Your homepage is the first thing anyone who visits your website is going to see, right? Actually, not always. It’s rare that a websites homepage ranks high in Google for any number of their keywords. It’s far more common for individual blog posts or specifically and purposely built landing pages to be the first thing a user sees when they visit your site – especially because of social media (who expects a post containing their homepage to go viral?).
But that doesn’t mean that you can ignore your home page.
Instead of having as substandard and lackluster homepage, you need to cross several items off our checklist to make sure you have your bases covered.
But what specific information should you put on your home page?
After someone has visited your site, it’s very common for them to click on your homepage to learn more about your business and navigate to other sections of your site. Today, we’re going to take a closer look at what to do with your website's home page.
The Role of Your Homepage
Homepages have evolved over the last decade (what on the Internet hasn’t?), and their purpose is different these days. In the past, it was far more common for a website’s homepage to essentially act as the first stop in the journey. Assumed to be the initial point of entry to any domain, many business incorrectly assumed that every visitor would need all the information about the company in one place.
Now people have different expectations, and have a multitude of ways to visit a site that sometimes doesn’t even involve ever visiting the homepage. So, let’s look at the old techniques and requirements of homepages, and then move on to what modern administrators expect.
The Old Ways of Doing Things Compared to Modern Strategies
Back in the day, the hompage “promoted” all other sections of the site. Even just 10 years ago, the homepage was a sort of “table of contents” or a map to find the other sections of the site. At that time, web design platforms like WordPress weren’t the norm, leaving a lot people to use tools like Dreamweaver and Front Page - or to hard-code entire websites (yuck!).
It was really the only way a user had to find other sections of the site, which made many homepages chaotic and far too busy. Today, however, it’s more important to streamline your hompage – it’s kind of a “less is more” philosophy. You want to present the most pertinent information to the largest number of applicable visitors instead of trying to cater to the lowest denominator.
And as you may already know, keyword strategies evolve at a rapid pace to keep up with the latest Google algorithm changes. In the not so distant past, homepages would typically rank higher than other pages. As such, website owners (and SEOs) would try to cram and stuff as many keywords on their homepage as possible. And this technique worked well...at least until Google introduced new updates that undercut these types of sites.
Today, keyword stuffing is a bad idea in general. But also consider that it’s much rarer for a homepage to rank higher than individual pieces of content in your blog. Now Google can essentially crawl through individual web pages to discern the intent and meaning of your content.
Because of this, it’s much more probable for a visitor to enter your site through a blog page instead of through the traditional homepage. This is very important to understand when building other pieces of content. Quite often, those are the first pages new visitors see.
Remember to sort keywords (and related groups of keywords) into individual pages of content instead of spreading them out across your entire site – or even concentrating them on your homepage.
Due in part to the old keyword practices, it was very common for people to load their homepage with as much text as possible. This practice made homepages look extremely chaotic, and users typically didn’t want to spend time reading unfathomably long blocks of text. The idea was that the more information that was written on a homepage, the better the chance of ranking higher and capturing the user’s attention.
Today, though, it’s the exact opposite. People are busy and want information as fast as possible – plain and simple. Instead of only including text on your homepage, you need to consider alternative content mediums that will capture the user’s attention and serve them the information they crave in a timely manner.