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SA Web Awards Blog

Splash Pages

5 July 2011

What is a Splash Page?

Wikipedia defines a splash page as a "page of a website that is a sort of pre-home page front page". That's a bit clumsy, so to put it another way: if you implement a splash page it will be the page that a visitor to your website lands on before proceeding to your home page.

In this article we highlight the difference between that rare gem we call the "Useful Splash Page" and the rest of them unaffectionately called "Senseless Splash Pages".

Useful Splash Pages

Under some circumstances a splash page may actually be useful and add value to your website. Some examples of when you may want to use a splash page are:

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They allow visitors to choose settings that suit them

Splash pages give visitors an opportunity to choose settings that suit them, such as language preference, country choice, or Flash/HTML versions of your website. Even in these cases there may be other ways to give your visitors the same choices.

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They are a fast-loading introduction to a large home page

I'm not a fan of big home pages that take ages to load, but if you must have one then a splash page that is designed to load quickly can be useful.

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They can draw visitors' attention to something

Splash pages can be used to issue a warning, disclaimer or other important information to your visitors, such as content that may not be suitable for some visitors.

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They can highlight website restrictions

Splash pages can be used to let your visitors know that your site has minimum hardware or software requirements. For example, your site may require Flash. Or your site may require a minimum version of a browser. Or perhaps your site is designed for a specific screen resolution. (And that's a separate subject!) But again, there are other ways of dealing with these issues.

Senseless Splash Pages

If your splash page does not qualify as a "useful splash page" (see above) and you still want to use it, consider these disadvantages first:

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They annoy your visitors

The feedback we receive here at SA Web Awards indicates that the biggest problem by far with splash pages is that they annoy the visitors to your website. Unless you have a very good reason for implementing a splash page, we recommend not using one.

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Advertising splash pages are the worst!

Some sites use a splash page purely for advertising. This must rank as one of the most annoying implementations of online advertising!

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Search engines may have problems indexing your site

Depending on the type of splash page and how it is implemented, search engines may have difficulty indexing your website.

When to use a Splash Page

Unless a splash page is really, really beneficial to your website, rather don't have one.

Some people don't mind splash pages, but most people dislike them. One of our reviewers recently equated splash pages to annoying pop-up windows.

So, you decide... If your site has a senseless splash page then you could be annoying some of your visitors. How many? 50%? 80%? Who knows? The point is that if you don't have a senseless splash page, nobody will notice and you won't be annoying anybody!

Further Reading

 
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