You already know that the homepage is one of the most important pages in your online store. Many, if not most visitors, will land on your homepage, and a big chunk of your revenue will pass through the homepage. Unlike a product detail page who’s job it is to sell a particular product, the homepage has to cater to lots of different groups of visitors: not only to those who want to buy, but also to those who are doing product research, looking for support, checking order status, etc… Incidentally that is why I typically don’t recommend A/B testing the homepage, at least not right off the bat.
From a conceptual point of view there ought to be the perfect landing page for any given search query. Search engines get better and better at sending visitors to the most relevant page deep in your site, but in practice the homepage will receive traffic for all sorts of different keywords (not just branded terms) because the homepage has so much SEO pull.
How does this relate to web analytics? Using the power of segmentation I recommend that you look at your data through the lens of just visitors who landed on your homepage.
Here is the visitor segment in YWA:
and the corresponding one in Google Analytics:
Once you have applied the segments to your reports, it will first reinforce the importance of the homepage:
In this example you can see that a third of all transactions pass through the homepage. Next, look at entrance keywords and take in the scene. You may have hundreds if not thousands of different keywords landing on your homepage!
Many of them will be branded terms, but look in particular for non-branded terms. Do you match your visitor’s intent by showing them relevant content? Look at your homepage and ask yourself if you do. Just focus on the top 10 or 20 keywords because you can’t or shouldn’t optimize for everything.
Another good metric to look at is bounce rate for those keywords. Are any of them bouncing more than others?
Final Tip. Do you have product specials on the homepage? Don’t put them on willy-nilly. Folks will click on what you display (most likely in the order you present them)! The homepage *is* extremely valuable real estate.
Go treat your homepage with the respect it deserves and have fun!