This week we are talking all about static home pages and why you need one for you blog.
I am super exited to let Jennifer take the reigns on this topic. Jennifer has a Masters Degree in Software Engineering and worked as a software developer.
More about Jennifer later, but first let's have her teach us a bit more about static home pages and why we should consider using them on our blogs.
Why You Need a Static Home Page
When you're starting out building a website, especially if you're blogging, it is so easy to use your blogroll as your home page. It's easy, it's simple, and in a lot of ways it makes sense.
If you are a blogger, people are coming to your website to read your blog (and really you should be blogging). Shouldn't your blog posts be front-and-center? Shouldn't they be the star of your website for everyone to see?
While I can appreciate the logic, your home page is way more important than what you're currently giving it credit for.
It’s not just a place for your latest posts, not in this Internet day and age. What worked in 2009 doesn’t work in 2019.
You see, your blog isn't just a blog. If at any point you decide that you'd like to make some money off of your blog, it's a business.
As a business, there are certain things that you need to do in order to stay professional. Anytime you introduce money, it becomes a business.
What is a static home page?
Instead of showcasing your blog posts on your home page, consider a static home page.
A static home page is a custom-designed page that does not change every time you publish a new blog post. Instead, it points to certain pages that you dictate, and provides a clear path for your website visitor if they land on your home page.
It acts as a sign post that tells your visitors where they should go.
A good home page will introduce your brand and your business. It will help your visitors find your best content, and make them feel at home on your website.
It will show them your best blog posts, the ones they need to get started with your topic, and give them a way to learn more about your business (like joining an email list).
Shouldn’t it be my blogroll?
I know how tempting it is to have the blog be the first thing they see.
But here's the thing…
Your latest blog post, is it your best post ever? Is it the best post that a new reader should see? Is it going to convince someone to sign up for your email list?
If you didn't answer yes to every single one of these questions and you cannot answer them for every single one of your blog post, then your potential first-time visitor may end up going to the wrong content for them.
If you blog about multiple topics, someone may end up on a topic that they don't care about.
In that case they're likely to bounce, versus if you had pointed them in the right direction from the start, you might just have a massive fan on your email list at this point.
And by not having a static home page, you’re not doing yourself any favors when it comes to search engine optimization (or SEO).
Why do search engines care?
How to search engines come into play here?
Your home page isn’t the most visited page anymore. Most likely, people will go to a blog post first, or a product page. However, while it may not be the most visited page, it’s most likely your most linked to page.
When someone recommends your blog, product, or services, do they always link directly to the specific page? Or do they sometimes link to your website in general?
I’ve found from personal experience it’s about 50-50. I get a lot of links to my home page when I submit a quote for a roundup, or when I write a guest post like this one.
When someone links to your website, it helps build authority in the eyes of the search engine. If your content wasn’t good, why would someone be linking to it?
It’s one of the many ranking factors for Google, and also one of the biggest ones. The more quality links you get, the more weight Google gives to your website in the search results.
Your home page usually ends up with a lot of authority. And that’s where things take an interesting turn.
From that page, the search engines spread out that authority to the pages that are linked from your home page. So if you have a blog roll, it’s going to your most recent posts.
Are all of those posts big money makers for you? I’m going to guess probably not.
We want those best pieces of content to rank as high as possible in the search results because the higher they are, the more likely someone is to click on them.
Do you start searching for an answer on the 20th page of the search results? I didn’t think so.
What should be on the homepage?
The more links you have on your home page, the weaker that authority gets.
So, we want to limit ourselves to the best links so they get a good boast in authority.
I usually try to stick with three amazing pieces of content, but that's something you can play around with.
While people may not land on your home page at first, they are likely to go there next if they want to learn more about you and your business.
Your home page therefore must serve as a guide post to help them get to where they want to go.
My suggestion to clients usually starts with a clear and straightforward tagline, your logo, a picture of yourself (smiling!), and your mission statement.
I also try to get as many of these as possible above the fold (what your visitor can see before they start scrolling).
Next, I link to three of my strongest pieces of content, or good areas for someone to start. Where do I want to guide the visitor next?
Finally, I like to include my three latest blog posts in case a loyal reader comes back to visit again. I don’t want them hunting around for the latest posts, I want them to see what I’m currently working on.
To Wrap It Up…
If you currently have your blog archive list as your home page, I hope you consider changing it to a static page.
If you’re not convinced, put a home page together and test it out! You can always go back to having your blog posts on your home page if it doesn’t work out.
Not only does a static home page help you look more professional, but it also helps with your search engine ranking and helps guide your visitors to your best content.
It can also help them join your email list and start to create a relationship with you.
All of these things can help grow your business (because if there’s money involved, it’s a business) and help your website turn into a true asset for your growth.
About the Author: Jennifer Anastasi
After completing a Masters Degree in Software Engineering, Jennifer started working as a software developer, specializing in user experience (which is designing software in a way that makes sense to the people using it).
Her first love was always web development, so she switched back into that atmosphere only to learn that many were struggling with concepts that she had perfected years before. She took her knowledge and turned it into a course to help others create highly converting websites that attract followers and fans.
While not working on courses and custom website design, Jennifer enjoys drinking tea, reading in her hammock, and building towers to knock down with her toddler.
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