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Planning for Homepage Content
 

Planning for Homepage Content

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Our homepage is a key strategic digital asset, as well as a highly political one. But we must keep in mind that while the homepage is important, so is the rest of our site and the other ways our ...

Our homepage is a key strategic digital asset, as well as a highly political one. But we must keep in mind that while the homepage is important, so is the rest of our site and the other ways our audiences discover it. How can we manage internal expectations for our homepage while meeting external user needs?

In this webinar, we discuss determining the purpose of your homepage; establishing a homepage strategy (in the context of a whole website strategy); the pros and cons of various homepage content layouts (menus, long-scroll, centerpieces, carousels, etc.); and how to manage political discussions around homepage content.

Originally delivered February 3, 2014

Read more at http://www.meetcontent.com

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    Planning for Homepage Content Planning for Homepage Content Presentation Transcript

    • Planning for Homepage Content Georgy Cohen @radiofreegeorgy
    • 2 http://www.flickr.com/photos/cecphotography/5964949045/ http://xkcd.com/773/
    • #meetcontent Homepage strategy Website strategy 3 http://www.flickr.com/photos/cecphotography/5964949045/
    • #meetcontent Homepage strategy Website strategy 4 http://www.flickr.com/photos/cecphotography/5964949045/
    • #meetcontent Website strategy Homepage strategy 5 http://www.flickr.com/photos/cecphotography/5964949045/
    • 6 http://www.flickr.com/photos/crespoluigi/3096196873/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/cecphotography/5964949045/
    • “ #meetcontent Years ago people might have thought about getting to the homepage and then figuring out where to go on the site. Now they will use search or external links to get closer to the place they really want to get to. Gerry McGovern hhttp://giraffeforum.com/wordpress/2010/04/18/the-decline-of-the-homepage/ 7
    • 8 http://www.flickr.com/photos/spcummings/512748852/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/cecphotography/5964949045/
    • 9 http://www.flickr.com/photos/ell-r-brown/8357548579/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/cecphotography/5964949045/
    • “ #meetcontent The old mantra that every page needs to be a homepage has never been more true. Bob Cohn Editor, Atlantic Digital http://www.niemanlab.org/2012/08/coming-in-the-side-door-the-value-of-homepages-is-shifting-from-traffic-driver-to-brand/ 10
    • #meetcontent What we’ll talk about... • • Executing a website strategy, not a homepage strategy • Managing a strategic homepage • 11 Giving your homepage purpose Considering carousels
    • http://www.flickr.com/photos/mukluk/174688752/ Giving your homepage purpose 12 http://www.flickr.com/photos/cheryldudley/3633002627/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/ucdaviscoe/6303100423/ http://xkcd.com/773/
    • 13 http://www.flickr.com/photos/cecphotography/5964949045/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/rbh/6624537417/
    • #meetcontent Defend your homepage • • Determine which content efforts best support that purpose • 14 Decide on the purpose of your homepage Define how best to measure the effectiveness of those efforts
    • 15 http://www.flickr.com/photos/cecphotography/5964949045/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/jking89/3475933791/
    • 16 http://www.flickr.com/photos/cecphotography/5964949045/ http://xkcd.com/773/
    • #meetcontent 17 http://www.flickr.com/photos/cecphotography/5964949045/
    • 18 http://www.flickr.com/photos/cecphotography/5964949045/
    • Us 19 http://www.flickr.com/photos/cecphotography/5964949045/
    • “ #meetcontent The homepage is the single best way for editors to convey the sensibilities and values of their websites... The homepage is, as the marketing team would put it, the ultimate brand statement. Bob Cohn Editor, Atlantic Digital http://www.foliomag.com/2012/misconceptions-about-homepage#.UTaBC3w4XcO 20
    • The challenge is to balance brand experience and user experience.
    • “ #meetcontent We want our .edu visitors to find what they are looking for but we also want to subtly get in their way with useful and compelling content that is outside the scope of what they came in to see. Susan T. Evans Senior Strategist, mStoner http://susantevans.wordpress.com/2012/03/03/ill-see-you-and-raise-you/ 22
    • 23 http://www.flickr.com/photos/cecphotography/5964949045/
