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Straight to homepage or 'splash' & enter?

     
5:05 pm on Jul 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Hi

I am the webmaster of a plain old e-commerce site. The store is quite simple and fairly 'amazon-ish' in look & feel. The company however is brick n clicks, i.e. has a real shop too....

Currently, customers going to our homepage go straight to the departments/products types page where they can easily choose from widget types, new widgets, special offers etc.

Our client wants to put in a splash page with a nice picture of the shop and 'enter store button'. The jpeg I have takes 7 seconds to download @ 56k, broadband is fine. However shop is 'boutique' style so pic looks very charming.

Should I be concerned at this e.g. extra download time/click - will some customers be put off? or will the opposite happen (quaint shop pic?) Any experiences/advice?

5:13 pm on Jul 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Any advice - yes, dont do it. The big players, like Amazon dont do it - its just one more click away from the sale.
5:15 pm on Jul 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member nick_w is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



Yep, that's like getting the deal and just before they sign on the dotted saying: "but do you really want to?" --- Bad, bad bad!

Nick

5:22 pm on Jul 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Put the quaint shop pic somewhere else. Perhaps have a more "quaint" decorating scheme internally, if the client insists. But I find it confuses people if you have a splash page first. What am I doing on this page? This isn't a store. Oh, I have to click to enter. Few people are going to think oh, what a pretty picture. I'd better support a site that generates such fine art.
So why make them think at all? Some of them might think their time is being wasted. As few clicks as possible to take them to the part where they get their wallets out seems the most practical approach to me.
12:27 am on Jul 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I don't think the splash page thing is a good idea at all. I once observed someone in my household go back to a site he'd been to before, and each time he assumed that the flash page was the entire website. It even had a "click here to enter" note on the page! That person had light to moderate internet browser experience which I suspect is typical of a noteworthy percentage of users.

It just doesn't seem like a good idea to risk unnecessary confusion.

12:39 am on Jul 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



It's like when customer enteres the store through one door, and then when he wants to buy something he has to go through another door, which is hard to open.

<offtopic>
Now that I think of it, it actually does happen in big stores, they use two sets of doors. But that's done to preserve the heat in the store IMO.
</offtopic>

12:51 am on Jul 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



I'll add my voice to the "don't do it!" camp.

But I think you can probably placate the client by doing something else on the site.

If it were my client I would explain very carefully and very thoroughly the difference between online shopping and bricks 'n mortar shopping ... and discuss how easy it is to lose someone off the home page if they don't see what they're looking for, fast.

Then I would suggest something similar to what dragonlady7 recommended:

Put the quaint shop pic somewhere else. Perhaps have a more "quaint" decorating scheme internally

Or a really cool "about us" section using the quaint shop pic as a background or a template or a "virtual tour" or something. Something that tells the client, "I understand how important it is for you to have this on your site. and for the purposes of efficient ecommerce, THIS is the correct place to put it."

You are the expert - you're there to guide your client and help them make the right choices. Good luck!

5:32 pm on Jul 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



A splash page works when you have to distinct paths and experiences that fall under a single subject. Think of an event type of website where you have people attending an event and people managing an event. Both groups can be served by one site, but have entirely different needs.

Other than that straight to home.

6:18 pm on Jul 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



I guess I'd agree with all the above.........and add...
Not everyone will be entering through your homepage, if you have done your 'SE' work correctly.
Thus, the idea of controlling those who enter (making them pass by a splash page) is a bit off target, unless you plan to get into complicated diversion tactics. I usually put links to major sections of my site at the top of each page, allowing easy and fast movement from any landing place.
Hawkgirl's ideas, >>'a really cool "about us" section '<<, seems to me an excellent idea. Perhaps from the direction of just showing 'who' the company is and why it is a good idea to do business with them. Bearing in mind the visitors may see this 'about us' after they have purchased, not before.

If your e-commerce section is working efficiently, I can see no need to change things so dramatically. Add to the site? Yes, but without upsetting what may be working well (little tweaks here and there are often good, though).
Just MHO

6:21 pm on Jul 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member jenstar is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



I am joining in on the chorus of "don't do it!"

But if you must do a splashy intro, make sure you have a very clear "click here to enter" TEXT link, so that dial up modem users don't have to wait that 7 seconds for the image to load. If the "click here to enter" is an image button, some dial up users won't wait around long enough to see it.

10:18 pm on Jul 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



If the client ends up demanding the splash screen, I would suggest using a cookie that says whether or not a user has gone throught the splash page. That way you will only make your users suffer through the presentation once instead of everytime they visit.

However, I completely agree about having the pics in the about us section instead. I think establishing the fact the client is originally a brick & mortar w/ a proven track record can help tremendously w/ trust issues.

