Where Is the Information?
We're in the middle of the Information Age, yet I've been noticing a rather nasty trend online lately, Home pages that have no information on them. Nothing to tell me who runs this site and why I should care. I'll see a lot of different things on there, but nothing informative. In fact, I just did 3 random searches on Google and picked sites at random to see if I'd find even one that did any kind of "who we are, what we do and why you should do business with us" type of statement. Not even one. Here are the sites I found and the searches I did:
- Education Canada: This site lands me on a home page with a bunch of links and what looks like job postings. Who the heck is "Education Canada?" From this landing I have no idea and if I weren't researching for this article, I'd have bounced out of that site withing seconds, having no idea if it's even relevant to me. Inserting a simple paragraph right below the main menu giving me some basic info about this organization and what they could do for me would make a world of difference.
- Petsmart: This site again fails to utilize their home page to effectively grab my attention and pull me in. All I find on here is a big banner at the top and a chaos of products below. If I wasn't already familiar with them from their TV ads from years ago, I'd have no idea who this company is and what makes them any different from every other pet store out there. Again, a simple who we are, what we do and why we do it paragraph would fix that. It would tell me, without having to go on a treasure hunt through their entire site searching for this most basic information what I need to know in the first few seconds of landing on a site if it's relevant to me. If I can't find that info right away, I have to assume no and move on to some other website. I have too many other things to do to waste time on a company who can't be bothered to identify themselves up front.
- Visions Electronics: Here we have not only an absence of the basic info I've already mentioned above, but also a slider which takes up almost the whole screen. This thing is annoying and hard on the eyes. It doesn't do Visions any favors at all, and if you want to find out why, you can read this whole article about sliders here. Below this is another chaos of products. No info, just a slider and a bunch of products, so again, if I want to find out why I should buy from Visions, I have to hunt for this info deeper into their site. Why not put the basics at the top of the home page where everyone can easily find it and be drawn into wanting to do business with Visions Electronics? Why is this style becoming so popular when it defies communications common seance, and conventions? Conventions created because they work.
I view a website as a communications tool. For it to work it is crucial that the information a new visitor to your website must be able to find out who you are, what you do, why you do it, and what your website has to offer, and it must present that info in as few words as possible. By doing that, you are respecting your visitor's valuable time, answering their questions, and building up trust to the point where they'll be more willing to take whatever action it is you want them to take on your website, whether it's reading your articles, buying your products, or donating to your charity, you need to build up that trust by being informative right from the top of your front page.
Do you have any pet peeves on the Internet? Feel free to share them in the comments below.