03 Oct 2009

Splash Screens – to have or not to have…

22 Comments SEO for iWeb, Tips and Tricks, Web Design

That is the question. I have mentioned many times before on All About iWeb that I spend a lot of my time looking at other peoples iWeb-sites either for inspiration or to help solve their problems.

One thing I have noticed however is how many of you have splash screens. You know the sort of thing, a page that welcomes visitors with an image or 2 and the obligatory phrase ‘Click here to enter’.

This got me thinking; why do so many iWeb users have splash screens/pages?

Let’s start by explaining, what is a splash screen. In basic terms it is the first page that a user sees when they visit y0ur site. As a rule it offers no useful content but just serves to whet the appetite of the site visitor. Typically they are used by companies to provide details, or draw attention to the latest products and/or services on offer and (perhaps more commonly) by people in the design world to show off fantastic pieces of work.

In that sense they are a good idea. If you have a fabulous new idea, why not draw attention to it by putting it on the first page. To answer that question you must put yourself in the place of your average site user.

Splash screens annoy people; plain and simple.  Just like pop-up adverts annoy people. In a nutshell if the first page of your web-site is an advert then it is acting in exactly the same way as a pop-up advert that just ….popped-up in front of your web-site.

I am not saying don’t have splash screens, far from it. In the examples I have given above, having a well-designed start page can be a good idea. But it is the ‘well-designed’ part of that sentence that counts.

To begin with there is the navigation. If you are a designer or photographer and have your bestest image on a spash screen why do you only have a ‘Enter’ link. Why not put one for your portfolio too. And if your image really is that good why not let a user contact you too, to enquire about work.

The same applies to a company site. By all means advertise your latest product on a splash page, but add a link to the page on your site that has the rest of your products too, not just to your home page. Who knows, you could sell more.

It is common knowledge amoungst ‘half-decent’ web-designers that you only have a split second to catch the eye of your site visitor and if you don’t catch that eye the user will be off somewhere else. Give users the opportunity to explore further within your site rather than just ‘Enter’. Take a look at the two examples I created below; which do you think would be more useful to a visitor?

iweb_screen_splash

iweb_splash_screen

Of course the design and look of your splash page is not the only consideration you must take when creating it; there is SEO too. It is the first page of your site after all.

Search engines love keywords, everyone knows that. If you have a splash page as your iWeb sites first page where do you put all of those lovely keywords that relate to your site? The ‘Home’ page no doubt. You could get to the stage where your home page ranks higher than your splash page in a search engine and it eventually becomes redundant; it is something to bear in mind.

At a very minimum give all your images an ‘alt-tag’ using Rage’s iWeb SEO tool (or by adding them manually if you are that way inclined).

In a nutshell, if you must have a splash screen, start page, splash page, call it what you will, make sure it is useful and make sure it helps your SEO.

Do you use a splash screen on your iWeb site? Let us know why and leave a link in a comment.

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AllAboutiWeb (AAi) is your one stop shop for everything iWeb. We provide tips, tricks and more to get the most out of your iWeb website. Follow us in twitter at @allaboutiweb
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22 Responses to “Splash Screens – to have or not to have…”

  1. Reply Tim Feeny says:

    I use a splash page on my site. It has all my contact info on it, but helps potential clients to either go to the website or my blog. Either way, they get to see our latest wedding videos. I didn’t have a splash page for a long time but I always liked well designed ones so I figured it was time. I don’t know if it’s a coincidence but my bookings have gone up since, so I feel it’s a good idea.

  2. Reply Chik Quintans says:

    Tim, I like the idea of contact info on the splash page. Makes sense. Mine is connection point for my Blog and Social Networks.

  3. Reply Mikkel says:

    Hey all about i’web, instead of a splash screen, i’ve done a .swf as an intro to a project i am working on. You should tjeck it out. My project can be found here: http://enuki.dk . Remember that all the content in the main pages are, being built and are not complete.

    Nice thought 😉

  4. Reply Rob says:

    I once had a splash screen years ago, but I eventually got rid of it. I began reading that a lot of people find them very annoying. I for one would agree. I would prefer to just enter a site. All the best well-known sites don’t have splash pages, so it’s a good idea to stick with what works.