10:31 pm on Jul 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator rogerd is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



All the above posters are wrong, a splash page would be a great way to show that the site was designed by a true web professional. Ha, ha... just kidding, miammiam. I must agree with everyone else on this.

Along the lines of what Hawkgirl said, there may be very good reasons to include the store photo(s). For one, the client wants it. But they probably do know something about their business, and it could be that their boutique-like environment is an important part of their bricks & mortar success. So, figure out how to accomplish that without adding barriers to purchasing. Tie in the site theme if appropriate. HG's virtual tour idea is great if the store is up to it.

Welcome to WebmasterWorld!

10:43 pm on Jul 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Straight to homepage :) with a navigational map to look at the product i want and even better a BUY button ;)
10:45 pm on Jul 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



I noticed that sites that have a splash page often have the main page with a lower PR. It's probably because most of the backlinks aren't pointing at the main page. I wouldn't want high PR for a page with little content and only one link to another page on the site.
7:41 pm on Jul 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Wow! Many thanks for the advice guys, opinions split right down the middle.......not!

Really appreciate the input. Off to make some tweaks here & there...

miammiam

2:58 am on Jul 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Don't do it.

Take a real brick/mortar store as an example. On a nice day we'd open our door and traffic would go way up (so would heat/AC loss and maybe shoplifting!). Stores in large enclosed malls never have traditional doors, just gates to lock the store at night.

Tent sales are even better. no door or walls, just a canvas top and a few poles!

Likewise we want people to easily enter our ecommerce site thru the main page and thru the walls (interior pages) too.

As a shopper, I run from any commerce site that has a flash intro page. You know the whole process is going to be slow.

8:41 pm on Jul 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Yes, avoid a splash intro in nearly all situations. Your client probably wants to improve sales by showing everyone right away that he has a real physical presence and isn't going away anytime soon, but educate him as to why that all belongs on a nice "About Us" or "Company Info" page....

[edited by: USMerch at 10:07 pm (utc) on July 15, 2003]

8:55 pm on Jul 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



> Off to make some tweaks here & there...

As long as one of the tweaks isn't "adding a 'splash' page!" ;)

But seriously, have you presented this to the client yet? If no, do you feel prepared to do so? If yes, how did it go?

9:04 pm on Jul 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



IMO, splash page equals
Hey, I think this is an awesome intro and me feeling
awesome is way more important than either your time
or your convenience.
Hey, since I'm awesome and so is my intro, why don't
you make me feel even better and buy some ... uh, wow?
where'd you go? darn! why does that keep happening?!?!

gsx

9:51 pm on Jul 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Splash pages ruin a site:

1) Most repeat visitors will not want to see the page (get straight to the content) and will not like a splash page
2) Many new users will come via search engines and will probably get thrown deep into the site, thus missing out the splash page

So the people you want to see this work of art may never see it and those that you don't want to see it, get annoyed by it.

10:14 pm on Jul 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



A lot of business owners are so wrapped up in running their business that they lose track of the fact that the customers come there to find solutions to their needs rather than to be impressed with all the details of the business that the store owner takes pride in.

Being stopped by a splash page as you enter a site is like having a store owner standing in the door and demanding that you admire how wonderful all the work he put into the store is before being allowed into it.

I'm sure he's rightfully proud of his store, and the charming boutique atmosphere is worth capturing in the site in some way. But at the expense of the customers' shopping experience? No way!

10:53 pm on Jul 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



All big sites which are there to make money (ebay, amazon, etc.) don't use splash pages. The reasons are obvious:

1. the page has got no use at all for the visitor.

2. It takes time to load (in which the visitor can get distracted and chose to do something else)

3. the visitor will notice that the site owner puts his self-glorification above the user's needs

4. It takes some effort for the visitor to determine how to enter the site proper, even with "Click here to enter site" link. A lot of sites do not even have this kind of link - I have seen lots of sites with only a graphic on the splash page, leaving the visitor to figure out that he needs to click on the graphic to access the site. In some cases the link was not even the main graphic but another graphic with the company logo...

5. the splash page typically has little or no text with keywords relevant to the site's subject, making it invisible to search engines

6. as incoming links typically go to the main URL (that of the splas page) link poularity of the "real" pages of the site suffers

7. The splash page may lead to broken incoming links: Other sites/directories may decide to link not to the splash page, but to the "real" home page. I have done this myself in quite a few cases where the link to the rest of the site was so well hidden that a lot of visitors could be expected not to find it. When this is the case, and the URLs of the site are restructured external links will get broken.

Conclusion: 'splash' pages should be renamed to 'Admire me. Go away' pages.

 

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