USGBC Studio: Don’t just add it to the homepage

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USGBC Studio: Don’t just add it to the homepage

As someone who has worked on a number of websites over the years, I’ve run into the same problem everywhere—the request to add any important information to the homepage. However, the notion that every piece of major content needs to be added to the homepage isn’t the greatest. Why?

The content will be ignored. Within any organization, every department has content that is valued and deserves high visibility. Often, there’s an urge to stick this information on the web page with the highest amount of traffic, the homepage. But just because the homepage gets a lot of traffic, that doesn’t necessarily mean users will read everything on that page, especially if there’s too much content there. Which leads us to the next problem:

There’s too much text. If your solution for every request to highlight content is to place it on the homepage, you will be left with far too much information. Too much text means your users won’t know which information to focus on, and as a result, they will likely ignore most of it.

You need timely content. Use the homepage as a place to host timely content that constantly changes. That way, your users have a reason to keep returning to that page. If you’re only displaying static content there, chances are it will rarely get updated. Thus, your users will begin to ignore that page altogether. They will simply access the homepage so they can navigate elsewhere.

So how will users see any of the important content? If adding it to the homepage is a bad idea, what should you do instead?

Target users with direct marketing. You can reach users who need to access specific information by creating tailored pages that are easy to find when conducting searches on external search engines, as well as your site’s search field. Also, using direct marketing to send out targeted emails with links will ensure that the right users are seeing the information they need to find.

Use strategy with the way you craft and market information. Otherwise, it is all too easy for text to get lost in the web. The phrase “build it and they will come” is not relevant when there is so much that has already been built. Think along the lines of “build it for a specific audience, and then target that audience directly.” Then that targeted audience will come, and they will be more engaged with your content than someone who has accidentally stumbled onto the page.

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