Chapter 7. The Homepage

  • How do you use JavaScript and Smart Forms to build rich interfaces?

  • How do you navigate using menus?

  • How do you use search to navigate?

  • How do you increase discoverability using breadcrumbs and sitemaps?

  • What do you do to allow users to register with your site?

With all the emphasis on campaign landing pages, micro sites, and search engine friendly interior content pages, it is reasonable to ask whether a website's homepage matters much anymore. Although the homepage is often the most visited page on a website, its importance has been overshadowed by the increased focus on lead generation by marketing groups. But lead generation is not the only purpose for a website. Other major objectives mentioned by marketing managers include supporting branding initiatives, creating a positive image for the company and its products, building awareness of the organization, and distributing product and company information to existing and potential customers. The homepage plays an extremely important part in satisfying these objectives — no other page on your site will have such a pivotal and multipurpose role.

This chapter discusses ways to implement a successful homepage by focusing on a number of the most important elements of a homepage. Because the homepage must satisfy the needs of many types of visitors, this chapter focuses on using navigation to guide site visitors in the right direction through the use of menus, sitemaps, breadcrumbs, and search and goes in depth on ...

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