Bye Bye, Homepage. Hello, Homepages.
Your homepage: the shining beacon of your brand at the front of your largest store. It’s the gilded front door of a website and all too often just a click away from the world’s dullest landing page, made just for conversion and completely looking the part.
There are reasons for this and no doubt they made sense at one time.
First, the traditional site map is a tree-like structure that hinges on the homepage as a nexus of navigation, a place to introduce the brand, and a platform for calls to action. The homepage, then, tends to be a well-crafted balance of brand and conversion because, in a site map view of navigation, it is the traffic hub that funnels people to a conversion page. And those pages are all conversion: stripped down, information heavy, with a big call to action. This should sound familiar. It’s the default architecture for websites.
But what if most people don’t care about the homepage?
Second, the purchase funnel, a classic marketing framework that assumes consumers shop and buy following a step-by-step approach of awareness, consideration and conversion, reinforces this structure. Pages are assigned to sections of the purchase funnel and designed to fit the needs of a linear shopper. The result is that the homepage with a beautiful brand expression and thoughtful navigation to next steps while the production page, being conversion after all, is all specs and selling.
But what if people don’t shop linearly like a robot?
We find that those hypotheticals are broadly true.
Search is replacing the homepage as the place that people go for information. It’s the first stop for users and, thus, in many ways is a replacement for initial website navigation.
Shopping is a multi-visit, back-and-forth process that ignores the standard stages of a conventional purchase funnel construct.
So, is the homepage dead?
Consumer action is easier to motivate when there is love for the brand and, equally, brand love is increased when people are doing things with the brand (and especially buying and using the brand’s product).
Within that framework, every page must do both.
People can drop into any page on the site thanks to search, so every page needs to do what the traditional homepage used to do: act as a nexus of navigation, a place to introduce the brand, and as an action driver.
People can drop into any page on the site anywhere in the purchase process, so every page has to work to move people forward as they shop, delivering brand love and business results together.
People use the Internet and shop their own way, forcing marketers to react. The answer is simple, but radical: every page is now the homepage.
See how we made every page a homepage for Three Rivers Park District.