Thursday, May 3, 2012

What Is a Homepage and What Is Its Purpose?

Like a great shop window display or a beautifully designed advertisement in a newspaper or magazine, your website's homepage should quickly and simply sum up what it is you do and what services or information you offer. More than likely it is the first page a visitor to your site will see. Just as you would walk out of a store if you felt uneasy, your visitors will be quick to hit that back button if your homepage doesn't seem inviting and professional.
So what is a homepage? At its basic level, a homepage is usually the main page on your website, or at least the initial point of contact when someone types in your URL. It is the gateway through which visitors will be able to explore the rest of your site. As such, it allows you to mould a visitor's browsing experience from the moment they land on your site.
With this in mind, your homepage can serve several purposes. If you are running an online shop, for example, then your homepage can make new customers aware of the types of products you sell and also alert them to the latest deals. If your goods are more tailored to an individual's needs, then the homepage can act here as the starting point for their purchasing experience, guiding them through a process which will eventually lead to a sale.

If your website is more geared towards an event or a product launch, then perhaps your homepage can serve as a teaser. Some recent websites designed to promote blockbuster movies have been deliberately ambiguous in their design, teasing the visitor and inviting them to explore the homepage a little further so as to uncover clues and information about the release.
With a site such as that of an events photographer, a homepage acts as both a means of displaying contact details and as an online gallery, grabbing the visitor with sumptuous images and offering the promise of the same to them.
Any page on your website should be given careful consideration before it goes live, but none more so than your homepage. With the potential to grab a visitor's attention, or make them run for the door, within seconds of their arrival, a well-designed, carefully structured and easy to navigate homepage can instantly help to develop feelings of trust and familiarity. These are vital if you are to keep hold of a visitor long enough to promote your services.

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