Why should I visit your website?
One thing we often recommend in our site analyses, is the use of introductory content on a homepage. We get quite a lot response on that, with people being unclear how to do that. “Where should I put that content?” or “How long should that content be?” or the one I dislike the most: “I don’t need that”.
The main goal of introductory content
I can not emphasize this enough. Introductory content is meant for your most valued visitors: us people and Google. Introductory content helps those visitors to grasp the leitmotif of your website. It also tells the visitor why you are the source to turn to, whether or not in combination with the title of your website.
There are two main ways to list that introductory content:
The right slogan or tagline as introductory content
If only things where always this simple. Chicago Tribune has a small caption below the logo that tells all: We are a Chicago based news provider bringing you all the latest news and we are doing this for such a long time you can consider us a trustworthy source.
The Chicago Tribune can do that this way and get away with it. But if you are a local news agency that brings mainly local news, you might need a different approach. Just the tagline might not be enough.
Suppose you are running the website of that more local newsletter, for instance the Stowe Today. I really love these kind of websites, since they seem to be made with more care and passion than most websites. But it totally lacks introductory content. You have to know Stowe Today to know what the website is about.
A huge number of inbound links is telling Google what the Chicago Tribune is about, but I can’t imagine Stowe Today benefitting from such a number of in-links. The website will have to tell Google itself what it is about. It’s not.
The website starts off with a lot of (local) banner ads and some featured articles, but nowhere on that page it tells me ‘bringing you local news from Stowe, including human interest stories, upcoming events and more’. If I would not have known better, it might also have been a blog from a very enthusiastic local student, earning an extra buck this way. I also checked the About. page of the website, but that only refers to other publications.
Adding a few paragraphs as an introduction
Most news websites or webshops think they have no space for a few extra paragraphs of introductory content. The website should start with either news or products. I call bullsh*t on that.
I’m not a big fan of the somewhat sneaky way the online sneakershop Hypedc.com did this:
As you can see, the introduction is there, but is not shown on the page itself. You are serving that intro to Google, but not to your customers. Why not!?
But that is just one way. I’m a much bigger fan of the way WP-Types.com is doing this, for instance:
“But they just have a couple of products”. I hear you, that’s right. But how about the way SurfStitch is doing this? That’s actually quite common for (Magento) webshops. List the products first, than the introduction.
I think that is a pretty good practice, since your products tell a global story and you are able to refine that with the additional introduction below.
Your two cents
I’d like to make a bold statement on introductory content for webshops and am looking forward to your opinion on that, as a webdesigner, SEO or customer:
A webshop’s homepage does not need any overview of products. A great textual introduction works much better.
Looking forward to your thoughts!