In PART ONE of this two-part article on creating a perfect Website Homepage, we covered navigation, branding, content, graphics, welcoming visitors and search boxes. In this second part article we will talk about the importance of naming links and keywords, privacy, security, pop-up windows, accessing and finding homepage archives and shopping carts.

1. Begin Link Names with the Most Important Keyword

Visitors scan a homepage looking for content that serves their goals. Links on homepages give visitors the option to click on relevant keywords that lead them content they are trying to find.  Starting each link with a relevant word, makes it easier for scanning eyes to differentiate it from other links on the page and making it easier to quickly find what they need.

2. Privacy

If your site gathers any customer information, include a “Privacy Policy” and “Terms of Use” link on the homepage. This is not only standard practice, it is required by the FCC (Federal Communications Commission). People have the right to know what their information will be used for. These links can go on the footer of your homepage and can be combined into one page or can be two separate pages on your website.

3. Shopping Carts

If you have a shopping cart feature on your site, include a link to it on the homepage.

4. Security

If you sell products and accept payments on your website you also need a Security notice and icon that further confirms to the visitor that your site is “safe” to buy from. These policies should be part of your template and the links should show up (generally on the footer) of your website.

5. Avoid Popup Windows and FLASH

Popup windows delay the visitor gratification of viewing your website’s content and they are annoying. Even if they contain valuable information, most people will simply click off the box to close it or worse, leave your site. And flash, well lets just say it is considered worthless for most websites. Unless you are an artist and are selling “flash” or someone where flash would enhance the user-experience, DON’T USE IT. Instead, important information strategically placed on the homepage will get noticed and even clicked on. This is where a well-designed graphic comes in handy.

6. Archives and Accessing Past Content

If you are a frequent visitor to certain sites, you understnd the importance of accessing information you found the last time you visited. And if the home page has been changed in any way, website owners or designers sometimes make the mistake of not acknowledging that content in the way archives. When you make it easy to access content that was recently viewed on the homepage and then removed, you keep frequent visitors returning. You do this by adding an archive link or “recent content or features” link on your homepage navigation. This is especially important if content on your homepage rotates (such as featured products or featured stories or featured news. When the content moves to the archives it then becomes a permanent link in your website and people will then be able to bookmark that link for future reference.

There are additional things you could do to enhance your website’s homepage but these and the other seven things in PART ONE will create a more functional, visitor focused website. When properly executed these 13 homepage tips will increase your search engine rankings AND your visitor experience.

Read the Article 5 Design Rules to Make Your Website Visitors Stay Longer

Heidi Richards Mooney, Founder & CEO of Women in Ecommerce™ has been networking online since early 2007 and is the author of five wordpress blogs as well as strategist and content creator for several of her clients. She has a Facebook Profile, 5 Facebook Pages, is one of the top 5% on Twitter, and runs 3 groups on LinkedIn. Her new book, due out in the Summer of 2011 is “How to Hire the Perfect Web Designer: What Questions to Ask so You Don’t Loose Your Time, Your Mind and Your Money!”