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Home Page Dilemma

6:05 am on Oct 26, 2001 (gmt 0)

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Let's hear some creative ideas on what to do with home pages. Home pages are tough, as any particular content needs to be on a subpage - people do not want specifc information on the home page. Soooo, what ideas have people come up with? Besides the company name, logo, and slogan, what have people come up with?

Goals should be:
1) Draw user to stay and look around
2) Build user's trust and respect of company
3) Encourage user to buy
4) Be graphically appealing
5) Be fun

... all without saying anything!


6:24 am on Oct 26, 2001 (gmt 0)

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No ideas here, I think you got it all. But Franklin, you come up with the greatest questions - I'm so glad you found us! :)

Related dilemma - what do we do with that home page when the site interior pages will cover specific, targeted, less competitive keywords, and what the home page really should be geared to, to be accurate, is a killer-competitive keyword that'll be a really tough nut to crack.

Do we optimize it for the competitive word or phrase anyway and hope for the best, or compromise and optimize it for a lesser evil even though it won't be the most important or accurate keyword or phrase?

That home page is always the hardest to come up with content for. Use the main keyword to determine the content, use all the most important keywords, or forget that part of it and just write with conversion in mind.

It's probably the very hardest page of any site to do.

6:59 am on Oct 26, 2001 (gmt 0)

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Marcia - awwh, shucks, it's always nice to be appreciated :-) .

No ideas here, I think you got it all.
Well, I wrote the *goals* - but I didn't write how to do it. I don't think there is a one size fits all for this. But, I think we would all gain by hearing specific examples that some people came up with. After seeing a lot of good ideas, the cereberal juices will be flowing in the right direction, and it will be so much easier to come up with good ideas for new cases.

So, let me clarify the scope: Let's assume that we can all agre on (basically) the goals I listed. Would anyone like to volunteer an example of what they did on their home page, and why they did it?

Mentioning good elements of other people's home pages would be appreciated as well. . .
too bad you can't do a google search for "good home pages"

7:14 am on Oct 26, 2001 (gmt 0)

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Also have appreciated your questions, and particularly the replys.

Summarizing what is on the site, with some detail, has usually been my approach - rather than relying on navigation, which usually is rather brief. A summary can also capture keywords of interior pages.

I find it more difficult in practice, than in theory.

7:29 am on Oct 26, 2001 (gmt 0)

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I agree -- a summary.

Not so much for the keyword clout, although it certainly can help, but as a courtesy to every visitor. It saves bandwidth all around for the mistaken visitor, and creates a magnet into the site for the target audience.

11:10 am on Nov 18, 2001 (gmt 0)

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What has worked well for me has been to paraphrase other important sections of my website content, ending with the link "read more." This has not only increased my page relavency, but has helped the site do extremely well in the Search Engines, especially those who only list the index page, by introducing a wider base of Key Words.

Of course this approach is topic specific and would not be appropriate for many motifs.

1:58 pm on Nov 18, 2001 (gmt 0)

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Frank-- you want a copywriting secret?

Write your Home page LAST.

Summerize, put your USP first, benefits, benefits, BENEFITS.

Testimonials on your Home page too.

Then re-state your USP at your close.

Include your Name, Email and Phone Number.

(The USP is your Unique Selling Proposition. What sets you a part from your competition.

Dominos - "Fresh hot pizza in 30 minutes-guaranteed."

Rolaids - "How do you spell relief?"

8:53 pm on Nov 19, 2001 (gmt 0)

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WebChicken - good points ( I know what you read... ) ;)


You have many types of home pages but the main things it needs to do is fit the site and lead you into the purpose of your site. The home page of this site basically leads you into the forum. In contrast, an ecommerce site will be something completely different full of ads and special offers. Look at the difference in IBM [ibm.com] and GOOGLE [google.com], one leads you straight into a sales pitch, while the other leads your into the service.

Your home page, basically, is a big ad for your business. If you had the entire front page of the New York Times for your ad, this might make a good home page...

Always bear these facts in mind. People are hurried. The average person worth cultivating has too much to read. They skip three fourths of the reading matter which they pay to get. They are not going to read your business talk unless you make it worth their while and let the headline show it.

People will not be bored in print. They may listen politely at a dinner table to boasts and personalities, life history, etc. But in print they choose their own companions, their own subjects. They want to be amused or benefited.

They want economy, beauty, labor saving, good things to eat and wear. There may be products which interest them more than anything else in the magazine. But they will never know it unless the headline or picture tells them.

snip from Chapter 7
Claude Hopkins - Scientific Advertising
(1920's but still one of the best books)

(edited by: NFFC at 8:54 pm (gmt) on Nov. 19, 2001)

9:52 pm on Nov 19, 2001 (gmt 0)

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One thing that I believe particularly cool is when a homepage has a brief "mission statement" similar to WebChicken's idea. Instead of a slogan, I believe it works best when it sums up what you can do at that site.

Ex: Your Online Source for WebChicken information.
Ex: Buy WebChickens at discount prices.

hope you don't mind WebChicken, I like your nick!

When prominently displayed in the top 1/3 of the page, these statements are powerful. Instantly the user knows what your site is about and if it is what they are looking for. I really appreciate a site that tells me what it is about, instantly.

Check your stickymail at the top of the screen, I am sending you a site example of this as well as a site that lists cool homepages.

3:14 am on Nov 20, 2001 (gmt 0)

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Who, what, where, why, how, and when.

They don't all need to be given equal weight in every instance, but they should guide you in developing the abstract or summary, which, as stated, can be arrived at only after your site is done. Keywords will generate naturally in what will be the content of your home page.

I also think it best to give your users' intelligence the benefit of the doubt and cut back on cant, polemics, and tired cliches.

Just bear in the mind the basics of written abstracts.

That and a few photos of good lookin' office workers enjoying their superior taste in hair products oughta' do it.