  5. Reply Teri Hannigan says:

    Ack! I hate splash screens! They are annoying because they require the visitor to do one more thing to get to where they want to go. The first page of a web site should contain EVERYTHING a visitor needs to get around the site. Make it EASY for me to do this! Don’t make me think!

  6. Reply Teri Hannigan says:

    Do I need to say that I DON’T use a splash screen? If people want to go to my blog, for example, they click on “Clayzilla Blog” in the nav bar.

  7. Reply Jay McIntyre says:

    I don’t currently use a splash screen, but I see it’s value when it comes to social networking, right now finding my twitter requires landing on my contact page or the blog.

  8. Reply Jason Rutz says:

    welcome to give me feedback?? not really a splash i don’t think.

  9. Reply Peter Wigglesworth says:

    I’m not sure if you’d call it a splash screen but the first page of our church website that I produce via iweb was produced because many folks who use PCs and IE in particular complained that the site was slow or didn’t show well. So I produced the intro screen to give the basic details of the church (and to encourage people to use safari or Firefox) so that if they only got this far they received the basic information!

  10. Reply Thierry says:

    Tim,
    Looking at my home page you can see all these pictures and I would like to create a splash screen from these. I used Keynote 09 to create a small presentation (about 30 seconds) where all my pictures come into place and I would like to create links to the albums they are related. My issue is the Keynotes 09 does not allow me to export to SWF type of file (Keynotes 08 used to do it but I do not have it).
    Do you know of any software (free) for mac that will allow me to convert my keynote presentation to a flash file that I will be able to put on my home page?
    Thanks for any idea.
    Thierry

  11. Reply Stephan says:

    Hi there. Splash screens are a left-over from the early years of the internet – the time of dialup modems. Pages had to load fast, especially the first one. That’s why they were only created with some welcome blah blah.

    I don’t know why they are still there. And I don’t know why I have one. Perhaps to make a fist impression on my name and logo instead of directly cluttering the page with links and information. I think a well designed identity can express a lot.

    So I think the best would be something like a inbetween. No Splash Screen but a simplyfied landing page…

    I have to think about it.

  12. Reply Marcia says:

    I love Mikkel’s splash page – simple logo right into website without having to click enter. How do you do that? How do you built a splash page that goes right into your home page with out clicking?

    Is it possible?

  13. Reply Mikkel says:

    Hi Marcia,
    You will have to create the transition with flash and then use flash vars to redirect. Send me a mail if you need futher help 😉

  14. Reply Rafael says:

    I do have a Splash Page (I guess)to show not items in sell but services for I am an Orthopedic surgeon.
    I would like to hear from all about iweb and from somebody in this post list if you please .
    Thanks

    • Reply All About iWeb says:

      Rafael,

      I have to agree with Mikkel, your site does look jumbled and far too busy. If I may mention the style a little too, it is a bit ‘last year’ if you know what I mean. You have some nice elements on there however and I like the idea of the x-rays at the top. It says what you do instantly.

      Tim

  15. Reply Mikkel says:

    Hi Rafael, there is several problems with your site, for example dosent your site resize very well and it’s way to big. The idea of your splash screen i clear and its easy to understand it, but you will need organize your content to make it easy for your visitors. 🙂

    Hope it helps.

  16. Reply Dan Marchese, Esq. says:

    I use a “splash page.” I thought it gets potential clients in the right mood. Many of my peers use web-design in spired by Picasso, that’s why I wanted a simple, calming splash. Tell me what you all think.

    • Reply All About iWeb says:

      Dan,

      Sorry I don’t like it. I don’t think it serves any purpose at all to your site. I know you have put your phone number on the bottom but the color is so light and the font so small it is almost impossible to read.

      Tim

  17. Reply Mattew Prentice says:

    I’m still a begginer but love the whole iLife/iWeb experience. I have been practicing and created a splash page of my own site http://www.matthewprentice.com which advertises another brain wave i had for a web site called http://www.offersmonthly.com using a bit of flash. I know it looks like somehting from the 90’s but i am working on it.

  18. Reply Nat says:

    I’m terrible at all this stuff as I am really new at it. Could someone tell me how to make a splash page? Is it as easy as I think it might be?

  19. Reply Phillip Copeland says:

    if you could look at mine and let me know what you think. i also made my video in Imovie, leave a comment for that to if you like.

    thanks

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