If skeptical using feedback as your metric, look to the Web server's log files for the truth. Your objective is to compare the number of visitors that viewed your home page against the number that clicked beyond it.
Some traffic analysis software (i.e. WebTrends Log Analyzer) makes this extremely easy. With WebTrends, look for the line item that reads, "Single Access Pages." It's located inside the "Resources Accessed" section. Find the number next to your home page. (It's most likely the first listed.) That number represents the number of visitors who left your Web site after viewing the home page.
Now locate the number of visitors who entered your Web site on the home page. It's listed in the same section under "Top Entry Pages." Divide the number above (home page single access) by the number who entered on your home page and multiply by 100 to calculate home page "ineffectiveness."
You should have something like (105/813) * (100) = 12.9%. Finally, subtract 12.9 from 100 to calculate home page effectiveness.
100% - 12.9% = 87.7% effective.
But, what if you don't have WebTrends Log Analyzer? How do you calculate home page effectiveness with a less-capable program? It's more difficult, but possible.
First, determine which pages are accessible from your home page. Next, use your log file report to determine the number of unique visits (or unique page impression) those pages received and subtract the number of visits from those who entered on that page respectively. Add those "differences" together to calculate total visitors who viewed pages accessible from the home page but did not enter on them.
Still with me?
If your Web site has 5 pages accessible from the home page, you should have something like (600-50) + (400-25) + (300-33) + (200-41) + (100-43) = 1,408.
For the grand finale, take two aspirin and determine the number of visitors who entered your Web site on the home page. Then divide the number above (1,408) by the number who entered on your home page (let's say 6,000) and multiply by 100 to calculate home page "ineffectiveness."
You should have something like (1,408/6,000) * 100 = 23.4%. Finally, subtract 23.4 from 100 to calculate home page effectiveness.
100% - 23.4% = 76.6% effective.
Ok, the math lesson is over. If you take anything away from this article, let it be this�
Your home page is by far the most important and critical part of your Web site. Its first impression alone determines whether a visitor clicks-through to an interior page or leaves forever. And unfortunately, negative experiences propagate faster than positive.