This site addresses the debate many website owners (typically those with an offline business who are venturing online) have about their desire to have a pretty image-based splash homepage versus what their SEO company tells them about them needing to have content and link-based navigation on the homepage with a clear answer.
To me it depends on your business, but short of someone who is a flash media designer or a world-renowned painter I’ll almost always argue for having a useful homepage with links and content. Content b/c the homepage is:
a) the most important page on your site, and
b) the page that should let the visitor know in 3 seconds what the rest of the site is all about
It should also be the starting point – the page that routes the visitor to whatever subtopic or deeper information they want. As such, clear navigation is needed. Since its the homepage, I also always prefer simple HTML a href hyperlinks so the search engines can then crawl all the internal pages.
I find that a great many business owners really want either image-splash pages or flash intro pages. They think it looks high-end and is entertaining. I have news for these business owners: People aren’t coming to your website to be entertained. They coming to get information, to find a product, to request information, to solve a problem. Short of ESPN and maybe the Cartoon Network and a few other such sites, they aren’t coming to be entertained. They don’t care about you or seeing a pretty, “neat” movie clip. They want to know how you can address their need in 3 seconds. Go!