When your website means business.

«Return to Blog List Part 6, Why Bad Websites Happen to Good Companies: Too Much Stuff on the Home Page

You’ve seen those homepages with 3 product lead-ins and 2 giveaways and NEW!!! special pricing and the latest news and a billboard about what the company stands for and the mission statement and a picture of the CEO and an announcement about the company picnic and a picture of the dog by the sales manager’s daughter (no wait, that’s the refrigerator door) and a newsletter signup and a see-us-at-the-tradeshow blurb and a call to action to download a whitepaper and a partridge in a pear tree, all thrown up there in an ad hoc manner.

You’ve seen those right? And about half of the items have a “look at me” graphic or heading shouting for your attention? How long did you read through all that stuff to see if there was something you wanted to click on to find out more? Zero seconds would be the most common answer. Overwhelming amounts of information on a homepage, especially when all or most of it is competing for attention, drives visitors away.

So why do we see homepages like that? When I’ve had an opportunity to see what’s behind those situations, it almost always turns out to be a combination of two things. One, there is no real vision or strategy about the role the website should play. And two, whoever is responsible for the website (IT, marketing, whoever) has a “weak sister” status within the company, for whatever reason, which undermines their ability to do anything about thing number one. This creates a situation in which all the divisions or departments in the company (sales, HR, engineering, marketing communications, etc.) insist on getting their stuff placed in a Very Important Place on the website. Lack of a plan or policy creates a “vacuum” which sucks all that information onto the homepage.

See, it’s really just physics. And lack of priorities that comes with not having a strategy.

So, how many things should be on a company website homepage? It’s not really about the number. What it’s about is having items on the homepage that support the website strategy. And nothing else.

Get a strategy, get strong support for the strategy from the CEO/President, and the “how many” question (and the “can you put this on the homepage” questions) will go away.

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