Companies looking to boost the usability of their websites should avoid starting with the homepage when it comes to design and search engine optimisation.

This is the view of Chris Lake, editor-in-chief at Econsultancy, who said starting with the homepage is like designing the cover of a book before writing the story.

"The homepage is essentially an aggregator page," he explained in a blog post.

"Until you’ve figured out what can/should be aggregated then there’s no point trying to design it," he remarked.

Instead, website owners should start at a deeper level, perhaps designing and optimising product pages first and working back to category pages and then the homepage.

He said that this makes sense because product pages are where purchase decisions take place.

It is also important from a search perspective, as many visitors will bypass the homepage altogether and visit individual pages by clicking on search results or pay per click advertisements, for example.

In March, Gary Klingsheim, vice-president of Moonrise Production, said in an article for PromotionWorld that user-friendly websites are likely to boost the success of internet marketing campaigns, as they will enhance the overall experience of visitors.

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