What do you think. Is the first impression of a website the home page?
This is my take on this question. We tend to think of websites like a book. We think a new first time visitor will see our impressive home page first. And then methodically browse through other pages. That will be the case, if all of our visitors only come from seeing our visiting cards or typing the website address directly into the browser.
But websites are not books. People don’t read a website from start to finish. Most of website visitors today come from search engines and social media. What page they will see first is not likely your home page. Its very likely to be a service page, a product item page, the about us page, a press release page, a blog post, or even the contact us page.
Any page of the website is a potential landing page for a new visitor. For example, here on our website, the most popular landing page for last 30 days is a blog post about a PHP programming issue. Next is the Google Plus cover photo template. And what page do you think most clients who inquire for our web design services see first? They are some blog post we published awhile ago like bad SEO in Sri Lanka and Web Designers in Sri Lanka. These page and not our home page gives the first impressions for most of our visitors and potential clients.
Web designers also tend to present new websites like books. We show clients the home page first and then the inner pages. Its the natural procedure!
However web designers can improve on this.
In an SEOMoz article, Mr. Brad Shorr advises web designers like this, “…Mirror an actual user experience, they would do the opposite and start with an interior product page (i.e., a strategic entry page) saying, “This is the page a visitor is likely to find when doing a Google search. It is the page that will be the first impression you make on a potential customer.” Then, they would go to the homepage and say, “Now that we’ve aroused interest, the user will check you out here.”
We also need to think about how visitors will move through our website. They will move through a site on a variety of paths. It is the responsibility of both the client and web designers to think and make a website accordingly.