The heart of a website is the homepage. This is the page where 90% of our traffic hit. However, unarguably it is the starting point where visitors comprehends what this site is all about and access it by first visiting the homepage.
The task of the homepage has been changed over the years and specially when search engine changing their criterion about ranking in SERP’s. The expectation of visitors has been changes and we as webmasters or promoters need to fulfill their expectation.
Step by Step I would discuss what the outdated ways were and how they got transformed into the new modern dynamics.
homepagePreviously we promote all our products and services on the homepage of our website, so your blog could have a homepage like that quoted “Check out this e-book”. Each of the sections gets featured and this is what mainly decides whether the visitors will dive into the pages deeper or not for your content and most important would the stay and give their precious time to your site and at last, would they be returning to your website.
That promotion technique for selling your product is a bit outdated. This is 2014 and we have to make each and everything organized so that people would be able to find particular content within seconds.
You do not have to say “Hey, we have launched a new product. Check this out.” This is like forcing your customers. Instead what you could put a paragraph describing how to navigate through your website.
1. Describing yourself on your home page
This is what people do not like to do but it is necessary. People always want to know who are and did you get all these things started. Do not blabber all about yourself in the homepage. A short description of about 80-100 words in the footer are the best way to do it and then providing a link “Read more” than would direct them to the new page. In that page you can elaborate your description, things you like and what else you do. Some other things that should include your description must be:
• Not more than a 100*100 pixel photo or it must be a 72*72 pixel photo. It should be small and people would be clearly seeing your photo.
• A short description that include your profession i.e. either you are a blogger, web designer or a student.
• If possible mention the Institute in which you are pursuing your degree.
• Links to other websites if you have more than one.
This makes connection with your visitors and putting a short bio people would be able to know something about you and your profession.
2. Putting Up a Ezine or Newsletter
If you have read my article on How to publish your ezine article, than you know its importance. Creating your own newsletter help you get more subscribers and these subscribers remains updated when they check there mail.
3. Social Media Optimization
You must have a facebook page, twitter account and other social accounts. These are the best methods to remain updated to a website and surely you cannot afford not to put them on homepage.
4. What to do if a particular page have the most attention
It happens to good website, that they have an article about something that is a great one and most of its visitors come to that page. In that case you can make that page your homepage and put a plugin of recent post at the right column or at footer.
Methods of Search Engine
Previously, the homepage must contain a lot of keywords; this is how they determine the page rank as most of the backlinks were linking to the home page and from that homepage rank of other pages were decided. Till 2005, Google made every link “do-follow” but after that year they introduced do-follow and nofollow. Now, the total scenario has been changed. Major search engine like Bing and Google are smart enough and the page rank of individual pages can be higher or lower according to the backlinks of that particular page. Till 2010, to perform better in SERP’s the article must contain keyword, not they are obscure and having them would not benefit at you all. Search engine ignore meta keywords completely.
Analysis of Home Page
I have done analysis and find some great results which gives better clarity about what my customers wants.
You might have a misconception that whoever find you would land on the homepage. When the visitors first come to a website they land on the internal pages. First time visitors would land on the homepage only if some website is linking you to the homepage. Otherwise there are 95% chances that the people who visit first time your website would not land on the homepage.
When a visitor have landed on the internal page than they have already read a post and are interested to know more about the site then they click on “Home” and go to the homepage of your website. In study of about 1 month about 27% traffic is to the second page visitors on the homepage.
These are your genuine audience. They return to your site because they like it and you have to deliver their expectations.
In order to reach your site they do three things. They will type the name of your website on the web browser, others would Google you site name and some have bookmarked your website. These people start at the homepage of your website. In my website returning visitors are 58% and out of them 49% starts at the homepage of the website.
Add credibility on the Home Page
Once people find your source beneficial than it is how they access your site but you can have their decision in your favor. You can make them updated about your site is by adding social media credibility.
Social or Subscriber Counts
It is all about numbers. More people would subscribe to your newsletter if they see many people have already described not shoe the statistics if these numbers are lower than 1000. Having a number below 1000 does not gives you credibility and you have to work to at least get to thousand.
Show a Testimonial, Preferably from a Well-Known Source
You might have read a novel. They provide referral of many bug authors and newspapers like “Bestselling Book of 2013”, “It was truly mind-boggling”, etc. So, you can publish the opinion of a well known website or a well known author that has appreciated your work.
Another way to add credibility is to ask your visitors to give a review about your website and how it helped them and publishing that on the homepage.
The best way of having a testimonial is from someone who is very popular on the web or at least many people know him and it would be quite good if he is an expert on the topic of your website.
Press or Customer Logos
You might have seen on the websites the logos of huffingtonpost.com, copyblogger.com, etc. This shows that they have worked with them and if you have done the same then you must add these things on your homepage.
The Final Word
Blogging websites are different than the company or hobby websites. It is very likely that whoever has seen your homepage has already seen some other part of your website whether it is a page or a post.
Last I want to say that homepage is the most important page of your website. Most of the people visit your homepage. This is the place from where you can build audience. Remember the above tips and you would be good to go.