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How many links should a company’s home page have?

If you’re trying to guide website visitors through your site, and get them to take actions at the end, the need for simplicity should be obvious. I’d have hoped that ‘mobile first’ design might have encouraged this, but I think many pages are as overwhelming for users as ever, especially on business websites.

How many links do you think a company’s website home page should have? I’d have thought half a dozen options should be plenty. “Here’s what we can offer you”, select which one interests you, and let’s go. I’d bet your site contains a lot more than this. Most of my sites do.

I reckoned our business site’s home page had 10 links (we’ve always tried to keep it simple). When I had a look, I counted 12. Then I checked using one of the simple online SEO tools, like this, and discovered it was 18.

Have a go yourself. Guess, without looking, how many links there are on your home page.

Now have a look at the page, and revise your estimate (I’d bet it’s upwards!).

Now find out what it really is.

If it’s a lot, ask yourself if your customers really need that much choice. Could they be missing some important stuff, because it’s hidden amongst clutter?

There are plenty of business home pages with 50 or 100 links on them. Imagine all of those links in a list. Indeed, if you generated a list above, try putting it in a document and consider what you’re expecting visitors to look through.

It’s worse than that. We’re all very good at scanning lists. But your designer will have scattered those links around the page, in different sizes and fonts, some hidden behind menus, others as icons. It’s like the site is deliberately trying to hide stuff! I’d bet your website designer could strip out a lot of unnecessary junk in 20 minutes (a Twitter logo right at the top of the page? Really? What are we all thinking?).

I suppose we need to ask: “Is the link what the visitor came to the site for?”, and if not, “Is it going to help make a sale?”. If neither, then what’s it doing there?