While getting people to enter your site through the home page of your Web site is ideal for conversion, occasionally visitors will enter through a sub-page, not designed for that same means.

Repeated entry through sub-pages (indexed within search engines or mentioned in message boards) can cause retention and conversion rates to plummet, even as traffic is growing, causing you to wonder what is going on.

Marketers need to be aware of this issue and regularly utilize Web site analytic tools to keep a watchful eye on pages, to make sure they are effectively converting visitors. Here's what marketers should know about the homepages they may not know about, and what they need to do to optimize their Web pages with this in mind.

Getting a grasp on the home pages you don't know about

Traffic spikes are welcomed by most marketers, but it is necessary to closely monitor entry points and Web site conversion rates during these periods. Most traffic spikes can be anticipated. But other times, traffic may be referred to alternate homepages, due to...

  • Natural search engine listings
  • Affiliate marketing programs
  • Online ad campaigns (banners and paid search)
  • Message boards
  • Product reviews
  • Corporate or partner press releases
  • Web sites that carry a link to your site

For these reasons, marketers should consistently monitor entry pages. This can be easily done by examining scheduled key performance indicator reports.

In addition, it's critical to pay attention to the audiences coming in through unanticipated entry points. By assessing who these users are and determining what content catches their interest, marketers can build pages that better drive conversions.

Assessing traffic spikes and conversion rates

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Julie Rosefsky is the site optimization specialist at Red Door Interactive (www.reddoor.biz).