I'm currently starting some scoping and requirement gathering around potentially switching platforms (a long story) and during this got me wondering what made a great home page - what components do you guys have to bring things together, signpost and Call to Action your members?
So I think this depends on a few things:
1) Homepage for non-members
2) Homepage for existing members.
3) If 1) How much information do they have about you in the first place? Do you need to persuade them that you exist? Why you exist? That you are the best way for them to achieve their goals? That all their friends have joined? Or that this is the perfect place for people like them? This tends to vary but how well established the community is.
4) If it's the 2), then it's a case of whether the community is an ingrained habit or you're trying to create the habit. Early on the focus is usually on more immediate value. Later on it tends to shift to latest activity/what peers are doing.
At the most basic level, I always try to incorporate these two things: 1) human faces of real people who are members, and 2) some indicator of activity (could be recent comments, who's online, or something else to show there's a pulse).
The key focus of our home page is what can members glance at quickly and respond to on their mobile. Notifications, activity stream and quick action buttons are the main aspects for us. Advertising is another important but secondary factor.
Susan, what % of your traffic is visiting from mobile?