Wednesday, August 15, 2007

There's no place like Home

I read through many blogs everyday, many of them seem to be a rehash of others, some are pure marketing fluff. There are a few however, that have some good information and so I trudge through looking for a glimmer. I found one such posting on Vitamin.

I currently run a website for the state organization of my church, a website that many, many people have told me looks great and much improved from it's previous edition. Needless to say, I hate it. It's not very original, it's crammed full of stuff, theres no flow, and on and on. I work on this site as a donation of time, purely volunteer and while I welcome help from others members of the church, no one has yet stepped up. This could be good and bad. Bad because I, like most people in this world, am extremely busy and haven't been able to devote the time to this site that it deserves or needs, I am just barely treading water. Good in that although I have a vision for the site, I don't think I could adequately share the vision with someone else enough for them to anything other than tread with me.

I came upon an article yesterday on Vitamin named 'Home Sweet Home'. The article describes what the NEW homepage should be. One particular point I liked was that homepages typically represent less than 40% of entry ways into the website. The popularity of search engines and RSS feeds(blogs particularly) have enabled visitors to go directly to the content they are interested in and bypass homepages altogether. This has led me to become even more disappointed in my website. I am not sure if the site could hold up to use like that. From the installation of Google Analytics I can see the numbers: 63% of my visitors enter through the homepage. Do I have enough information elsewhere?

The other thought I received from this article was that a site should be designed from the detail pages inward, culminating in the design of the homepage. The homepage should be a gateway to the information inside, not the last page a visitor sees. I cannot compare my site to this, of the 63% that enter the homepage, 45% leave from the same page, never entering the site. Another detail is that of the 37% entering through other pages, a staggering 85% of those exit from the page they entered, never seeing the rest of the site. Am I giving them the information they were looking for, or boring them to sleep.

I have some more work to do. Maybe I will document my progress here, at least I will be able to look back on it and see if I wasted my time or not. It's a continual learning process.


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