When you think of what you need to get a website up and running, what is the first thing you think? Once you have content and put all the neat sharing tools you want on your site, your main focus has to be your homepage. Optimizing your home page is one of the most important things you can do, but doing it RIGHT is imperative. As they say, anything worth doing is worth doing right. In this case, if you do it wrong, you may as well not be doing it all.
The problem with the web is there are very few websites that are doing optimization really right that you can look o for guidance. There are plenty of websites out there that are really quite pathetic in terms of optimization and content – aggregate sites with no quality control like helium are the worst. It’s why they have laughable PageRank with a million or more pieces of content or have gone under entirely. Google, alomg with unskilled mommy bloggers, killed them off and made them a lesson in “how not to do it.” Learn from their mistakes.
It doesn’t take an SEO expert to tell when someone has slapped together a homepage for their website without a clue as to what they were doing. You’ve seen them before. It’s just becomes a pile of crud that takes up space and fails to point you anywhere of relevance. You end up with off topic content, lousy graphics, crazy color schemes and font sizes that look like they were put together by a schizophrenic shifting personalities, absurd “expert garbage” and the whole thing gives no clue as to what the website is for or what you should do next.
When an entire homepage is filled with blocks of graphics and images and a heavy Flash header that takes over 60 seconds to download, people get bored and skip away. There is a website for a women’s breast health organization we saw recently that didn’t even mention what they do or what the site actually had to offer. It just had pictures with partially working hyperlinks. This never works.
When a site features pictures of some weird French woman or employee no one cares about rather than actual content, people leave. What reason do they have to stay unless it is to poke around and see how bad the site actually is so they can make jokes about it later? If there is no valuable, irresistible content, why would anyone think it is worth exploring further than the homepage?
When a site promotes content that turns out to be little more than page filler, people leave. There is a difference between content and GOOD content. Anyone can produce content, but good content is valuable because not everyone is capable of creating that. When people visit a site, they want to know right away if your site has the goods, and a bunch of pretty pictures is not going to do it for them. What you need is strong text that immediately captures their attention and lets them know they have come to the right place – not a stupid kitschy headline and half a sentence text bite that tells a visitor nothing.