Keep your website visitors
only live twice
Once when you are born
And once when you look death in the face.
Basho, Japanese poet 1643 - 94
was quoted in Ian Fleming' book You Only Live Twice. OK for James
Bond, maybe, but if you're running your own Web site, then as far as visitors
to your site are concerned, you only live once unless your Home Page stops
people dead in their tracks and says "Hey, look at me!".
At the risk
of offending you, I'll generalise and say that users of the World Wide Web
tend to fall into two categories:
And if your
Home Page, the entry point into your site, does not please them, they will:
get bored quickly
are busy people
... and all
that in very rapid succession. To prevent that from happening, here are
a few simple guidelines to help you:
look at the rest of your site
None of this
will guarantee that every visitor will read your Home Page and then go on
to visit other parts of your site. But if you follow these guidelines, it
will increase the chances of this happening.
loading. Make your page as fast loading as possible. This means
a fairly short page (not too much text) and no huge graphics (see our
archived article on Shrink Your Gifs).
Tell your visitors right up-front what the site is all about, and what
they can expect to find in different parts of the site.
Make it easy right from the Home Page for people to find their way around
your site - and explain on the Home Page how they can do it.
alternatives. If you're using navigation buttons or an image
map for navigation, always give clickable hypertext links as
an alternative. Remember, about a third of Web users surf with the graphics
first screen. Try to get essential information on the first
screen that people will see. Don't make people have to scroll
down to see what's on the site. And design that screen around the 640
x 480 pixel screen, the one that's most commonly in use.
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