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Is it time to rethink the digital experience and get rid of home pages?

August 15, 2011

A website should do one of three things:

  1. Increase sales.
  2. Decrease costs (you can pay online!)
  3. Create consumer loyalty.

 That’s pretty much it.

The first two are rather straight forward. If a brand sells something, a website is a good place to sell more of it. A website can also cut down on calls to the company, or mailings (a website can deliver documentation). And while that adds value to the organization, it can also save the consumer time.

The third bullet is the hard one.

Social media and the non-selling parts of the website often don’t add value. In fact, the bounce rates is over 50%, one can argue that brand websites are doing the opposite of adding value.

That’s where a radical change in thinking might help. Here it is:

Think of every page in your digital strategy as a home page.

When we first started doing websites, we wanted to take people through a journey from a fancy home page, to the product, service, or thing they needed. Google doesn’t want to do that. When a consumer types something in search, Google wants to take them to the thing they seek. Not a fancy story about the thing that demands another click.

So every page is a home page. Including social media sites.

Google will deliver a LinkedIn page. Or a Facebook page. Or the YouTube channel in search results depending on the search term. It might deliver a Wikipedia page.

That means marketers MUST think about the route people will take to pages. They must ignore the ‘home page’ and think about the web experience.  There was a time where we thought it was important for the website to be coherent and all part of the same family.

No more.

If a brand sells to consumers and businesses, why have the same URL for both? Why not a business.brand.com and a consumer.brand.com site? Google would rather send the right person to the right page with one click.

If every page is a doorway into the brand, we will no longer think about linear journeys for people. Google wants to give people information they need when it is needed.

It is time to streamline the customer journeys and stop making home pages. Especially on mobile phones.

What do you think? Are you still doing home pages?

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