Why SEO and Marketing Success Relies on Landing Pages Not Your #HomePageDesign
If you’re not into SEO and Marketing, then you probably haven’t thought about the question – “what’s the difference between a landing page and a home page for a website?”.
So let’s go on a daydream journey…
How Landing Pages and the Home Page are Found
Think about something you’re interested in.
If you’ve already done your research, you may even know the name of the business that’s a valuable part of what you’re interested in.
As a place to buy from, as a recognised leader and authority, as an impartial adjudicator, as a dominant brand.
In knowing who the business is, chances are you even know their web address.
So when you type it into your browser and land on the Home page, you have some idea of where you are going.
On the Home page, you’re confronted with all kinds of options: About Us, Contact Us, Services, Shop, Prices, Blog, and maybe a few highlighted News items and Sign-up for Our Newsletter.
This is all okay as a design for the homepage, because you’ve got what you’re looking for – a general overview of what the business is about, with lots of links so you can look deeper.
Now, consider what happens when you’re an eager customer, but don’t know where or who to buy that certain something from.
This time you don’t have a web address handy, so you go to your favourite search engine instead.
Without the name of a business to get your search started, you use words to describe what it is you are looking for.
Having the search engine deliver you to a Home page with all its general overview for the business now is going to be useless and frustrating.
What you really want is to go to a web page that has information about what you are looking for – that might be a product page, a blog post, or a web page with a form, for example.
Pages with highly relevant information to answer your specific search inquiry or question.
These pages are called Landing Pages.
Landing pages are web pages within your website that are intended to receive visitors who have a particular question about something you do or know about.
The way that people find these pages is by using a search engine and possibly sometimes by discovering it in the menu of your website.
Why SEO and Marketing Favour Spending on Landing Pages
From a SEO and Marketing perspective there is serious value in optimising your Landing pages.
Making sure that these are at the top of the search engine results page (SERP), means you get clicks from visitors who are genuinely interested in your special something.
It’s the equivalent of having your Sales people learn how to filter out the “tyre kickers”.
You optimise your Landing pages so that the best matching prospects find them when they search.
Delivering traffic to your Landing pages through paid advertising (such as Google Adwords or Facebook Ads) and social media strategies also makes sense.
Taking visitors directly to a web page that gives them everything they need to know to take action is very valuable for a business.
Similar to self-checkout in supermarkets or express laneways, your Landing pages help people who know exactly what they want to skip anything that would delay them; and get straight on with what they want to do next.
Landing pages are rightly deserving of time, attention, money and optimisation.
In your website, they are the pages that are really doing all the heavy lifting – selling.
Spending a lot of SEO and Marketing effort on your Home page design is challenging proposition then.
There is divided opinion on whether there is value in spending money and resources in getting more people to your Home page if it is just an overview of your business and would confuse an unfamiliar visitor.
The Challenge of Home Page Design
There are lots of different opinions on how to best design your website Home page.
From using it to showcase your business and everything you do, to using it as a navigation and entry point that starts the visitor’s journey to the sections of your website you believe visitors will find most useful.
Now with “mobile ready” and the need for responsive websites, there are even more questions being asked about how to engineer a Home page to be designed with purpose and good utility.
SEO practitioners believe only in the value of the Landing page and increasingly ignore the Home page.
While Marketers understand the ‘brand’ implications of a great Home page design, but spend their budget and efforts on Landing pages too.
Home Page Design Best Practices for 2018
For anyone that doesn’t know what to do about their Home page, here are four “best practices” that have emerged to help you make your Home page work better and harder for you.
Home Page Menu Item
Using the website logo as the link to your Home page is no longer good web design.
With the need for responsive design has come a defacto standard for your website menu/navigation.
Once everything is resized down from Desktop to Mobile a small triple line symbol appears in place of your usual menu.
That means you need to reintroduce a link to your Home page into your menu, so that mobile users can get to it.
Remove The Slider
The “slider” or “slideshow” is a popular way to showcase what a business is about and slows down everything.
Get rid of the “slider” from your Home page, the code it requires to run is slowing down how fast your website loads.
It is cognitively slowing down your visitor who is busy working out what to do next while being distracted by its movement.
It is slowing down the scanning process, so your visitors are not scrolling down the page as far.
The “slider” is probably also the reason why people get frustrated by your Home page – just as they start to read the image is replaced with something new.
Get Company News Off
When designing the Home page to be an overview of your entire business, there’s very limited real estate and it needs to be shared.
The majority of visitors to your website are unlikely to want to read your Company News.
Those that do will be happy to click a couple of links to find it.
Wasting Home page real estate on any content that has limited demand or a highly niched audience is a recipe for disaster.
Prioritise Internal Links
Banner advertising, social media links and anything else that is going to take the visitor off your website have to be considered very carefully on the Home page.
Think about how much effort, money and resources have been invested in getting your brand and business to be well enough known that someone visits your Home page.
It doesn’t make sense that once you got them there that you’d carelessly allow them to click away to somewhere else.
So prioritise links to keep visitors clicking through to other areas and pages of your own website.
Engineering Good Home Page Design
The way you ‘architect’ a website for SEO and gathering useful analytics for Marketing is only one part of engineering a website for success.
As the way we access information on the Web (and virtually) changes, more factors emerge that will influence the success of your website.
Today’s websites need to consider ‘natural language’ search, responsive design and real-time engagement.
The implications of this changing landscape of technology is often far from obvious; unless you are focused and paying attention.
With a team focused on engineering websites for responsive design and real-time engagement, Semantia is a leader in Semantic Traffic Technologies – a methodology for making websites better suited to ‘natural language’ search.
Talk to us about how to increase the success of your website. Call 1300 766 328.