Home NewsAnnouncements Making the homepage work harder

Making the homepage work harder

by James


We’re experimenting with the homepage as part of a wider review of Folksy to better support buyers finding things to buy (and then actually buying them). In other words to support “conversion”, where conversion is helping someone to go on and find something they want to buy, or to subscribe to the gift buyer email, or to register on Folksy.

Some basic facts:

  1. The homepage is used by approximately one third of all people visiting Folksy
  2. Around 20% of all visitors land on the homepage (most people come from organic search and land on item pages)
  3. Dropoffs from the homepage visits are around 17%, so one in six people leave Folksy after viewing the homepage

The homepage is important. It’s a key gateway on Folksy to other content, as well as being an important shopfront to the kind of things that Folksy sells and what it is about.

Card by Birds on Bikes

Our heuristics (or rules of thumb) we’re testing are that conversion on the homepage is positively affected by:

  1. Inspiration! Many people coming to the homepage are looking for inspiration and don’t want to search for specific things but to be inspired on a journey
  2. New stuff! Dynamic content – content updated within a session as well as daily and weekly
  3. Good stuff! Content that is of a high quality or “looks good”
  4. Great signposting! Clear and relevant signposting to different types of content and work

In the last year, we don’t think we’ve done 1, 2 and 3 well enough. So we’re experimenting. You’ll see changes to the homepage, which we’ll be testing to see if our rules of thumb are right and to see if conversion improves. It’s a process of evolution. Some people don’t like change, in fact most people don’t like change but we have to evolve. The key is evolving in a way that impacts positively on conversion and peoples’ impression of Folksy.

Some of the feedback we’ve had so far:

  • Pinterest. The number of Pinterest items has been reduced from 12 to 8. Yes. There are two reasons for this: 1) We’re planning to have two boards working together as a carousel and eight items works best to deliver this as a carousel. 2) Many people creating these boards don’t include enough items to have 16 good items that are buyable. We needed 16 before, so we’d have 12 to display if items sold. Now we need fewer items, making the boards easier to curate.
  • Layout. The My Folksy banner pushes other content down below the fold on some screens. Yep, we’re changing the layout slightly today to combat that.

We’re listening to you and to the data. Look out for changes to the homepage over the next few weeks…

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Kat October 23, 2013 - 4:00 pm

This is going to be really controversial, but I think one of the things that lets Folksy down is that some sellers’ photographs are pretty shabby. I don’t know if there’s anything the team can do about this? It means that even if the front page is inspiring, if they search for something the results can look a bit dreary and amateur, which is frustrating for those of us who put lots of effort into our pics *retreats into trench*

James October 24, 2013 - 10:07 am

Hi Kat, Many people don’t realise how significant the presentation of themselves or their work is. Consequently whilst the work may be of a great quality the image quality means that the item isn’t desirable and isn’t bought. It’s a huge challenge and one with which we have very little ability to effect change. Showcasing people with good images and providing resources to allow people to know how to take good images, is something we’re focusing on.

Sarah Calver October 23, 2013 - 4:31 pm

Please, what about combating the issue with the back button. I can be scrolling through items, I select something to view, it isn’t quite what I was looking for, I click back. Then bang I’m back right at the very top of the page having pressed they more items 4 times previously. Not back to where I was. I have lost interest on many occasions due to this and look for something different on another website.
Also, please add more categories, I’m currently looking for Christmas decorations and have the whole Christmas thing in mind but there is no option to find it easily. And the search function isn’t helpful at all

James October 24, 2013 - 9:56 pm

Ah Sarah, you’ve hit upon the thorny issue of infinite scroll. I feel like I spent a month of my life last year which I’ll never get back, to defending infinite scroll. There are pros and cons to pagination versus infinite scroll. Pagination allows you to go back to where you were, but in usability tests is less effective in getting people to scan lots of content and choose things. It’s a matter of time before the issue is resolved and you’ll be able to go back to where you were (it already works in some browsers). More categories you say? We’re shortly to do some tests looking again at how people browse. We have a hunch (unproven as yet) that more people would prefer to browse fewer categories – in fact the top sections. One to test! The Christmas category is really only for decorations. Gifts for Christmas is pretty much anything on Folksy ;)

emma lamb October 23, 2013 - 4:50 pm

I love change! I especially love the changes you are making all over Folksy! Even with just these few tweaks the whole site is looking and feeling stronger. The whole concept of Folksy looks and feels much stronger and I am sure this will only lead to good things for everyone! Keep up the amazing work and keep all these great ideas coming. I know I appreciate them all hugely :) x

James October 24, 2013 - 9:48 pm


Sally B October 23, 2013 - 5:57 pm

These changes sound great, I particularly like the idea of feeding inspiration to buyers once they’re on the site as that seems to be an issue at the moment. I wonder if there would be a possibility of having a “recently viewed items” panel and maybe a small list of similar items to the product you’re viewing for extra inspiration? Finally, (and I’m afraid this doesn’t relate to the homepage) but any chance of getting voucher codes like Etsy? I think that would be a really effective marketing tool!
Sally (Morning Mr Magpie)

James October 24, 2013 - 9:48 pm

Hi Sally, thanks for your comment. All good ideas and things we’d like to do. As usual we have to prioritise the work we have in the backlog. Voucher codes = discount codes? They are something we’d like to do but we need to research their effectiveness first.

Leanne Woods October 23, 2013 - 7:07 pm

I’m very happy to see the number of items needed for a pinterest board has been reduced although I would still like to see them closer to the top of the page as before because they change more frequently. Needing 16 or 18 items for a board was becoming very prohibitive to the point where it made it very difficult to find enough well photographed items to fit and forced broader and, no offence, often very repetitive themes which sometimes made the front page a bit samey even though it changed daily.

Quick question, would you consider a couple of slots per week on fb or twitter that would allow people to suggest items for your favs board on the front page, obviously you’d still get the final call but it might add a bit more variety.


James October 24, 2013 - 9:40 pm

Hi Leanne, interesting idea. We want different ways to drive people into the host of things available on Folksy: editorially driven; community driven; “popular” (however defined); and new. We’ll see how we could manage incorporating more community driven content. One of the issues we have to manage is that community driven content takes longer than other forms of content to manage. But that’s our problem to solve.

Abi Simmons October 23, 2013 - 11:03 pm

I am quite new to selling on Folksy but all the changes I have seen over the last few months are really exciting. The front page looks beautiful. As a buyer as well, I find it really helpful having the new Folksy Favourites section and pinterest page. I love being shown ideas rather than hovering over the categories, wondering where to go, and then giving up.
This new look is making it very easy to start my Christmas list.

I am really pleased I joined, I am really enjoying being part of your Fabulous Folksyness!
Thank you!

James October 23, 2013 - 11:23 pm

Hi Abi, thanks for the feedback! We’re working to make Folksy a more interesting place to browse – we realise people aren’t always looking for something in particular so seeing new and different work is key. Let us know how you get on with your business and your Folksy shop – it’s great to have you.

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