Take a look at your online portfolio or art website. If it contains a splash page, it’s a whole lot harder for visitors to find your site through search engines—and that, of course, doesn’t help your chances of making a sale.
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What are splash pages? And why are they so bad?
A splash page is a special type of web page placed at the very front of a website (even before the home page). The term “splash page” comes from the word “splashy” since these types of pages are supposed to make a great big visual impact on the viewer.
Usually a splash page just consists of one amazing image (or sometimes an interactive flash video) and very little text, if any. Yes, it may look fantastic, but if it means that fewer people find your site, it’s not really helping.
Here are three specific reasons why splash pages aren’t a good idea if you’d like more people to find your website.
1. Splash pages hurt your home page’s rankings
The front page of your website is what people usually link to. Because of all those inbound links, that’s the page with the best chance to rank well in the search engines.
If your splash page is the front page of your website, you lose the benefit of all those links to your most important page—your home page! Even worse, some folks will probably link to your “home page” and some will link to your front/splash page which essentially halves the ranking power of both pages.
I’ve written about deep linking techniques before, but to put it simply, a good home page will link to other pages of your site as much as possible. Just as YOUR home page benefits from other websites linking to YOU, so do your subpages benefit from your home page linking to them.
So consider an artist’s website with a splash page in front and just ONE link leading to a home page. Even if the home page links to a gallery page, and the gallery links to some actual paintings, those paintings have little to no chance of showing up in Google or Yahoo search results—all the “link juice” coming in is bottled up at the splash page, then diluted on its way down!
Remove the splash page and each of those those individual art pages are one step closer to the source, which means they have a much better chance of ranking higher up in the search engines.
3. Splash pages confuse the search engines
With so little text on them, traditional splash pages don’t give search engines anything to work with. They’re just a picture, after all, or a video!
Google and other search engines return millions of websites for billions of searches every day, and they’re not in the business of reading minds. If you don’t have text explaining your art and who you are on the first page of your site, you’re seriously hurting your chances of ever being found.
And by the way, that technique of having a decent amount of text on your home page goes hand-in-hand with this article on describing your art for Google, which covers some important aspects of making sure your artwork can be found online.
Unfortunately, a lot of artists pay for a website and don’t realize that the pretty splash page in front (usually showcasing a large image of their art) is part of the reason they’re not getting much traffic.
There’s also a much better option.
Just a final note. . . as I was writing this article, I kept thinking about a certain type of website that’s completely opposite of a “splash page website” in every way. (And I’m sure you know where I’m going with this.)
Blogs are anti-splash like nothing else.
A blog’s home page is always full of text (keeping the search engines happy) with tons of links leading deeper in (no bottleneck). And art bloggers love to link to other art blogs which definitely helps your home page rank well in the long run.
If you need additional reasons to start your own art blog, here are nine more. Otherwise, just stay away from splash pages. . . they’re simply not worth the trouble.