I saw the comment above on Twitter the other day. It certainly made me think. In particular, it made me think about how well websites explain what they do, to people who arrive several levels down. If you’re the Blue Widget Company, and your biggest selling point is 24 hour delivery, I’d bet that your home page has ’24 hour delivery’ all over it. But do your visitors get that message if they arrive on a product page?
Maybe you’re not a brand name in your market sector. You might have to get some critical information over, very quickly, to first-time visitors. Are you leaving this message to the home page, or (worse) the ‘about us’ page?
We can see how many visitors spend time on a site but never visit the home page. Here’s some data from one of our clients, an industrial component supplier, which is putting in plenty of effort to get new visitors straight to its product pages. The result is that the home page is only the third most viewed on its website. If we look at the number of visits which take in more than one page (i.e. fairly well engaged ones), we see that they represent more than 60% of all visits, which is impressive. But how many of those multi-page visits don’t take in the home page? Incredibly, it’s more than half:
So, more than 1 in 3 visits to the website look at more than one page, but don’t see the home page. If crucial messages are left there, they don’t get seen by the visitor. They need to be repeated on every relevant page. A site-wide web page header’s importance cannot be underestimated.