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Home Page Design

  If you can't grab attention with your home page, also known as the index, default or landing page of your site, you cannot succeed in website marketing. This seems an obvious statement, but the lost opportunities of many solid online businesses point to the fact that optimization of the first impression is still sorely lacking across the Internet. Here are the main elements you should strive to include in your site's home page, whatever your audience.

1. The Opening Paragraph:
How often have you visited a site, and after reading their introductory text, you still haven't a clue what the site is about or what they do. It's a well known and documented fact that most Web surfers have the attention spans of fleas; either they pick up enough information to continue, or they leave. It's that simple. The rule to follow here we'll borrow from journalists, who attempt to encapsulate the 5 W's into their lead paragraphs: Who, What, Where, Why and How. Answer these questions quickly, and let the surfer know exactly what's in it for them to stay.

2. Navigation:
Generally, people expect to find navigation menus at the top or on the left of the page. This navigation links to the various pages of your site, which should be kept to a minimum. Don't separate pages for similar content, keep all the information as brief as possible. Be clear with your link descriptions, to avoid confusion, a sure-fire site killer.

3. Viral Component:
If you've done a good job of capturing interest, you should give people an easy opportunity to spread the word. This kind of viral marketing is invaluable and will be the best source of quality traffic, bar none. Use a Recommend Service to let people quickly alert their friends about your site through an email form.

4. Build an Ezine Subscription:
Names of opt-in newsletter subscribers can be the best leads you'll ever prospect. Build a quality list and give people the option to join on your home page. Even if they leave, you have the opportunity to sell them over and over through periodic mailouts. This is a MUST HAVE for any website.

5. Provide a Search Component:
If you allow people a quick search box that returns relevant results from your site, you'll find that many people will use it. This kind of bonus navigation for the user is appreciated, and scripts that spider your site, or index through a database can be found in abundance.

6. Eliminate Unwanted Elements:
Other people are just like you, they want to find what they are looking for without interference and as quickly as possible. Don't deter them with Flash intro pages, slow-loading graphics or even sound files. Such elements only distract the visitor from their objective of finding the right information, and your objective of delivering that information to achieve a sale.


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