The home button can be a logo or the “Home” link on a website. In the case of FishTrain we use both. The home button serves three purposes: Navigation, Refresh, and Placement.
The home button acts as navigation to return users to the homepage. In a way, it lets you reset. The importance of this is that no matter how deep you traverse down a website it helps you find your way back.
In addition, the home button can act to refresh the homepage (although, AJAX sites don’t need to refresh in this way).
In the case of MySpace and Facebook, the refresh can show new messages, friend requests, birthdays, bulletins and newsfeeds. Users are constantly clicking on the home button to get the latest updates. Usually, users click on the home button more than any other link.
Due to continued clicks on the home button, it is important that advertisement-driven sites strategically place ads on the homepage where they can best be seen. Often, the best placement of ads is within direct line of sight to the home button. Facebook has a well-positioned banner ad on the left-side of the screen, below their home button.
The diagram below is from Google AdSense Help Center. It describes the best, general ad placement positions on a website. Obviously, this will vary from website to website as there are many factors such as colors, fonts, images, and text that come into play. You will need to read your own statistics and analytics to determine where the best ad placements belong. However, this serves as a good guide for general use cases. The colors range from light colors (weaker performance) to dark colors (strong performance)
Notice that several of the hotspots are directly below the navigation bar and to the left or center. Why is this? The center position is more of an obvious case, because it is highly visible on the page. In countries where text is read from left-to-right, the left-side of the page is more noticeable. In countries where text is read from right-to-left, I would suspect that the right-side of the page will be more noticeable.
So far on FishTrain, we have ads only in a few locations the homepage, making the effectiveness of our statistics more difficult to quantify. However, based on our numbers, the effectiveness of our ads are, in order: top-right, middle-right, bottom-center, and left. Somehow, that defies the logic above. Our text is read from left-to-right, but for some reason the right-side of the page is more noticeable than the left-side. Why do you think that is?
If the site is not advertisement-driven, it can still benefit from the knowledge of knowing where to put important information so it is easily noticed.
The home button is an important piece of a website. Whether it is a logo or “Home” link it is equally important. Learning how to capitalize on the home button can help you determine where to position content and place functionality on your site.