Myth #17: The homepage is your most important page
Usability experts, including Jakob Nielsen, have long argued that your homepage is the most valuable real estate of your website. As a result, lots of web designers and developers still spend most of their time on the design of the home page.
This, in fact, is no longer the case, as users’ browsing and searching behavior has significantly changed over time. Website statistics convincingly show that on many websites the homepage gets less and less share in pageviews.
Statistics and articles challenging the importance of the homepage:
- Statistics from Gerry McGovern confirm the decline of the homepage: “In 2003, 39 percent of the page views for a large research website were for the homepage. By 2009, it was down to 19 percent. In one month in 2008, of the 70,000 page views a technology site received, 22,000 were for the homepage. For the same month in 2010, of the 120,000 page views the site received, only 2,500 were for the homepage. Another technology website had roughly 10 percent of page views for the homepage in 2008, and by 2010 it was down to 5 percent. One of the largest websites in the world had 25 percent of visitors come to the homepage in 2005, but in 2010 only has 10 percent.” - from the article The decline of the homepage
- In Prioritizing design time, Joshua Porter from UIE analyzes their website’s visitor statistics and concludes that lower level articles are far more viewed than the homepage, so optimizing these templates makes more sense than optimizing the homepage.
- Jared Spool has a great podcast on why a site’s home page is actually the least important page on your site.
- Further articles from UIE: Is Home Page Design Relevant Anymore? and The 8 Types of Navigation Pages.
- And don’t miss xkcd’s hilarious diagram on what a typical university homepage does and should contain.