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 ... you're losing a ... number
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. After implementing these changes we saw a 200% - 300% increase in our internal traffic.
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 it's 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 page views.
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 insist that the visitor joins 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 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.
To summarize; make sure that you have a very appealing and professional look to your page that is consistent throughout the site, use high impact, value oriented words in your copy, reduce the number of outgoing links and increase the number of internal site links. And most important of all... create a work of art that you are proud of, but not afraid to improve upon (change)