We’ve all seen them – beautiful introductory pages, containing almost no text, but making up for it with a spectacular graphic or animated Flash movie – but do these Splash pages actually increase your website traffic?
Your web designer, who relates to the world visually, would no doubt tell you “yes, of course!” And so would any other artist, or right-brain oriented person. If you’re selling a course on graphic design, or promoting graphics packages, perhaps there’s some merit to having one of these gorgeous displays.
But let’s look at the down side…
A member of your niche market actually finds your site. He comes to see what you have to offer. Instantly, he finds himself faced by what feels like a brick wall; one that’s stopping him on his focused dash towards finding what hoped to find.
Now, if your animated Flash movie is stunningly clever, relevant or beautiful, you might think he’d stay and be dazzled. And a small percentage of your visitors (those with graphic inclinations) actually may do so.
But for the rest, finding the equivalent of a bus-stop and being forced to wait for the bus is an annoying and frustrating check. (Especially if they’re still on dial-up, and your Flash movie takes forever to load.)
People Don’t Like To Be Held Hostage…
You know the unwritten (but no less real) rule: You have a few seconds, at most, to capture your visitor’s interest and convince him it would be his loss if he were to abort his visit before allowing himself the privilege of reading your scintillating message.
“But I paid a lot of money for that Splash page,” you argue. “It was designed by the best!”
That may be, but the proof is there, right in your website stats. Go check for yourself, and see how long the average visit to your splash page lasts. (I guarantee you’ll find it’s less than 11 seconds.)
The truth is, as far as your visitor is concerned, your splash page is holding him hostage, stopping him from finding the information he came here to claim. He looks for navigation buttons, or a “Skip This Page” one. If he finds the latter, you might actually be lucky, and get a click-through. If not, he’s out of there, before a quarter of your page has barely had time to load in. It’s as simple as that.
Nor Do Search Engine Bots…
Search Bots don’t even wait a second, but bounce out of your site instantly, continuing on their busy way – your site un-indexed and unranked.
They found no keywords, no unique, relevant text. No content at all, as far as their algorithms are concerned. (And if your Splash page is hosted on a remote site, at a Graphic service, and the Search Bot is diverted to it via a Redirect, it’s a coin flip to decide which sin is worse – redirect or no index-able content.)
So yes, those Splash pages are catchy and gorgeous, but if you’re tempted into adding one to increase website traffic, apply the left side of your brain, and stop and do the math instead.
After all, the proof is in the stats.