“Can you put this on the homepage?”
Anyone who has spent any time managing a college or university website is sure to have received this question more than once. Perhaps the response should be “Which homepage?”
While your homepage may be the most visible (and most political), often it is not the first page visitors see. The data suggesting that anywhere from 40 to 70 percent of external traffic lands anywhere but the homepage paints a new reality.:
Every page is your homepage.
If the traditional homepage is the “front door” of a university’s digital presence, half of your site visitors are walking in the back, climbing through a window, or sliding down the chimney to get inside.
Google Analytics data we reviewed from the sites of five separate institutions clearly outlines the most popular alternative points of entry. The top five landing pages for each site are the same across the board. They are, in order:
Don’t believe the data? Check for yourself. Google Analytics provides an easy‐to‐find report on landing pages under the Behavior > Site Content tab.
What does the fact that you’re managing thousands of homepages mean? It means we have some work to do to improve the first pages visitors see, regardless of where the live on the site.
If you follow these three principles, you’ll improve the quality of your landing pages dramatically and enhance your visitors’ experience on your site.
So while we’re often fighting over the look of the front door, perhaps we need to spend a little more time washing our windows.