Why have a home page? I mean, really, who uses it? There's nothing important on it that can't be found elsewhere, and it's just a big political football. Why not just put up a nice 404 page and leave it at that?
OK, OK, I was just kidding (sort of). Your home page is more than just a huge political nightmare. It serves, in fact, a large number of audiences, a large number of purposes, and takes on a lot of different roles.
Let's start of easy with large-scale types of purposes. We can work down to more detail from there.
- Answer the question, “What is this place?”
- Don’t get in the repeat visitor’s way
- Show what’s new
- Provide consistent, reliable global navigation
- Branding for whom?
- Marketing of what to whom?
- Communication of what to whom to what end?
- Navigation to where for whom?
If you have other gross-level purposes, I'd like to hear them.