    • “ #meetcontent When you think about it, this is what all higher education homepages are trying to accomplish. Matt Klawitter Northwestern University http://mattklawitter.com/2012/03/01/the-ultimate-ultra-simple-real-authentic-university-website-homepage-wireframe-concept/ 24 http://www.flickr.com/photos/cecphotography/5964949045/
    • 25 http://www.flickr.com/photos/cecphotography/5964949045/ stockmonkeys.com
    • 26 http://www.flickr.com/photos/cecphotography/5964949045/ stockmonkeys.com
    • 27 http://www.flickr.com/photos/cecphotography/5964949045/ stockmonkeys.com
    • 28 http://www.flickr.com/photos/cecphotography/5964949045/
    • 29 http://www.flickr.com/photos/cecphotography/5964949045/
    • 30 http://www.flickr.com/photos/cecphotography/5964949045/
    • 31 http://www.flickr.com/photos/cecphotography/5964949045/
    • 32 http://www.flickr.com/photos/cecphotography/5964949045/
    • “ #meetcontent Too many marketers and communicators are destroying whatever credibility their homepages have left with customers by filling them with useless graphics and meaningless words. Gerry McGovern hhttp://giraffeforum.com/wordpress/2010/04/18/the-decline-of-the-homepage/ 33
    • #meetcontent Common .edu complications • Overusing of news and event listings • Linking to resources without context • Large left-right scrolling feature blocks • Hover menus, fly-outs, and mega menus • Missing high-value trigger words (“apply, give, visit, contact”) • Vague, marketing-driven labels instead of action-oriented labels Source: Matt Klawitter 34 http://mattklawitter.com/2012/04/13/your-edu-website-is-too-complicated/
    • 35 http://www.flickr.com/photos/cecphotography/5964949045/
    • “ #meetcontent When you choose well, the campus community, parents, legislators, and other ancillary audiences will also be influenced by this content. Your homepage can offer points of pride for many audiences without muddying the focus on prospectives and donors. Susan T. Evans Senior Strategist, mStoner http://susantevans.wordpress.com/2012/03/03/ill-see-you-and-raise-you/ 36
    • http://www.flickr.com/photos/degelia/6894587439/ Site strategy, not homepage strategy 37 http://www.flickr.com/photos/cheryldudley/3633002627/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/ucdaviscoe/6303100423/ http://xkcd.com/773/
    • 38 http://fourchapters.com/2010/03/word-time-potemkin-village/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/cheryldudley/3633002627/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/ucdaviscoe/6303100423/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/newtown_grafitti/5636437722/
    • 39 http://fourchapters.com/2010/03/word-time-potemkin-village/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/cheryldudley/3633002627/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/ucdaviscoe/6303100423/
    • Your homepage may be your most popular page, but just a fraction of your overall traffic.
    • #meetcontent But if my link isn’t on the homepage, how will people find my site? 41 http://fourchapters.com/2010/03/word-time-potemkin-village/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/cheryldudley/3633002627/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/ucdaviscoe/6303100423/
    • 42 http://www.flickr.com/photos/jason044/42151414/ http://fourchapters.com/2010/03/word-time-potemkin-village/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/cheryldudley/3633002627/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/ucdaviscoe/6303100423/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/newtown_grafitti/5636437722/
    • Your homepage shouldn’t suffer for the sins of your website.
    • #meetcontent Whole-site strategy • • Message architecture • Information architecture • Style guide • Search engine optimization • 44 Communications and brand strategy Site search functionality
    • But we’ve always had a link on the homepage. You can’t take it away! 45 http://fourchapters.com/2010/03/word-time-potemkin-village/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/cheryldudley/3633002627/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/ucdaviscoe/6303100423/
    • True visibility is actually site-wide findability.
    • Managing a strategic homepage 47 http://www.flickr.com/photos/cheryldudley/3633002627/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/ucdaviscoe/6303100423/ http://xkcd.com/773/
    • #meetcontent Managing a strategic homepage • • Define and share criteria • 48 Compile the stats Clarify ownership and governance
    • http://www.flickr.com/photos/pschadler/4932737690/ #meetcontent Define and share criteria • Goals and key messages • What content supports these? • • News, events, photos, video, social media, media hits, branding pieces, links...? Balance • • • Schools/colleges Brand messages Schedule • Frequecy? Rationale? Compile the stats 49
    • #meetcontent Compile the stats • Editorial history • • Run dates/takedown date • Source • Audience • Representation • 50 Subject Brand messages/themes
