The surprising answer: Not as much as you think.
10 years ago, the homepage was king. It was the first page most of your visitors would see, so designers and marketing experts always stress how critical it is to get it just right.
Their advice seems a bit outdated, now that the homepage only gets, on average, 10% of the site’s total visitors. The new slogan? Content is king.
Search engines have become the primary way most users surf the web. People don’t have time navigate through your site to find the information they’re looking for – they want to land directly on the page that provides the content they need. Search engines oblige them, parsing your website for the user’s search terms and giving them the relevant page.
What is more important than the homepage?
Once you’ve received a lot of traffic, you can use analytics software to track which pages they’re landing on the most. When you’re just starting out, though, how do you know which pages to optimize?
Trick question! You need to optimize all of them!
- Display your name and logo on every page
No matter where your user lands, they should be able to easily tell who you are and what you do. Keeping your name and logo at the top of every page ensures that. Many sites will use a header, displayed on every page, with your site/company name and logo in it.
- Every page should be able to get to every other page
There shouldn’t be any dead-ends on your site. Your main navigation links need to be visible on all pages, and visitors shouldn’t have to guess which page links to another page they’re looking for. A persistent navigation bar is an easy way to ensure they won’t get lost. If a user requires a site map to get around, you’ve failed.
- Make your page titles SEO friendly
The title should be a one-sentence summary of the content on that page. Don’t cram in a bunch of keywords to “trick” the search engines – they’re too smart for that, nowadays. Your page title should function as the headline for the content within.
- Use your in-site search wisely
If you’re going to include a search box on your site, make sure it functions in a user-friendly way. If it’s too specific, making users guess which terms they need to use to find the relevant information, they will give up very quickly. On the other hand, if the search is too vague and returns too many irrelevant results, it becomes just as useless to the user. If you use a platform (such as WordPress) that includes the option for a search box, test it out before you commit to having it on your pages.
- Include contact info on every page
If your goal is to get customers to call, email, or place orders, you’ll want them to have access to your contact info from any page on your site. Include your phone number in the site’s header, or put a Contact Us link in the navigation bar, to do this in an unobtrusive way.
- Have a CTA
A call-to-action is the ultimate goal you’re trying to achieve with your site. Whether it’s getting someone to subscribe, contact you, or place an order, you want to remind the user to do so as frequently as possible (without being annoying!). Include your CTA in the body of the page, as well as in the header and/or footer.
- USE BIG HEADLINES
You want a big, bold headline at the top of the page to draw in the user’s attention. If possible, make it the same as the page’s title. Use lots of subheadings as well, so users who are skimming the page can easily find what they’re looking for.
- Optimize your text for web reading
Along with using headlines and subheadings, break up your text into small chunks so that users can easily read it without the letters all running together. Reading text on screens is much different than reading it on a page, so keep that in mind when you’re formatting your content.
- Encourage your visitors to share on social media
Social media is the new word-of-mouth. If you want your website to take off, you need to make sure your users are able to easily share your content. Include social media icons on every blog post, format your pictures to be viewed on Facebook and Instagram, and making “sharing” part of your call-to-action.
Today’s internet user is smarter, busier, and more easily distracted than ever before. A beautifully designed home page is great, but it’s not going to draw in as many new visitors as Google or Bing. Every single page on your site should be designed with the same care as your homepage, because you never know which one will be an important user’s first impression of you.
If you’ve partnered up with a professional, well-informed web designer, you won’t need to worry about optimizing every page on your website, because they’ll do it for you! If that sounds appealing, contact WebJinn.com today 🙂