the inbound-i blog: Inbound Marketing Information, Ideas & Intelligence

Inbound Advice: Don't Run Away From "Home"

Posted by Ellie Becker on Wed, Aug 01, 2012 @ 21:08 PM

Keep Home in Navigation

Somehow a trend has developed that threatens website user experience. Mess up a visitor’s ability to easily navigate your site and you can rest assured that it’s costing you business.

What’s the trend? “Home” is disappearing from navigation bars. I suspect that this is the result of a move to horizontal navigation – across the top of the Web page. Horizontal navigation is limited. So developers are trying to find space to accommodate more categories on the nav bar.

What they’ve decided to ditch is a navigation tab for “Home”. On many sites Home has been replaced by a link from the company logo. This is confusing to many visitors who are not mouse-ing around a page looking for what they can click on.

Most visitors are looking for the text, the words, the links that will take them where they want to go.

What's my inbound advice? Even though I regularly counsel clients not to be Home Page-centric – to recognize that if their site is properly optimized, visitors may enter the site from any page. But they also shouldn't run away from home.

The home page is still the spot on a website where there’s an overview. It’s where key messages are introduced and where look and feel and brand identity are the strongest. Home is still the gateway to the company and people want to see Home pages. Home is the hub of the site from where you can navigate everywhere (one hopes).

Don’t give up a Home tab in deference to design and space issues. Challenge your web developer to come up with something less restrictive than a main navigation across the top of the page.

I’m very resolute on this topic, having engaged numbers of web searchers on the topic. When asked how they would get to the home page on a site where Home is not in the navigation, most have given up trying to figure it out in exasperation.

Why set up your visitors for frustration? Why design a higher bounce rate into your site? Make it easy for visitors to get everywhere on your site – especially to your Home sweet Home.

While you're here, take advantage of a free opportunity to learn more about Inbound Marketing.

Click me

 

Image is from the flickr photostream of Diana Parkhouse under Creative Commons license.

Topics: Inbound Marketing, Online Marketing, Website Development, E.R. Becker Company, Web design, User Experience

Ads and Graphics vs Content: Google Says Content Wins

Posted by Ellie Becker on Thu, Feb 23, 2012 @ 21:02 PM

Google - Content vs GraphicsHere’s the latest message from Google: If you want to rank well in search results, don’t create barriers of graphics and ads between the top of your web page and your content.

In an effort to get searchers to what they’re looking for, Google has changed its algorithm to assess how difficult you’re making it for them to get there.

The algorithm change is in response to users’ complaints that they land on a page and can’t find what they want. Whether they’re obscured from the desired information by lots of ads, or because the page has tons of graphics you have to scroll past to get to the info doesn’t really matter.

If your graphics are obscuring useful information, you’re not going to rank well in search engine results. In other words, you won’t get found.

Regularly I’m doing research for clients to determine how they can leap frog their competition. Regularly I’m seeing pages that are totally graphics and the little information that exists is contained in a graphical image that can’t necessarily be read by search engines. More times than not these images don’t contain alt tags – the source code that tells Google what an image is about (Google doesn’t recognize images – only text.)

Part of what Google is focused on is what appears ‘above the fold’ and what appears ‘below the fold’. This language reverts to newspaper jargon. If you take the New York Times and fold it midway between top of page and bottom of page, everything in the top half is ‘above the fold’.  The bottom half is ‘below the fold’. In print newspapers, the most important stories were closest to the top of the page, heralded by headlines that explained what the story was about – and why it was important to the reader.

Google takes a similar approach. It wants the info that tells what a page is about at the top. If the page is divided into more than one column, Google wants a dominant column with a keyword laden headline that establishes the informational focus of the page.

Best is to put the key concepts of the page across the top – above the fold -- and other info below the fold. The ‘below the fold’ info can be divided into columns and it’s great if you can optimize a below the fold column for a keyword.

Given Google’s new interest in page design, it’s imperative for graphic design and SEO to coordinate and collaborate. This may take some doing, but it’s evidence of how Web 2.0 is compelling us to break down marketing silos.

 

Click me

 

Image credit: Illustrationpages.com

Topics: E.R. Becker Company, SEO, Google+, Google Algorithm, Web design, Graphic Design

Subscribe via E-mail

Follow Me

Latest Posts