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Thread: Homepages?

  1. #1
    Junior Member bungalistic's Avatar
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    Wasn't sure where to post this so I figured here would be it. Wanted your ideas and feedback on how to layout or show off home pages, (the index page that is)
    I've always prefered some information/text of some sort on the home page about the site or news or something similar, I client i'm designing for has asked for just an image and basically the title.
    I'll happily do that if they want that but was wondering on your thoughts, do you like an Enter page (as thats more or less all it is) or do you prefer to have some text/info as soon as you enter sites?

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  3. #2
    Senior Member solidgold's Avatar
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    i usually open onto a new page, in the same layout of the rest of the site, but featuring news, it stops the visitors from having to search around for a while looking for updates.
    if i had to have an external(ish) opening page to a website (also known as a splash screen) i'd have something like the one at http://www.bwoup.com/ because its a little interesting!

  4. #3
    Junior Member EngAdven's Avatar
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    Entry pages are the best way to stop visitors entering the site so if that's what they want it for, carry on. I think I read somewhere that something like 25% of people just give up at Flash entry pages although I'd guess it was more like 50%.
    Worse than that the home page is the most important for search engines and without lots of nicely sturctured content you'll never generate much traffic.

  5. #4
    Senior Member planetgman's Avatar
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    I second that EngAdven.
    SEO is important if the customer ever wants the site to go anywhere.

    Part of a job as a designer/developer is to educate the customer on what their site needs to be successful.
    Talking to them about an index page that is just an image is probably not the best course of action if they are looking to get their site listed.

    On the other hand if they just want a site to have a site, then go for it.

    Good luck........
    GMan

  6. #5
    Senior Member Steax's Avatar
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    There are 3 goals of homepages:
    1. A visitor knows what the site is about in 3 seconds.
    2. A visitor knows what good content the site has.
    3. A visitor knows what new content is available.

    The first is designed to attract newcomers - no matter how catchy your web design site is, if you don't say explicitly that you are a web design company, then you won't get many customers. Make no assumptions - 50-year old carpenters don't know that "Fabulous Web Development" can give them a web presence. Usually for this you want it in your banner (WDF doesn't need one because it's subject is the same as its name) and possibly a short paragraph for unregistered users (if you have a login system, so that users who know aren't bugged). A link to an article about you is also very helpful - I've seen web design sites with only technical and sales info along with a portfolio. Nothing about themselves or how they work. WDF has one.

    The second is for those who're interested in your subject. Again, you must make no assumptions. A lot of people may have seen cooler sites on the same subject, so they need to know what sets you apart. A game, a product, a community - anything. Make it nice and clear and make it shout "quality". WDF doesn't really need this point, because it has "forums" in its name which basically shouts out (really loud) that it's a community site. People who don't see what's great about your site won't linger around long. This second point includes dead links and "under construction" pages - they show that your content isn't complete so they might just think "I'll come back later" and forget.

    The third is for returning visitors. They want to know what's changed and what's new. This is why many sites have news on their front page - not only is it logical, but people know what's new. A lot of sites miss the second point and do the third, which isn't good - I've seen sites that have only an vague banner, menu, and news - none tell me exactly what the site is about. This one is important so that visitors know that this site is active and where everything new is. If the site looks static all the time, people will be wondering if you've changed - no matter how much new content you put in the sub-pages, you'll get few viewers - at least 50% will leave, thinking the site is dead, a 25% are lazy to look (could be more if your content isn't top-quality), 20% look but get bored in the middle, and 5% actually get to your content.
    Note on code: If I give code, please note that it is simply sample code to demonstrate an effect. It is not meant to be used as-is; that is the programmer's job. I am not responsible to give you support or be held liable for anything that happens when using my code.

  7. #6
    Senior Member solidgold's Avatar
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    as i have the news page on the index often i include a seperate section of the page dedicated to what the site is about (as steax touched on) with a further link to more information about the company/person.
    this seems to give people not only an instant awareness of updates on return, but also direct information about the whole site - minimising confusion.

  8. #7
    Senior Member Steax's Avatar
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    This is also where ads come in. They themselves don't damage your site much (aside from wrecking your color scheme), but they take up very valuable space on your homepage. They take away your chance of showing as much as possible there. The first screen (the content visible without scrolling) on the first page is crucial for the entire site. All 3 points I mentioned must be fulfilled here. All visitors who end up in your front page will see this before they can do anything, even close your site. So this is your one chance to show what you've got before that close button is pressed. Make good use of this precious area.
    Note on code: If I give code, please note that it is simply sample code to demonstrate an effect. It is not meant to be used as-is; that is the programmer's job. I am not responsible to give you support or be held liable for anything that happens when using my code.


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