There is no Homepage

Gaurav Vaz

Don’t take that literally! Of course there is a Homepage – but are your ‘users’ really hitting your homepage as much as you thought they would? Or the more important question – are they going through your site like you wanted them to when you designed it?

Today, with Facebook shares, Twitter recommendations, and back links to your site created from all over the place, people enter your site at many different places. Especially if your site is content heavy. Traditionally, we have made our homepages shiny and then have just lost interest in the rest of the site. But with today’s Internet and the tools available with each of us, very few people actually consume content on our websites. Zite, Flipboard, RSS readers, and a myriad of other apps have made your website the source of the content, but not necessarily the place where that content is consumed.

And that is with the web as it is today. What about 2 years from now? When every square inch of the earth can get an IP address your TV will be able to browse the web, they already do! And so will your microwave or your fridge. At that point, your fancy homepage will be the last thing everyone sees. How well your content is structured and more importantly, how readable it is, by other machines, becomes of paramount importance.

With everyone getting busier by the day, and the amount of interesting things to read, watch and listen to only increasing, no one has the time to read everything you write or see everything you’ve made, and everyone is looking for their quick fix. Services that summarize websites, like are already becoming popular – hell, someone even summarized all the 1000 odd TED Talks that are online in 6 words each! This is going to become a lot more commonplace and very soon, we might be faced with a situation where people are only reading someone’s –  or something’s –  summary of our websites. At that point, your website stops being about how shiny it looks, but more about how usable and useful it is.

What do we do about all this then?

Pay a LOT of attention to your content and website structure. Ensure that your users are treated to a fantastic experience no matter where they land up on your website, and though this sounds a bit far-fetched right now,, try and ensure that this fantastic experience carries forward irrespective of where and how your users consume your content.

And best of luck doing it, ‘coz it’s much easier said than done!

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