shortest path to that gate, so you could board your plane. You didn’t care about flights to other destinations and certainly did not want to spend any more time than necessary there.

Remember that your homepage should provide clear navigational information and direct the visitor to their desired destination. The challenge is to meet the various needs of all the many types of visitors who’ll arrive on your homepage while not creating an electronic kitchen sink.

One of the best ways to accomplish this is through the development of Common User Scenarios. To learn all about Common User Scenarios, why they’re productive and how to craft effective scenarios, stop by my session, “Maximizing Conversion with Common User Scenarios” at the Conversion Conference in San Francisco, CA, March 17-19.

Image credit: Jawcey via Flickr

About the Author

lewis-vBrian is Director of Optimization at SiteTuners, a firm that improves website conversion rate via conversion-focused redesign blueprints, landing page testing, and training of internal optimization teams. Brian’s 20 years of hands-on and strategic online marketing experience spans a diverse range of industries and has made him a popular expert speaker at industry conferences such as Search Marketing Expo, PPC Summit, Conversion Conference, Online Marketing Summit, and others. Brian earned a B.A. in Economics from the University of California, San Diego and an M.B.A. from the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, graduating both schools with honors.

See Brian Live!

Join Brian in his session on “Maximizing Conversion with Common User Scenarios” at Conversion Conference San Francisco 2014, March 17-19. Follow Brian on Twitter and ask for a promo code to save more on your pass.


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