|It's easy, just design and engineer your main page in such a fashion
that people will click beyond it into the rest of your site. If you
are like a lot of webmasters, you're losing a significant number of
visitors as soon as they get to your front door.
|The "main page" on any site is the doorway to the rest of the content
of that particular site. But, the BIG question is....will the door
open? Will the visitor turn the knob and push through the main page
to see what's really in there?
|We faced this situation recently. We had what was a very pretty web
page. That's not just our opinion; many visitors commented very
positively on the look of the main page. Some even went as far as to
copy the design completely and place it on their own page (but
that's another story). The problem was that a good percentage of the
visitors never went beyond the main page. Something had to be done,
and done fast.
|Following is what we did to dramatically change the click through
rate on our site pages.
|1) Tighten up on the load time.
|The graphics files got reduced and used more efficiently. Some of
the nonessential copy got turfed too. We also took out virtually
all outside links from the main page. The result is a sleeker looking
page that is more efficient in delivering the message about the rest
of the site.
|2) Ease of Navigation.
|All the main category pages are clearly listed on the sidebar. Each
category page is a site unto itself with its own navigation features
and the links to all the other site categories are still listed on
the sidebar. This repeated but tasteful use of the same links and
graphics on every page greatly increases the load time on subsequent
|3) High Value Perception.
|The top 4 links at our site judiciously use the words; Traffic,
Free, & Special. These words are proven to draw interest and attract
attention. The second part of this though is to actually deliver the
value. Nothing will turn people off faster than a phony. If you
promise a FREE Report, then you'd better deliver it. This leads us
to another point.
|Just because you are offering something for free (no money), it
doesn't mean that you can't ask for something in return--like their
email address. This is how some very successful ezines build their
lists. They offer something that is valuable for FREE, but ask the
visitor to join their opt-in list. This really is a win-win situation
for the visitor, because they can unsubscribe two minutes later (if
they really want to), but by staying on the list they will likely be
exposed to more information that is of interest to them. The theory
is that if they are interested in the FREE site information, they will
absolutely love the even more current material in the ezine.
|4) Internal Banner Exchanger
|This tool was an afterthought that has paid huge dividends. We all
know that Banners and Banner Exchangers are quickly losing their
effectiveness, yet a large part of the advertising on the Internet
still revolves around them. So we thought 'why not use them in a way
that keeps the traffic within the site, but allows us to test various
banners?' If we discover that one particular banner design or word
arrangement is working especially well, then perhaps some funds can be
devoted to using it on outside sites.
|The banners also reinforced the image of the pages that they were
aimed at without losing one single click through.
|There are of course many other considerations for designing your main
page. These are just the ones that were most pertinent to us.