First, you have to understand that the Home Page originates from the concept of a document hierarchy. Where the top most document is referred to as the home, and all child documents in sub-categories are it's descendants. To navigate from any given point in the hierarchy to the top was to return
Document Structure When Applicable
Home Page is only possible when a document structure exists in the current context. There are many possible website designs that don't follow a hierarchy, and therefore a home link isn't effective. pinterest.com has a never ending image feed as you scroll down, and some other websites have everything on a single page.
Why Go Home?
In a document hierarchy the most common place to locate the table of contents is at the top on the first page. From there you can navigate deeper into the hierarchy. If you don't keep meaningful links on your home page, then why send visitors there? There is no rule that says the home page has to be the table of contents, and more websites are relocating these links to sub-sections like
/blog where people can discover deeper content.
Home Page Virus Landing-Page
A home page and a landing page are the same thing. They both represent the top-level of a document hierarchy. Many websites create micro-sites that have their own home page, and use that home page as a landing page for marketing campaigns. When a visitor arrives at the micro-site they can read/discover information regarding the promotion they landed on.
When a visitor is in a micro-site the
Home link may take them back to the landing page rather then the main domains root. This is perfectly acceptable, because the landing page can be thought of as the table of contents for the micro-site. As long as the visitor is able to quickly find what they need. There is no problem.
What's better? Disallowing users to go back to the sales/landing pages, and redirecting them to their content/dashboard home?
Relative context is important to users. There is no benefit in directing them to the sales page if they have already purchased. You should not
block those pages, but simply take them to their dashboard. If someone says
but then they can't..... then the problem is with the dashboard, not where you redirected them.
or redirecting them back to the original home page when they click home?
For logged in users. Move the
Home link to the footer, and replace the upper menu
Home options with the word
My Dashboard or
My Home, and then take them to their dashboard.
Should the root page even be called a home page?
http://www.example.com/ is the home for that entire domain, and
http://www.example.com/blog/ is the home for the blog, and
http://www.example.com/blog/features/ is the home for the features category. Home is
What should it be called?
I don't know when the word
Home started to be used, but it's actually the table of contents and that doesn't sound very good. So call it anything that explains
this page gives you info about other pages. Words like
Categories, etc. can all be thought of as home pages. It's all relative to what they index.