In  the homepage was once a valued, integral website asset – the gateway to a company’s brand and a driver of customer engagement. It was so important, there used to be employees whose sole job was to manage a brand’s homepage.

Then came search and social.

For the past 10 years, the way content gets discovered has evolved dramatically. The rise of Google, and then social media, has created entirely new paths for website visitors to find content without ever navigating to a brand’s homepage.

In 2014, leaked data from The New York Times showed a plunge in its homepage visitorsinstigating the now commonly accepted belief that this digital real estate has lost its value.

Based on internal customer data, just five percent of website visitors enter through the homepage. The other 95 percent are “side-door traffic” visitors, who land on a company’s website via search or social media postings that direct users to a specific page. As a result, marketers are rightfully focusing IronFX their efforts on those channels, but should be wary of ignoring the homepage for their Web or mobile experiences. In many ways, the homepage is like the preferred customer experience found at hotel chains. While those customers make up a small percentage of the overall audience, it’s an extremely valuable segment.

Here are three reasons not to ignore the homepage:


Entrance through the homepage is a sign of loyalty. Based on our data, while only five percent of visitors come through the homepage, they account for 50 percent of page views.

Visitors who enter from search and social only view an average of three and 1.8 pages respectively per session. On the other hand, visitors who enter from the homepage are more likely to view 10 to 30 pages per session. Longer engagement with a brand’s content leads to higher conversion rates, larger purchases and increased loyalty.

Brands are beginning to realize that the homepage offers an opportunity to improve engagement and convert occasional visitors to loyal users. The homepage can be easily personalized to provide visitors with content that will encourage more clickthroughs, based on their interests. First and third-party data can help develop visitors’ profiles and allow marketers to showcase targeted content.

For example, if a consumer is a devout hockey fan who is constantly following the NHL, the homepage of her favorite sports news website can serve her more hockey-related content. That one-to-one experience will keep her coming back for more, while also broadening the scope of content available to her.


Visitors who enter a brand’s website via social media or search are there for just one thing: that viral article their college friend shared on Facebook with a catchy title. Thirty seconds after perusing the article, the reader is gone.

When readers enter through the homepage, they may be looking for a number of articles pertaining to a particular topic. They have a wider scope of interests, which makes it easier for brands to showcase their content. While viral content shared on social media platforms is likely to be clicked because of compelling headlines, articles on the homepage are likely to be clicked because of their subject matter.

Publishers like ESPN are beginning to acknowledge the homepage as a largely untapped resource. Curated content featured on a homepage serves as an opportunity for businesses to provide readers with the most relevant articles, presented in a way that is tailored just for them.

Personalization should be elastic and adaptable, which is easier to deliver on the home page. For example, if a consumer is looking for a pair of running shoes, he may go directly to a specific brand’s website because he likes those shoes. While on the brand’s homepage, he sees relevant content from the blog, a video about new running shoes coming out in a month and a special promotion for returning visitors. Search can deliver a consumer to a brand’s site, but a compelling homepage can nurture an ongoing customer relationship.


Publishers are focused on three things when it comes to their websites: audience development, acquiring new users and existing user engagement.

Today, one of the most difficult challenges for publishers is getting one-time visitors, also known as “flybys,” to come back to the website for more after stumbling upon a viral article they found on Twitter. Whether or not side-door visitors end up on the homepage is a good indicator of how well search and social campaigns are performing.

Investing in the homepage is good business. It may not pull the traffic numbers brands are looking for, but its value can be measured in other, long-term benefits that search and social can’t produce. By personalizing a user’s homepage experience, brands can make an extraordinary impact on user engagement, driving longer sessions and developing loyalty among visitors.

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About Rusty McMillen

Nationally recognized SMB Sales & Reputation Marketing Expert, creator of B.A.R.S. CEO of onstraints which includes services from Website Design and Developement, SEO, SEM, SMM, Press Releases, Webinars and Reputation Marketing, to just mention a few of the included services. We also believe that success depends on an Experienced and Proven Leadership Team that truly understands and embraces the nuances of your Small Business environment, brand, products, customers, goals, and, most importantly, your vision of success. Small and Medium sized business owners typically spend 95% of their time "IN" their business, rather than "ON" their business. We solve this. Our B.A.R.S.program allows the business owner to be able to monitor everything pertaining to their online presence through proprietary systems and years of experience and expertise in multiple disciplines, allowing owners to see a global view of their marketing and online presence in order to make intelligent, well informed and decisive business decisions that dramatically effect their ROI and bottom line.