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Blog > Do Splash or Entry Pages Help or Hurt Your Website Traffic?

Meet the author:
Jill Olkoski

Jill has a MA in Clinical Psychology, a BS in Computer Science, and a BS in Mechanical Engineering.

She currently owns Aldebaran Web Design in Edmonds (near Seattle WA) and enjoys educating her clients on topics related to small business website design.

In Jill's previous life, she spent 17 years in the engineering and quality organizations of a Fortune 100 tech company.

 


Do Splash or Entry Pages Help or Hurt Your Website Traffic?

July 3rd, 2007

I’ve visited many websites that have “splash” or entry pages that come in many flavors: watching some animation, viewing a slideshow, or just a static graphic image. All of them prevent you from directly going to someone’s home page, and usually provide a link to “Skip Intro” to get to the home page in the event you don’t want to see the splash show. There are many articles out there written on whether splash or entry pages are a good idea or a bad idea, and I’d like to share with you an experiment one of my client’s ran recently to find out the answer.

If you’re tracking your website traffic closely, every visitor who leaves without making contact with you, whether it’s buying a product or filling out a contact form, is painful. It’s hard to watch people come and then leave without being converted to customers. Click here to learn more about how to track your website traffic.

One of my clients who recently launched his website was watching his traffic and wanted to do something to try and get contact information from his visitors so that if they didn’t buy his product, he could at least follow up with them.

So we tried an experiment. I created an entry page that asked for a name and an email address to receive a free newsletter. I also had a “Skip” button that led them to the site’s main homepage. This configuration was left on the website for three days, and the resulting data was obtained using (my favorite) Web-Stat website traffic tracking tool. The tool allows you to see the click-path of visitors, so we could clearly see whether someone went from the entry page to the main home page, or whether they left at the entry page.

Here’s the data that was collected over a three day period:

  • 17 visitors went from entry/registration page to main home page
  • 5 visitors left the website from entry/registration page without ever visiting the website

So 5/22 visitors, 23% left the website prematurely because of the entry/registration page, even though all they had to do to enter the page was choose “skip”. Sometimes asking folks for one extra click can be one click too many!

Now, what we don’t know, is if this experiment was run for a longer amount of time, if revenue made from pursuing potential customers who had registered would have offset the 23% decrease in traffic. But if all your entry page is doing is preventing people from getting to your home page, then I don’t see why anyone would use a entry page at all.

On an interesting note, this 23% entry page traffic loss matches the 25% number quotes in this article on “How To Convince Clients They Don’t Need A Splash Page” which is pretty amazing. It suggests that you will lose a significant portion of website traffic if you use a splash page or entry page or some other kind of page that prevents visitors from directly going to your home page. Since it was the only article I read that stated a particular percentage, I was happy when my client wanted to run an experiment to get our own data.

So that’s the end of the story. Splash pages and entry pages and any other kind of page that prevents visitors from going directly to your home page have the potential to drive away a quarter of your website traffic. I try hard to talk all of my clients out of them, and now I have real data!

Just say no to splash pages 🙂

Jill
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J. Olkoski
Aldebaran Web Design, Seattle
Jill Olkoski has a BS in Engineering, a BS in Computer Science and an MA in Clinical Psychology. She delights in using her advanced technical and psychological skills to help small business owners develop cost-effective and successful websites.



One Response to “Do Splash or Entry Pages Help or Hurt Your Website Traffic?”

  1. Eric S Says:

    Jill ran this experiment for us (http://www.500Realty.net). I thought it would be a great lead capture tool but instead the opinion by many invited visitors (people we solicited feedback from) was that most will not want to sign up for something until they learn more about it or the company. What’s really interesting is that once Jill removed the splash page and included the sign up link (free real estate newsletter) on each page – we began getting real people signing up daily for our newsletter! Although it was my idea to create this “experiment” I agreed with the majority that it was more of a turn-off than positive first impression.

    Jill helped us throughout, gave us guidance, and helped us analyze the data.

    My recommendation to anyone with a website is do NOT be afraid to try something! Test it, monitor it, and analyze it! I believe it’s how you continually improve your site.

    -Eric
    $500 Realty
    eric@500realtyinc.com




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