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 On many sites Home has been replaced by a link from the company logo.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.

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

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

Inbound Marketing Strategy: ‘How We Help’. Then, ‘Who We Are’

Posted by Ellie Becker on Thu, Nov 17, 2011 @ 21:11 PM

Think How Can We HelpI reviewed a few websites this week where the first information on the home page had to do with the company – who they are and what they do. But when I first hit a website, my initial question is, “Am I in the right place? Do they have an answer to my question or a solution to my problem?”

I don’t really care who they are until I know that they have what I’m looking for. Do you? Once I know that they get me and what I’m looking for, I’ll drill down further to see if I like the people behind the company and believe that they can and will deliver on their promises.

Of course, I can – and do - ask my network if anyone’s had an experience with that company and factor those opinions into my buying decision.

Am I any different than the people searching for services like mine? I don’t think so. When we’re about to spend our hard-earned cash, we want to spend it with people and companies that demonstrate that they understand our needs and have put together thoughtful products to help us.

Our communications messages must convey that right up front.

Have you positioned your website communications in terms of the problems they solve for your customers?

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The image is from the Flickr photostream of markhillary under Creative Commons license.

Topics: Inbound Marketing, Online Marketing, Website Development, Ellie Becker, Inbound Marketing Strategy

Key to Marketing Success: A Website That Kicks Your Butt

Posted by Ellie Becker on Tue, Nov 15, 2011 @ 20:11 PM

 Get a Butt Kicking Website

I know what it takes to succeed in online marketing. I live and breathe it. I know all of the steps. I keep up with the latest tools and tactics. But most of my days are spent implementing client projects. So my own marketing could easily fall down.

That’s why I got myself a website that kicks my butt and doesn’t let me avoid my own marketing. Every day when I log on to my site I see exactly how I’m doing compared with last month. Last month I had a great month. My website traffic was up in the triple digit percentile. So was my lead generation.

Then I hit the first of November and my website reminded me that I’m only as good as what I generated last month. If I want to make my online marketing accountable to the bottom line I have to do certain things: Write a new blog post, Tweet some keywords in a Twitter post, Create a nice fact sheet or eBook that will help my online community solve problems and that will encourage them to engage with my company.

Is it easy to find time to do these things when I have work to deliver for clients? No. It never is and never has been. We’ve always had this dilemma of implementing for clients vs marketing for ourselves.

So I am mightily grateful for a website that reminds me of what the most efficient and effective things are that I can do in the 30 minutes I have available to grow my business.

We can all have a butt-kicking website in this age of marketing automation to help us meet our business goals. In fact, that's our best marketing investment.

BTW…Writing this post was my website’s idea. When I see my traffic stats and read your comments tomorrow, I’ll be glad I listened.


The image – called Butt Kicking - is from the Flickr photostream of scottfeldstein under Creative Commons license.

Topics: Inbound Marketing, Small Business, Website Development, Ellie Becker

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