The home page, as the name kind of suggests, is the all important starting page of the web site. It’s the page that is displayed by the browser program when you type in the web site address – such as www.webevelopersnotes.com. The home page of a web site is what the designer or the creator thought might be the best starting point. It is, thus, an entry point or the first page of the web site.
This does not mean you have to arrive always at the home page and then move about on the site. It also does not mean that a web search engine will, at all time, direct you the home page in the search results.
Designing a web site home page – what should be on such a page?
There are as many different web site home pages as there are stars in the night sky. The web site developer can put anything he or she wants on the home page. Here are a few things one can include in the home page – the list below is by no means exhaustive:
- some sort of “branding” for the web site – logo, for example;
- a welcome message;
- an explicit mention of what the web site is all about – can be a part of the welcome message;
- link to the most important sections or pages of the web site – the site navigation bar;
- the latest updates and changes (additions and modifications) to the web site;
- contact details or a link to the web page through which one can contact the web developer;
- a web site search utility especially when there are tons of web pages.
What is the function and use of a web site home page?
As mentioned above, the home page serves as a starting or entry point (as per the developer) of the web site and it’s what people see when they type in the web site address in a browser. The main function of a web site home page is to quickly tell visitors what the site is all about, provide links to important sections and pages and offer some kind of branding for the web site.
And since the home page may be considered the most important page, developers should take due care to link to it from all other pages. This is typically done by having a “clickable” logo (clicking on the logo takes the visitor to the home page) or placing a link (usually the first link) in the main navigation bar.
If you’ve spent a fair bit of time on the web, you would have noticed that all pages of a web site look pretty much the same. This is because they have been created from a single design template. The homepage, however, has the luxury to be significantly different from the design and layout of all other pages. In fact, many developers have the habit of putting only an animated flash introduction on the home page. Though there are advantages and disadvantages having a flash intro, it does make the home page stand out and deliver the web site message.
How to create a web site home page?
It may come as a surprise to a newbie – Web pages are actually simple text files created using HTML (HyperText Markup Language). It’s not a programming language per se, and consists primarily of tags that provide a structure to a web page – i.e. denote headings, paragraphs, lists etc. HTML is probably the easiest “languages” to learn and you can quickly grasp the fundamentals. In fact , with a dedicated effort, you can create quite appealing web pages in a week or so. Read how to create a simple homepage for your web site for details. By the way, if you want to dig a little deeper, I have an HTML tutorial and an advanced HTML tutorial on this web site.