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Thursday, April 28, 2005

Homepage Is Dead, Every Page - Hub & Portals!!

Steve Outing writes, thanks to blogs, aggregators, RSS feeds, and other options, fewer and fewer readers are entering news sites through home pages.We recently covered about the increasing RSS traffic for all websites, in some cases the traffic level exceeds the online site visits. More and more people bypass news Web sites' home and section pages, instead entering a site at the article-page (or "inside-page") level.The home page - where Web designers and editors have for so long poured so much of their effort - is no longer the be-all, end-all. While home page needs attention, but equally important these days is the template used for article pages. It may be that the best approach is to create an article-page template that serves as a sort of secondary home page. It appears that more than half of the people who see something on the site will not see its home page. At the article level, it may be good to give users enough choices to guide them to other important content elsewhere on the site.

The Globe & Mail, Canada's national newspaper,reports,41% of globeandmail.com visits now begin on non-hub pages (that is, all but the home page and section pages such as Sports, Business, etc.). These are site visitors who come to article pages via search engines, news aggregators (like Google News), RSS feeds, news alerts, e-mail newsletters, notes from friends, and the like.Other news sites report similar user behavior. CSMonitor.com, the Web site of the Christian Science Monitor, tracks only 23% of its visitors' sessions coming in via the home page, with the rest entering at the article level or other page. A quick tour of article links found on Google News, shows that the majority of news sites offer little on article pages beyond some basic navigation to other sections of the sites. There's clearly room for improvement. But within the news-site industry, there's plenty of variation.
There are plenty of options for addressing the problem of article pages that don't lead visitors to the rest of a website - and increasing overall site traffic by fixing it. Ironically, the first step is to admit the existence of a problem in the site traffic patterns.

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