Years ago splash pages seemed to be all the rage. Thankfully there are far fewer web sites that use splash pages. But, there are several prospective customers that still request splash pages and several web sites that use splash pages. This leads back to the all too common struggle of being cool versus useful. Remember what motivates web users: useful information.
Here is the typical scenario when being exposed to a splash page over time. The first time you see a good splash page, it is "really cool." The second time you load up the splash page it is "nice." By the third time around you are looking for the "Skip Intro" button. Hopefully there is a skip intro button. Each subsequent visit is followed by prickly comment under your breath.
My issue with splash pages is that they are usually used as a canvas for pictures and sound. For too many graphic designers the splash page becomes an opportunity to showcase their talents. There are some great looking splash pages that do little to enhance the user experience. Imagine if your favorite news site used a splash page before allowing you entry? Highly trafficked news sites know that doing so would be online suicide.
Splash pages are detrimental to on site search engine optimization efforts. Because splash pages typically include a large graphic or flash multimedia, it leaves little for the search engines to index. Remember that search engines look for HTML content to crawl. You can still rank decently with a splash pages, but it is difficult.
I have yet to come across a splash page that is really useful or enhances the marketability of a web site. Splash pages are a barrier to entry. Most people prefer to not to sit through all the commercials and trailers before seeing a movie. It is our recommendation to avoid using splash pages altogether. Make sure the first page to load on your site is full of useful content, not flashy introductions.