Robert Beerworth Team : Web Strategy Tags : Facebook

Get over the Facebook Facepile on your website.

Robert Beerworth Team : Web Strategy Tags : Facebook

We have a mantra at Wiliam that you plan and design the homepage last.

After all, how do you know the cover of the book until you've written it?

Websites are no different.

Until you know all the features, functions, pathways, journeys, destinations and goals of your website, understanding what sits on the homepage and with what prominence is difficult. All you’re doing is guessing and in-turn, time-wasting.

Not only are you wasting time guessing, you’ll waste time when you invariably have to revisit the homepage and plug in the functions and content you subsequently discovered you needed and that was important.

All this said, I’ve observed truly painful meetings where people put their heads together to work out the content and features of their new homepage. People sit their mulling over what they think would be useful and necessary.

They visit the websites of competitors as inspiration.

They look at their ‘favourite’ websites (which must include an obligatory visit to Apple’s website).

They spin in circles.

To help out, let’s compile the homepage usual suspects; it’s like counting in Italian: 

Uno:                      Logo

Due:                      Navigation

Tre:                       Search

Quattro:               Carousel

Cinque:               Share Icons (Facebook, Twitter, Email etc)

Sei:                       Facebook Pile

Sette:                    Latest blogs/news.

Otto:                     ‘About’ statement.

Nove:                    Quick Links

Diece:                   Footer

Seem stock-standard and fairly uninspired? That’s because it is. You’ll end up with a website no better than your competitors. 

I could go on for hours about the carousel, which in 90% of instances should be shot. 40% of your screen real estate for a 7% click-thru rate? Wow. Why not grow weeds and lantana over your homepage and see how many people walk there?

Or Quick Links? Right in theory, so rarely well executed or considered.

Today’s blog is about the Facebook Facepile however, and its ubiquitous placement on so many homepages. 


Where despite its generally poor performance, people are prepared to hock over say a ninth of their homepage to advertise a social network that is not returning the favour.

Here’s why I think this.


What the Facepile should do versus what it does do

When Facebook was a novelty, the Facepile was pretty cool.

Our Facebook friends and their activity interested us and transferred equity and trust to whatever they touched.

If this website was good enough for my friends Mary-Beth, Kurt and Hugh, then it’s good enough for me. Even better, if my friends were among hundreds or thousands that ‘Liked’ it, even better.

Indeed, two years ago, Likes were a currency in-themselves and within Facebook itself, still are; we’re attracted to Facebook pages with thousands of Likes.

The Facepile (of which there are a few designs), allowed a website to not only show how many people Liked it, though also to show who liked it.

If the website was Liked, argument went that it was probably OK. It wasn’t likely to eat you or your credit card. 


Depending on the design of your Facepile, you were prepared to give up a bit of real-estate in return for that badge from Facebook telling your users, you were alright.

Fast forward a few years and things have changed vastly. 

  1. Facebook is not a novelty. Everyone in the universe is on it.

  2. We’ve seen a billion Facepiles. They blur into nothing. We don’t notice them.

  3. We don’t care that our friends have used a website or not. We don’t care that anyone has used the website . We’re here to use it and that is that, Facepile or not.

  4. We have much greater trust in modern websites – especially around security – and don’t need to rely on Facebook to tell us otherwise. Trust symbols and design tell us that, among other things. 


So, in the majority of cases, you’re putting an ad for Facebook on your homepage that nobody is looking at anyway.

Not so clever.


Can the Facepile ever work

Look, if you’ve got 19million Likes, I’d be promoting that.

People will notice that. Because that sort of number of Likes says something.

If you don’t, unless you want to bury the Facepile in the footer of your website which somewhat defeats its purpose, kill it.

Think pragmatically about whether the Facepile influences your browsing and the answer will be no.

Next blog, we’ll take out the carousel and really clean up the homepage.