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When users first access your website, you can build a splash page so it’s, by default, the first page a user sees.

“Sweet!  Tell me more!”

This splash page is displayed before a user gets to your actual website and can display special offers or promotions you may be running.

“Wow, this seems so cool!”

You can get the info you want in front of perspective customers before they actually visit your website.

“Where’s my developer?  What’s her number?  I want to call her right away to get to work on a ‘splash page’ for us!”

Wiiiiiipeout!

Splash pages seem like a great idea.  They offer the opportunity to get a good promotion or offer in front of a potential customer as soon as they visit your site.

But splash pages do more harm than good.  In fact, they do much more harm than good, crippling your site’s user-experience and search rankings.

The team at Amplify do not recommend building splash pages for the following reasons:

  1. Many users find splash pages to be annoying and often do not click past the splash page and immediately leave.
  2. You may have the coolest flash intro splash page ever… but nothing buzz saws a user’s experience than seeing a “Flash Player 8 or higher is required. Click here for download.” error message. Would you want to stick around and browse the website after seeing that?
  3. Splash pages essentially replace your home page.  Your home page is critically important in “setting the stage” and establishing your site’s over-arching theme and search terms with search engines.
  4. Having a splash page in-place can really get your search engine rankings out-of-wack.

Simply put, as appealing as a splash page might be, they’re not user-friendly and kill your site’s search rankings.

UPDATE (11/19/08)

It appears that Google is testing out “skip intro” links in their search results – apparently nobody likes splash pages. Google Tests “Skip Intro” Link in the SERPs

While they haven’t rolled this out in the US – yet – it’s a pretty good indication that splash pages aren’t an ideal way to go about things. Think about it – if you put a ‘skip intro’ link on your splash page – aren’t you kind of acknowledging the fact that the page is a waste of time?

About Christian Bullock

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