Domain.com/ is the single most important page of your site. You'd
think that was obvious, and yet many sites abuse that page.
should always be http://www.domain.com - sometimes it's http://www.domain.com/articles/component/article?front_page
- not likely to remebered by a single visitor, linked to by a single directory.
Or taken seriously by a single search engine.
index.html and /
internal link to your index page should be to "/" NOT to /index.html
that wrong, and Search engines will see the page as TWO pages, thus dividing your
incoming benefits. If, as you read this, the SEs have made that mistake - then
arrange a 301 permanent redirect from /index.html to /
(it's a good idea
to do this for every folder, too).
You want visitors to
stay, and see more of your site. So minimise the outgoing links from your front
page, including advertising links. And make the page attractive. It's your shop
window, your catalog, your reputation ... maybe your one opportunity to convert
a visitor into a customer.
So it should be interesting; useful and reader-friendly.
home page should (one way or another) tell the visitor what you are about, and
provide a clear and helpful navigation system for the site.
much and what goes there, will depend a lot on the individual site. For example,
a niche site with a fair proportion of returning visitors would need to show "What's
New", so those folk knew their visit was not wasted.
A site that depends
on the results of random searches would probably do well to show popular products,
and something to show the range of products available.
There should be some
permanent text on the front page, which should aid stability in the serps.
the whole catalog might make the page so large that dialup visitors might get
bored ... same with large images and gimmicks. The key, I think, is to think about
who your visitors are, and what will be best for them. It's a marketing decison
first, design a close second.
Domain.com is your key
page, and that should be where visitors arrive; the splash page is purely for
webmaster vanity ... for visitors, it's a waste of their time. For repeat visitors,
it's a poke in the eye.