Two weeks ago, as an experiment, I removed the “Previous Entries” link on the bottom of the homepage that would take you Page 2 of the site. In its place I put a link to recent articles, reviews, and interviews.
My reasoning for the experiment was to test my hypothesis that those who wind up at the bottom of the homepage are most likely new readers. And therefore, offering a link to the “best of” content would be more relevant for them and more likely to convert them into regular readers. My metrics for success in this experiment were increase in overall site pageviews and an increased rate of growth of RSS subscribers.
Today I compared the analytics of the site for the past two weeks against the two weeks prior to the experiment.
During the two-week experiment visits to the Reviews, Interviews, and Articles archive pages all went up noticeably. Which was to be expected. However, there was virtually no marked increase in overall pageviews or RSS Subscribers.
As a third metric — reader feedback — the vast majority of feedback I did receive was that current readers missed having a link to Page 2.
And so, I’ve put the link to Page 2 back at the bottom of the homepage.
On a side note: the most-clicked-on link of the recent articles, reviews, and interviews was to the Reviews page. Clearly that’s a hot topic, so I added that as a stand-alone link in the footer in addition to the archives.