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Splash Pages: Are They Useful?

Do splash pages offer real value, or should they be avoided?

     
3:30 pm on Jun 11, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Hi everybody!

One little question, even not a question but your opinion.

Personaly I have nothing against splash pages if they are well done and fast loading, but recently I had red a lot of threads in forums and articles about not to use splash page. I am working on my husband company's site and wondering about to use or not to use splash page. The site will be in two languages (at the moment, maybe even more than two), so I thought it will be quite logical solution - splash page with two links, visitors can chose immediately which variant to see.

How do you think?

Sandra

1:38 am on June 27, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I've read all the posts on this and I think it is apparent that the splash page that yields no info about the site and just tells someone they have to use a specific resolution or browser or just shows a pretty graphic is pretty much an exit encouragement.

At the same time, there is the problem of browser compatibility and coding compatibilities to resolve. I'm currently using a splash page on my site in order to direct viewers to either a plain vanilla HTML/javascript version or to a CSS/XML version. This is a three-month-old layout I decided to try out and I must say I have not been completely happy with it since the beginning. So I am currently digging for ideas to change to.

I think the information page that has choice snippets of the contents is better than the splash page, but home pages like Yahoo and AOL are miserable because there is simply too much to chose from. I kind of like the spydersempire.com site, which has not too many graphics and a paragraph about each subsite. I don't think a home page should rival one's sitemap page. Otherwise why bother to have a sitemap page?

9:47 am on June 27, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Well, I've read this thread with interest. Here's my situation. I have an E-commerce website in the UK with a "Splash page" which directs customers from other countries to other sites. I get paid for those links.

The Splash page is optimised using WPG to rank well for Google, and we're number 2 for our best phrase there. We're also number 1 on Yahoo for our key phrase there.

Here are the concerns:

1. I am reluctant to touch the Splash page as it rankes so well in Google - though, of course - only for this one target phrase.

2. Did the notion of doorway pages - each optimized for different search phrases and engines - go out the window?

3. If I lose this Splash page, I will lose the "canvas" on which I could paint anything WPG asked me to. I don't have that luxury on the site hub page, which is the one the Splash page points to, because it's very small, and highly functional. There is no slop in there to add links and text to satisfy SE ranking formulae.

4. The Splash page loads fast and invites one click from the user, is this really such a big deal?

5. I guess it's the "dilution effect" I've heard about here, which would be the real reason I ought to remove the Splash page.

I'm clearly in the presence of more qualified people, so I'll probably bite the bullet and kill the Splash page. I guess I'll put the foreign page links on the hub page.

But I'd really appreciate someone explaining the "dillution" rationale, as it seems to be the main reason for doing it.

Is there a ways I can keep the Splash page and eliminate this dilution affect?

Thanks, all.

Chris

2:08 pm on June 27, 2002 (gmt 0)

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ChrisXenon-

Woah- if you've got a well ranking page for your major keywords and your making money then don't change a thing!!

Analyze your site logs and check to see of the people who hit your splash page, how many of them see the page and just leave compared to the number of people who click through? If that ratio is slanted towards people who exit after seeing the splash page, then you probably want to get rid of the splash page-- otherwise get back to work on the next project or enhancement for your site :).

Whatever dilution effect there may be probably isn't affecting you very much if your site ranks #1/#2 as you describe.

Good luck.

2:54 pm on June 27, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Well see - that's another thing.. despite those rankings, our visitor count is at about 400 uniques per day and is in decline. We convert about 1% of sales. 4 sales. We AIN'T making much money!

But nothing I can do seems to have a demonstrable effect on traffic. That's why I advertised for an SEO expert here. I'm admitting defeat :-)

I haven't found anyone to fit the bil yet, so I'm still soldiering on. Having themed the whole site to see no effect whatsoever in the ltest Google index, ripping out the Splash page (sigh) seems to be the next Great Idea.

I've done the Splash analsysis you suggest. Bouncing Visitors is not a problem. The reason I'd rip out the Splash page is to get that "undiluted page rank" which seems to be the thing to have more of these days, though your comments suggest otherwise.

Anyway, thanks fo rthe feedback. Mor eis certainly welcome.

Chris

4:01 am on June 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

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On some sites I do use a splash page, but use it as a "choose your language" page (generally if it's more than two languages).

how can one make the text "language" appear in native tongue? Is it possible to acurately detect language setting? (Google uses IPs to guess doesn't it?) Anything to help rid the problem of listing eight language options on the "splash" page... I'm all for getting away from splash pages.

10:34 am on June 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

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jammy...I use Unicode for the language index...then whatever encoding is appropriate on the individual language pages

the difficulty is going to be when I add additional variation for Japanese and Chinese...I'm hoping to work out a way of dealing with that by content negotiation

12:45 pm on June 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

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On some sites I do use a splash page, but use it as a "choose your language" page

I did something similar for a municipal web site where the visitor was to choose between 3 major categories (I Live Here, I Want to Visit and I Want to Relocate).

4:09 pm on June 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I don't care for "Spash Pages", for all the reasons listed...but I can see where a nice SP can put the customer in a certain mood.

Kinda like when you go into a store, if it's all messed up, then you may not want to shop, but the same store, when everything is very well packed, and your initial walk in is pleasing to the eye, you may want to stay a bit and check it out fully.

If you please the eye, the hands tends to go into the pocket. Retail fact!

Web's different, cause you can't get the same feeling, and a SP is just another click.

Just thinking out loud!

Spinner.

4:34 pm on June 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

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One of the heuristics for store design is that the first meter or two by the door is not for selling -- it's an entry zone that slows people down and gets them psychologically attuned to your shop.

Maybe some websites need a splash page to perform a similar service.

On the other hand, maybe we could take a cue from the warehouse party / rave scene and have beautiful, slow loading, chill-out pages for people who need a break halfway through our sites. :)

4:42 pm on June 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

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>>have beautiful, slow loading, chill-out pages for people who need a break halfway through our sites

I did exactly that on an informational site, entitled the whole section Get Away From It and created online puzzles, a poetry section, a graffiti wall, added things like Othello and a classical music jukebox and it was one of the most popular sections of the site. It generated quite a bit of positive email. One of the most popular pages? An animated waterfall that poetry "appeared" in complete with the sounds of nature. :)

DG

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