By Laura Christianson
In my first article in this series on websites, we took a big picture view, looking at five ways to ramp up your website’s “curb appeal” or attractiveness factor.
Today, we’re focusing on the Home page, where visitors usually land first. A Home page functions a lot like a book cover. It delivers the first impression of your brand and entices people to look “inside.”
What’s your Home page’s focus?
Some people assume that a blog should be the only content on the Home page. If your business revolves around blogging, that might work.
My business does. Blogging is at the heart of all I do (which explains my business name, Blogging Bistro). But my blog isn’t the only content on my Home page. The page features:
- An excerpt from my latest blog post
- Links to several popular posts
- Overview of my core services
- E-newsletter signup form
- Mini project portfolio
- Testimonials from clients
- Contact information
Even though blogging is a big part of my business, it’s only one facet of how I serve my clients.
The purpose of a Home page is to give visitors a “book cover” illustration of who you are, what you do, and how you can serve them. When your blog is the sole component on the page, the cover illustration looks more like a novel.
Outdated blog posts are the kiss of death
When I visit websites where the blog IS the Home page, I check the date the most recent post was published. If the dateline is 2015, I’m outta there!
When someone’s Home page proclaims they don’t care about updating their blog, I assume all the content on the site is outdated. I refuse to give my time to a blogger who doesn’t blog consistently.
Every post must directly relate to how you can help your reader
You’ve heard the adage, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” When your blog is the Home page, first impressions are shaped by the post that displays at the top of the page.
What if you wander off-topic and blog about something unrelated to your writing or speaking brand? Do you want first-time visitors to judge the relevance of all your content based on a random blog post?
When readers feel confused about who you are, what you do, or how you can help them, you’ll lose them.
Unless every post relates directly to your core message and mission, it’s wise to move your blog to an interior page.
But people won’t notice my blog on an interior page!
Never fear. Moving your blog to an interior page is not going to adversely affect your brand. Google’s search bots won’t assume you’ve stopped publishing fresh content and Google won’t prevent your site from showing up in the search engine results.
Here’s how to work around these concerns:
Discoverability: Include an excerpt from your most recent blog post on your Home page. Your excerpt will link directly to that post. One click gives readers access to your entire blog.
Fresh content: Blog on a weekly basis. Google indexes every post. Help Google out by incorporating searchable keywords in your article that relate to the post’s content.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Google is more likely to discover your site when your blog is on an interior page. Your Home page will feature juicy, brand-specific content and you’ll also have another page that displays a directory of your blog posts.
I checked my site’s Google Analytics, and the page that consistently gets the most traffic is my Home page. My second most-visited page is my blog’s directory.
Moving your blog off your Home page helps, rather than hinders, your site’s SEO.
Think about your objectives for your Home page.
- What’s the most effective way to introduce your writing or speaking ministry and build trust with your readers?
- What do you want visitors to your Home page to do? Where do you want them to go next?
Design your Home page to reflect your top priorities.
Need more help figuring out what to put on your Home page?
Join me for a free small group coaching session, “De-Clutter Your Website’s Home Page.” During this live, interactive video conference call, we’ll do a head-to-toe evaluation of your website’s Home page, and I’ll share top tips for creating a Home page that makes a fantastic first impression.
I offer this training monthly. Learn more and reserve your slot in an upcoming session.
Laura Christianson helps entrepreneurs transform their online presence from bland to bold. She owns Blogging Bistro, a business that builds custom websites/blogs and provides website education and coaching. Laura has authored several books and thousands of articles. She serves as Marketing Director for West Coast Christian Writers.