It sure used to be. Back in the day, your homepage was definitely the most important page on your website.
After all, it was the first page that people would see when they arrived at your site.
It was named the home page after all. It was the hub of your website—the starting point for people to explore all the spokes that you had to offer.
As soon as your visitors finished typing in all those letters and punctuation marks after the www., what were they greeted by?
No, not the guestbook.
No, not the hit counter.
The home page.
But is all that still true?
Is The Home Page Still King in 2022?
This answer may surprise you—but your “home” page is not generally the “primary” or “most important” page on your website anymore.
In fact: it hasn’t been for a very long time.
In many cases, the “home” page is really a secondary page that is less likely to be visited by potential customers than other pages on the site.
Why is this?
It’s due to the way people find and interact with websites today.
Most people don’t start their journey on a website by typing in the home page URL these days. Sure, it still happens in some parts of The Outback, but it’s not the primary way people access websites.
Instead, people mainly land on websites after doing a search on Google or another search engine, clicking on a social media link, or clicking on a PPC ad.
Google’s bots are smart enough to rank the most relevant pages for a user’s query rather than just taking users to the home page. Otherwise, it would be kind of like requesting an Uber to a coffee shop, and getting dropped off at the front entrance of a mall.
Anyway—this means that the first page they land on is often a product page, category page, or a blog post. Not the home page.
In fact, customers can frequently complete their entire customer journey without ever seeing the “front page” of a website.
Weird to think about, but true!
So while the home page is still important, it’s not always the most important page on a website.
A lot of sites—especially e-commerce sites and affiliate sites—have landing pages that serve as the true “homepage” for that particular section of the site.
In these cases, the home page becomes more like a general information page and is less likely to be the page that a potential customer converts into a paying customer.
It’s important to think about what pages on your website are most likely to be the entry point for a potential customer, and to make sure that those pages are optimized for conversion.
The home page is like the figurehead of a website; it’s the face that represents the site as a whole.
It needs to be well-designed and informative. After all—it represents your business.
But in terms of both search traffic and conversion rate, it’s generally not the page that is going to make or break your website.
Focus on creating great content and optimizing your site for conversion, and you’ll be more likely to succeed—even if your visitors miss seeing that perfect photo of your team, that explainer video talking about your company’s mission, or that sleek slider showing off your company’s latest news on the home page.
Cases Where the Home Page is Still King
Now, of course there are some notable exceptions where the home page still remains supremely important. One that hits close to home is “WordPress web design.”
People looking for digital professionals to develop their company’s WordPress site are going to want to see what the homepage of their site looks like. It just makes sense.
Likewise, many digital artists will want to make sure their home page grabs attention and serves as a strong portfolio piece in itself.
There are also some businesses like Airbnb, Priceline, and Kayak, where the homepage consists mainly of a search bar and listings. In this case, the home page is essential to the user experience and conversion rate.
But for the majority of businesses, like brick-and-mortar stores, restaurants, B2B companies, service providers, fishing guides—you name it—the home page is not the be-all, end-all when it comes to online success.
So if you’re thinking about redesigning your website, or building a website from scratch, make sure you hire a web design and marketing company that understands this.
Instead of putting 95% of a website design project’s resources into revising the design of the home page:
- Focus on creating a well-designed website with positive UX and strong conversion potential throughout.
- Focus on creating a website that is designed with technical SEO and conversion optimization in mind from the very start.
- Focus on creating a sophisticated website design that is “designed” to actually meet your business goals, not only to look pretty.
Your home page is still important—it just shouldn’t receive all of your attention like it may have in the past.
Homepage optimization is essential, but in many cases, it’s not the be-all and end-all of website success.
Other pages on your site are often going to be far more important in the conversion process.
Having tunnel vision when it comes to the home page can often lead to neglecting other important pages on the site. Aesthetics, substance—of course they’re important. But if we’re talking conversions, the home page usually isn’t king. (Other than in the sense that it’s a figurehead, needs to be presentable, and often exercises little actual power.)
Instead of getting hung up on just the design of the home page, think about all of the different ways people can find your site, and design with those entry points in mind.
Think about the journey your potential customers will take on your website, and focus on optimizing key pages for conversions (rather than spending weeks poring over Shutterstock photos with a jeweler’s loupe for the 5th slide on the home page).
After all—a website for your business is only as good as its ability to meet your business goals.
If the aesthetics of your company’s homepage help you in reaching those business goals, then go for it by all means. Everything else is just browser window dressing.