Combatting the death of the homepage

It's something that's been rumoured for a while, it's becoming increasingly difficult to ignore, and it has big implications for page design... It's the dreaded death of the homepage.

Homepage traffic is decreasing and it's a trend that's affecting websites across all sectors. Yep, users are increasingly getting their content fix by bypassing our beloved homepages completely -- how rude!

Thinking about it rationally, this trend mirrors how we're all using the internet these days. We no longer research passively; we have a very specific goal, keyword or product in mind and we use increasingly sophisticated and powerful search tools to find them -- in fact, we get web rage if we aren't taken to what we need directly and instantly.

But what can we do to try and accommodate these changing browsing habits and ultimately keep users on-side?

How to build more effective inner landing pages

Increasingly, a website's inner landing pages (pages deeper than the homepage) are the first point of contact a user will have with your brand, and the likelihood is that they'll form a snap judgement on the quality and credibility of your brand based on this initial engagement. This means these pages now have to work much harder to tell the story of the brand and encourage users to continue to engage with deeper related content.

To help with this, inner landing pages need to have great global navigation systems that work on all devices so users can easily discover other content, and ideally written content should be concise and easily digestible when accessed via mobile.

In addition, there are five more practical things you need to focus on to ensure your inner landing pages deliver for the user and for your brand.

Create better inner landing pages in 5 steps

1. Substantiate your brand

Utilise a page component to substantiate your brand around your key USPs and differentiators, and talk about the unique things about your brand i.e. heritage, great service, great clients you work for.

2. Build trust

Before you can effectively persuade users to engage and convert its essential you establish a degree of trust and credibility.

Make sure you use some sort of social proof (for example, show information about social shares, or testimonials and endorsements where applicable) to highlight how engaged your users are and showcase the positive things they are saying about you.

3. Provide enticing and relevant onward journeys

As well as developing great content, make sure you also provide relevant and enticing onward journeys to further content. Tail your content with links to related articles or products and where applicable Include 'in-content' links to deeper related content too.

4. Include easy-to-find contact information

Inevitably your landing page isn't going to answer all the questions or requirements your user may have.

A really vital piece of persuasion design in alleviating frustration involves harnessing a technique called 'Autonomy' -- in simple terms, allowing the user control over how they interact with your brand.

Make is really easy for them to contact you by displaying telephone numbers and showing prominent links to other contact mechanisms. Also try and put a face to the brand if possible so the users can expect help from a real human.

5. Enable your users to sign up for push content

Great content these days tends to find you rather than you finding it as our increased used of social as content discovery engines means users might well bypass our beautifully crafted websites altogether.

Content is increasingly push and less pull in terms of regular brand engagement. If you have managed to attract users to your landing pages, don't miss an opportunity to sign them up to push content -- showcase functionality that allows them to sign up for alerts, feeds or follow on relevant social channels.


Digital trend predictions for 2015