A few years ago, the website homepage was officially declared ‘dead’ by several media outlets following an innovation report published by the New York Times. Articles published by Quartz and The Atlantic were the first in a series of epitaphs citing the Times report, obtained in full by Mashable. According to the report, there had been nearly a 50 percent drop in homepage traffic in the span of two years.
Alleged cause of death? The rapid decline was due in large part to the expansion of social media sharing. Indirect ‘side doors’ through sites like Facebook and Twitter allowed visitors to bypass the homepage by clicking on articles shared to social media. However, despite the drop in homepage visitors, the Times found they had not experienced a decrease in page views.
What was the big deal then? If the number of visitors to the site remained the same, why should it matter how readers find the articles? While page views remained steady, the innovation report revealed that time spent on the website fell by roughly 18 percent.
Today, the ‘death of the homepage’ scare has passed. Yes, homepage traffic continues to decline for news sites as more people share content on social media. However, instead of fighting the trends, companies are becoming better at adapting to shifting media consumption. For example, when Facebook overtook Google as a traffic source for news, publications saw alternative opportunities for strategies such as viral marketing, audience development and influencer partnership.
At Silverline, we work with our clients to refresh or overhaul their websites in order to deliver real results. Our team understands the power of a great first impression; with our clients, we prioritize updating the homepage before any other page on the site. The homepage truly is a crucial gateway to any organization’s business for potential customers, partners, influencers and the media.
So what’s our counsel? Since you know we have some! While you’re exploring other options to keep web traffic high, don’t make the mistake of omitting a homepage strategy. Even a simple strategy can make a big difference.
Take the time to refresh any outdated information or rhetoric on your company’s page. Additionally, make sure your homepage is consistent with your company’s branding. Use high-quality photos and dynamic graphics to keep visitors engaged. And don’t forget to link your business’s social media channels! Implementing just a few simple changes will definitely give your homepage a new lease on life. If you’re still not quite sure where to start, give Silverline a call!