An interesting article emerged over at Econsultancy recently, entitled ‘The Slow Death of the Homepage’. In it, Philip Klien argues that, “there no longer is a ‘home’ page ie. a page that acts as the only entranceway for visitors to access a website and its vast content”.
He goes on to say that, because more and more people are entering sites through ‘side doors’ such as search engines and social media links , the home page has been transformed, “into a way for companies to brand themselves online rather than act solely as an access point.”
Klien makes a persuasive argument and raises some highly relevant points, but is the home page really dying a death, and was it ever really the only access point?
One of the main examples he cites is the New York Times website, which is today apparently seeing, “more than half of [its visitors] entering the site through internal pages.” But as a news website isn’t this to be expected, with people entering the site from news searches or clicking through to interesting stories shared by friends?
Would the same be true of, say, a plumber’s website, or a garden supply centre?
The fact is ever since the first search engines roamed the web, people have been discovering internal pages first. But the home page has continued to fulfil a vital role in being the place where many do make first contact. If you include your site address on your business cards and other promotional materials it’s your homepage address you provide. If someone tells their friend about your website it will usually be your homepage they reel off.
For these reasons and others, the home page will probably always be a relevant gateway to a website, and as such it should be a well-considered introduction to new visitors, and an intuitive portal to all other areas of your site.
On the other hand, as more and more visitors are entering sites through other pages, Klien’s assertion that you should, “treat every page as if it’s the homepage’ does ring true.