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How social media and search engines affect homepage traffic

How social media and search engines affect homepage traffic

The homepage was once considered the single most important page on a website. At that time, homepage traffic far outranked all other pages, so everything about the brand was stuffed there. Blog posts, news announcements, image sliders, even social media feeds, were often all jammed onto the homepage.

It’s easy to forget how new websites are to the marketplace. We started our business in 2003 and at that time most business didn’t have websites. In fact, WordPress itself was launched the same year we started our business. Over those nearly two decades, many of the rules and best practices we followed have been turned upside down.

The software we use to build websites, the systems for search, the hardware for viewing, and even the technology that sends the signal from the server to the user have completely changed. Even something as fundamental as the homepage has changed.

Why all site visitors don’t enter through the homepage

Over time, side doors have developed that have changed the way people find websites. Search engines and social media often send the site visitor to interior pages rather than the homepage. This change is important to keep in mind whether you’re developing a new website or optimizing an existing one.

While the homepage is still going to be one of the highest trafficked pages, many site visitors will enter from another page. Let’s take this website for example. A mere 5% of Trevellyan.biz site visitors enter our site from the homepage. This is because our blog drives much of our traffic. Users search for content contained in the blog, search engines match their request with our blog content, and the user ends up on a blog page rather than the homepage.

What this means for internal page design

In the past, the homepage served as the sole introduction to the company. Designers used a combination of branding graphics and content to convey who the company was, where they were located, and what services they offered. Knowing that all traffic would flow through the homepage meant the interior pages could contain less general information.

With more visitors entering from pages other than the homepage, some elements now need to be present on every page. If the visitor doesn’t immediately understand the fundamental purpose of the website when they land on it, they are likely to click away. Like a homepage, interior page design needs to be clean yet interesting, informative yet concise.

Treat every page like a landing page

Site visitors will enter your site from a variety of sources. While each page should have a singular focus, it also needs a clear call to action and an easy way to access contact information.

If you need help updating the content and design of your interior web pages to meet the needs of today’s web users, contact us. Alternatively you can visit the pages on our website that explain all our website design and development services in more detail.

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