The Death of the Home Page

The New York Times lost half their traffic (80 million visitors) to the homepage in two years. Does that mean they lost half their visitors? No. It's visitors to their home page - that landing page that "starts" off your website. For this blog, that is

Why did that happen?  Well, did you arrive at this post by going to our home page and reading this OR did you arrive directly at this post's permalink URL because of a link from a search, or that you found on Twitter, Facebook, tumblr or some other location? The odds are very good that it was the latter.

Websites once tried very hard to get readers to that home page and not to the deeper links. The home page was not only the home of the brand, but also the page with the main "cover" advertisements and news. That is no longer the case.

An article from The Atlantic says that the incoming traffic from "Facebook, Twitter, social media, and the mix of email and chat services summed up as 'dark social' (dark, because it's hard for publishers to trace)" is the main source of traffic. That may not be what site owners want, but it is what they are getting. Social powers much of the Net today.

This is changing how news sites handle their home page and it should and will influence the design of other websites, including those for colleges.


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