In our experience, one of the principal challenges that companies face with regard to their web initiatives is determining how to feature content on their homepages.  While this seems like a somewhat obvious topic at a glance, more companies that none are getting it wrong by misunderstanding how their users experience their company through the homepage, the first impression to your clients.  To clarify this challenge, I would like to share with all of you what I call the Visibility Index.

The Visibility Index: Our Simple Guide to Homepage Design Planning
This simple two-axis chart evaluates content from two concurrent perspectives:

  1. How important is this content to your key audiences? and
  2. How important is this content to your company?

While simple, I believe that content that appears in the upper right quadrant should be featured on the homepage of your website.  Like any useful rule-of-thumb, this approach should stand up to testing against real-world scenarios, while also proving its value across a range of website types.  For example, in our own case at VeeFx, the driver for our business is ultimately a combination of our portfolio and the experience that our clients have in dealing with us.  

Our process is comprehensive and helpful, but not the determining factor in our clients’ decision-making process.  Our portfolio, or at least a portion of it, is front and center on our homepage while our process is accessible from the interior of the site.

Similarly, for a web retailer, your product mix is substantially more important than your company history or return policy, notwithstanding the importance that customers or executive management may place on each of these simple examples.  Once your buyers have decided that you have something of value to offer them, they may very well review these topics, but until then, they are subordinate to your unique product offerings.

Our Visibility Index helps to focus your attention on the issues of importance to your site visitors, while also recognizing that there are key business drivers that are critical for you to convey to position your company within your sector efficiently.  Flattening the user experience is different from turning your homepage into a portal.

We hope that this simple primer on homepage content planning shines some light on a topic that deserves careful strategy and execution.  Although this is only the beginning of our newest big idea, the Visibility Index skims the surface of website planning, and we hope that it sparks inspection of the alignment not only between your website and your business, but also your website and your website visitors.