Seth Godin has a great post in which he makes the following point:
You don’t need one home page. You need a hundred or a thousand. And they’re all just as important.
Bingo! If you’ve got your website set up properly, then every page is an entry page, and that page is probably highlighting a particular specialty, product, etc. The page is properly optimized for the search engines, hence you’ve got the holy grail: customers who want that particular product or service coming directly to the information on that product.
As such, the importance of the homepage is devalued, as all pages are potential points of entry. Each and every page should make a strong play for good SEO ratings, and should contain a strong call to action. When you realize that the bounce rate on most websites is well over 50% – that means you’ve got to make the pitch work *on that single page*. 1/2 your traffic will never go further than 1 page in depth!
Homework: look at your website from the point of view of a visitor coming in to a product page direct from a search engine. Evaluate your site based on that one page, and decide if you want your customers potentially making a buying decision based upon that information.
(If you don’t mind being a case study, let me know and perhaps I’ll do that evaluation for you – but bear in mind I’d like to blog the results.)
Jeffrey Harrell – Sitewide Menus Are Harmful – good info on treating everything as an entry page
Unofficial Google Analytics Blog – Defining Bounce Rate
Beth’s Blog – A good list of things they found using Google Analytics