That seems pretty Draconian, doesn't it?
Unfortunately, the home pages of (winery) Web sites are typically cluttered affairs, which require a visitor to scroll and scroll and scroll to see everything. Even our Top Ten winery Web sites from last year suffer from this problem: only two of them fit entirely on a single screen when running Internet Explorer under Windows XP on a 1024x 768 display (Clos du Val and Huntington).
Why should your home page be limited to what will fit on a single screen? Because clutter is the biggest problem your site visitors face. When they arrive on your home page, there are only two things they want to know:
- Am I in the right place?
- Where do I go to reach my goal?
If the answers to these two questions are not readily apparent, visitors are Back the way they came.
Home pages become cluttered because "everything is important," and you're afraid of losing visitors because you didn't tell them everything. By making everything important, however, you make it much more difficult for your visitors to find the one thing that is important to them right now.
Your home page should address the goals of the four types of visitors to winery Web sites (buyers, browsers, the trade, the media) as succinctly as possible. That doesn't mean you shouldn't engage them or tempt them to investigate further, but in this case, less is certainly much more.
If you have a cluttered home page, here's something to try. Pare dramtically back (to a single
page screen, even). Give your new home page two weeks. See if (a) anyone complains (and why), and (b) what happens to your site traffic. Then go back to your old home page and apply what you've learned. I'd be interested in hearing the results.
(Note: you may not want to try this if you haven't already got a basic handle on your traffic, since otherwise, you have nothing to compare with.)
Feel free to disagree or add your point of view - that's why we enabled comments in our blog (even though it means managing the occasional bit of blog spam).