Using a “flashy” landing page as the standard entry to your site can cause more harm than good. Flash movies can be cool and attention-grabbing, but if your visitor is looking for specific information on your site, the added time to view your cute little introduction could aggravate them enough to leave your site before they even arrive at your true Home page.
Combine “Flash” with “Function”
Instead of requiring visitors to click on “skip intro” or “enter site” after 5 seconds of wasted time, consider just making your actual main website page more interesting while maintaining easy navigation to each topic. If you’re sure that surfers would enjoy your site more with some added excitement, just work backwards and include a cute little button to “View our movie” or “Watch us in action”. You can have your cake and eat it too, but you’re not annoying the percentage of folks who want to be helped quickly.
When entry pages are OK
To play it safe, take your cue from competing websites. If you have a beer website and all of the other breweries play cool videos, maybe that’s what visitors will expect of you. (Just don’t forget to give them the “skip” option). If you’re in the music or art field, an animation or brief movie makes more sense to showcase your talent. A legal site with dancing lawyers could drive away visitors within seconds – even if the entire video actually would have made a good point if viewed to the end.
Guidelines for media use
Everything on your site should support your message. If a video really would be the easiest way to convey your thoughts, include the link prominently on your index page along with brief explanation such as:
“See how we can help you in this 30 second video!”
Give the viewer control and give the viewer the information they need.
Audio messages can be helpful, but speakers may not be turned on, so again, instead of the default being set to play an audio message when site is entered, show a link to click for the message and include an alternative such as a page with the same introductory text along with photos. Even a PDF document that can be downloaded for easy printing (of course you list your website address and contact info on the pdf!!)
Make it easy for visitors to find what they want and put control into their hands and it’s more likely that they’ll stick around to the next step of the buying process!