    • #meetcontent Define and share criteria • Goals and key messages • What content supports these? • • News, events, photos, video, social media, media hits, branding pieces, links...? Balance • • • Schools/colleges Brand messages Schedule • Frequecy? Rationale? Define and share criteria 51
    • #meetcontent Define and share criteria • Goals and key messages • What content supports these? • • News, events, photos, video, social media, media hits, branding pieces, links...? Balance • • • Schools/colleges Brand messages Schedule • 52 Frequency? Rationale?
    • The less of a mystery around the homepage, the less room for argument.
    • http://www.flickr.com/photos/pup/517203756/ Clarify ownership and governance 54 http://www.flickr.com/photos/cecphotography/5964949045/
    • #meetcontent 55 http://www.flickr.com/photos/cecphotography/5964949045/
    • #meetcontent 56 http://www.flickr.com/photos/cecphotography/5964949045/ http://www.spreadshirt.com/committee-1-2c-t-shirts-C3376A8752978
    • “ #meetcontent Homepage and web site redesigns need, more than anything, vision, leadership, and strategy. A committee of disparate interested parties can’t really provide that... [A committee serves] simply as a mechanism to distribute blame when people become unhappy. Kerri Hicks Manager of Web Communications, University of Rhode Island http://allthecandyintheworld.com/wp/?p=107 57
    • #meetcontent Clarify ownership and governance • Process • • Roles • 58 Schedule/frequency Workflow (editorial and production)
    • “ The homepage is the single best way for editors to convey the sensibilities and values of their websites... The homepage is, as the marketing team would put it, the ultimate brand statement. Bob Cohn Editor, Atlantic Digital http://www.foliomag.com/2012/misconceptions-about-homepage#.UTaBC3w4XcO Homepage carousels 59 http://www.flickr.com/photos/stuttermonkey/7044483/
    • 60 http://www.flickr.com/photos/cecphotography/5964949045/
    • 61 http://www.flickr.com/photos/cecphotography/5964949045/
    • 62 http://www.flickr.com/photos/cecphotography/5964949045/
    • 63 http://www.flickr.com/photos/cecphotography/5964949045/
    • 64 http://www.flickr.com/photos/cecphotography/5964949045/
    • “ #meetcontent Carousels are organizational crutches... It’s far harder to have an honest content strategy conversation and determine what truly deserves to be on the homepage. Brad Frost http://bradfrostweb.com/blog/post/carousels/ 65
    • 66 http://www.flickr.com/photos/cecphotography/5964949045/
    • #meetcontent 67 http://www.flickr.com/photos/cecphotography/5964949045/ http://weedygarden.net/2013/01/carousel-stats/
    • #meetcontent Erik’s carousel tracking • Number of times the feature is switched by users • Total feature clicks • Total clicks per position “I added tracking to to the main feature on ND.edu as well as four other Notre Dame sites with carousels, three of which are static, and one that automatically slides the features.” 68
    • “ #meetcontent Approximately 1% of visitors click on a feature. There was a total of 28,928 clicks on features for this time period. The feature was manually “switched/rotated” a total of 315,665 times. Of these clicks, 84% were on stories in position 1 with the rest split fairly evenly between the other four (~4% each). Erik Runyon Notre Dame http://weedygarden.net/2013/01/carousel-stats/ 69
    • #meetcontent Erik’s carousel best practices • Include attention-grabbing, compelling content • Include three (no more than four) features • Pay attention to subject matter Source: Erik Runyon ttp://weedygarden.net/2013/01/carousel-stats/ 70
    • #meetcontent Brad’s carousel best practices • Establish some commonality among carousel elements • Don’t make users load more content than necessary • Check how carousel works on mobile • Make navigation clear and obvious • Track, compile and share usage data • A/B testing Source: Brad Frost 71 http://bradfrostweb.com/blog/post/carousels/
    • usability.gov’s carousel best practices #meetcontent • • 3-4 features, max • Align content with users’ top site tasks • Suggest more content to users • Cycle items at random • 72 Manual advance > Automatic advance Make navigation intuitive within carousel frame http://www.usability.gov/get-involved/blog/2013/04/image-carousels.html and included
    • Effective trumps shiny. Always.
    • #meetcontent 74 http://www.flickr.com/photos/cecphotography/5964949045/ http://shouldiuseacarousel.com/
    • #meetcontent In conclusion... • • Give your homepage purpose. Defend and support it with process and measurement • Balance user experience and branding • Put your audience first • 75 Don’t pay attention to your homepage at the expense of the rest of your website Don’t be deluded by fancy functionality
    • meetcontent.com @meetcontent