We all know that first impressions are very important. A websites home page (also called its index page), is often its most important page. Of all of the pages in the site, the home page has the biggest job to do. In many cases, if the home page fails… so does the website. And when we’re talking about a retail or brochure site, this can be a disastrous failure.
It is important to remember that a site’s home page has a specific purpose. What makes this a rather tricky fact is the reality that this page’s specific purpose is not necessarily the same as the rest of the website’s purpose. In other words, if the site’s purpose is to sell products, the purpose of the home page may not be directly involved with selling.
In a very general sense, the purpose of a site’s home page is to convince visitors that they should venture further into the site – and compel them to do so.
In order to do that the page must engage in advisable psychology (through design and copy) while avoiding distracting and irrelevant purposes that run counter to the primary function of the page. The home page must not attempt to dump the entire site’s content into the viewer’s eyes in one fell swoop, (the importance of white space). Rather, the page must make a concise and clean first impression; an impression focused on a specific rather than all-encompassing purpose.
It is also important to remember that good navigation provides suggestion for site visitors to continue further into the site. Combine the two, a well formed home page and clear easy to use navigation and you have a recipe for success.