Home :: Feed.Us Blog :: The death of the homepage
Your homepage used to be the first page that everyone visited on your site. There was no other way to find your stories (aka the "permalink"). Those headlines and teasers were the only way a reader might figure out what link they wanted to click. But now...
Your homepage's importance is dying.
Google started this trend. A search in Google "deep linked" to the specific story on your site. Vistors never saw that homepage you spent so much time on.
Then RSS feed readers helped reduce the homepage's power. Your best readers suddenly bypassed the homepage and visited the full story directly.
Social media has only accelerated this trend. Readers get their links from their "friends" on Twitter and Facebook and don't have to bother with your homepage.
Look at your stats - I just looked at one of our sites's stats. Last month the homepage was the fifth most visited page and has a third of the traffic as the top four stories.
I suggested this trend to Nick Aster, the original designer of Gawker and TreeHugger and now the publisher of TriplePundit.com.
"Yes, the article page is the new front page," said Nick. "The front page of a website will always be important, especially for your regular readers. But, especially on news style websites, the majority of readers, and the vast majority of new readers, will arrive at an inside page first. They may in fact never see your front page. So your inside pages need to be designed as if they were the first things people see - including any key calls to action."
Luke Beatty, founder of AssociatedContent.com, agrees: "homepages are for portals almost exclusively nowadays. The homepage has been made obsolete by the link economy and search. "
What this means to publishers
It means your should pay more attention to those story pages. This is probably the first and only page people see on your site. Do you treat it that way? No.
The last redesign... did you work on the story page first and then worry about the homepage? No one does this. Publishers need to focus on the story page.
Advertising - this is your money page. Advertisers probably don't realize that they should want to advertise along the full story and not on the homepage. The savvy ones realize this now and more will in the future.
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