When website visitors don’t enter through the homepage: Why it’s a problem and what to do about it


If the chapters were out of order in a book, you wouldn’t know where to start. If your website visitors don’t enter your site through the homepage, they may be confused too. Take a few steps to introduce your organization.

Imagine you open a new book and the intro chapter is buried in the middle. You would be a little confused, wouldn’t you?

When new people come to your website, they need to start at the beginning – learning who you are and what you do. Then they can start learning about the details of your initiatives and how to get involved.

If you look at your analytics, you may find that you have many landing pages. That means that the first page people visit on your site may not be the homepage. Surprised?

The homepage used to be the place to showcase your most current stories and tools. Now, social media has filled that role. While your homepage may not be the first page visitors land on when they visit your site, it’s still a place for new people to learn how to navigate your content. And since the first page many people see may not be the homepage, it’s important to have information about your organization readily available from any page on your site.


To do:

  • If you have a rotation banner on your homepage, make sure at least one of your banner images links to information about who you are and what you do.
  • Have information and links to learn more about your organization in the footer of your site.
  • Make sure it’s easy to find the homepage and the “about us” section from every page of your site.
  • Create a “welcome” page to help new visitors navigate your content.

Your homepage is old news. Here’s what you can do about it.

Entering through the front door of a house is similar to entering through the homepage on a website. Nowadays, more visitors likely come to your site through other pages so you need to plan for it.

Entering through the front door of a house is similar to entering through the homepage on a website. Nowadays, more visitors likely come to your site through other pages so you need to plan for it.

Imagine if you threw a party at your house and your guests came in through windows, the basement, the porch door, and the garage door as well as through the front door. It would probably catch you off-guard, but the guests may also be a little disoriented and not know where to go.

This may be what’s happening with your website visitors. Nowadays, a lot of people may be following links on social media or other websites to get to your site. Many of those links point to a specific article or resource instead of your homepage. It’s more important than ever that your visitors know how to find information on your site, no matter which page they visit first.


To do:

Review your analytics and see which pages are your top “landing pages.” These are the pages on your website that your visitors see first. Your homepage will likely be at the top of the list, but you may also have a few others that are popular landing pages as well. Take a look at the top five, not including the homepage. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Will visitors understand the context of the content? For example, if it’s a “step 8” in a series of 10 steps, will they know that they should also check out previous steps before working on number 8?
  • Will visitors be able to easily find information about your organization from that page?
  • Is there a clear call to action?


Here are some suggestions to improve your landing pages:

  • Add an introduction to the page that gives context.
  • Use breadcrumbs to help visitors understand where they are on the website.
  • Link to related content. For example, if there are 10 steps, have clear links to the previous and next steps. Or, point them to more resources or articles in that category.
  • Use the “related content” feature in AddThis to automatically suggest another article.
  • Add information about your organization in the footer so visitors can understand what your organization is about no matter which page they are on.
  • Make sure the call to action is clear and not tucked away in a sidebar or on another page.