Who's The General Manager Of Your Homepage?

This week AOL appointed former NBC Universal exec Chris Grosso to the newly created post of "general manager of the Homepage." 


I was intrigued by this announcement. Not because of AOL's decision to appoint Grosso, but because his title underscores the respect and authority that any homepage deserves.

Homepages are the virtual storefronts and front desks to so many businesses. It won't be long before no business can survive without a meaningful homepage.

Which is why it's shocking that -- even in 2010 -- so many homepages are sloppy, neglected and mismanaged. I see violations across all industries, from advertising agencies, to law firms, manufacturing holding companies, financial services companies, CPG, high-tech and even interactive specialist firms.

A lot of people think homepages don't matter that much. But they matter a lot.



In this hyped age of social media, syndicated content and apps-are-alive-and-the-Web-is-dead bologna, it is still your homepage that is the most reliable and potent online application for your business.

With few exceptions, the homepage lets you be discovered and found more than anything else in the digital world.

The homepage both reflects and forms your business's identity. It increasingly sets message and tone for all other presence.

The homepage is where high-intentioned customers and influential stakeholders go when they want "the source" or "the information of record." It is where they go when they want to "check you out" and verify that you are legite. It's where they go to obtain answers from real people at your organization, to find out what you sell, or even to get your phone number and physical location. 

The homepage is also the one place on the Web where you have complete control to attract, filter, engage and measure your stakeholders on your terms, with great precision.

And because it's the one high-profile place where you have complete control, it's also where you're judged with most scrutiny. 

It's one of those places where you can do really well, or completely blow it.

And that's why every business homepage needs a general manager.  

It should not be a hobby or an afterthought. 

It must be a strategic priority, passionately owned by a senior-level executive. 

2 comments about "Who's The General Manager Of Your Homepage?".
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  1. Steven Graff from Bloofusion Inc., September 17, 2010 at 12:17 p.m.

    I hope that the use of homepage here is a metaphor for the whole site. Sure most branded searches will lead users to your homepage, and it is therefore important it is not neglected or untested, but the analogy of a homepage being the welcome mat or front door to your site has not been appropriate since the majority of internet users shifted from search directories to search engines.

    The most basic review of your site logs will show that it is the non-home pages which see the greatest number of entries and often these non-homepage entrants skip the homepage all together. And if you think most homepages are a mess, then the vast majority of secondary and tertiary pages are disasters! Most fail to clue the visitor in to what business you and perhaps as many as 80% have no clearly identifiable business or user objective.

    For a portal like AOL to have a general manager of the homepage makes a great deal of sense, but the vast majority of companies would be better served by having an executive own the whole site and elevate their participation to the general management level.

  2. Joe Kutchera, September 17, 2010 at 3:53 p.m.

    Great article. Another key responsibility of the "general manager of the Homepage" is to negotiate the needs/wants to the different constituents within a company/organization that want a presence on that key piece of real estate. Imagine, for example, how many different product groups at Target want a link on the home page of That's a big job. Any big company needs that manager today and in the future.

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