Did you know that your blog’s homepage is hands down, the most important page on your blog?
First off, it’s the most visited page on your blog.
But even more importantly, it’s often the make-or-break page on your blog.
In other words, your blog’s homepage is the biggest reason people decide to either stay on your blog and go deeper…or leave.
And never come back.
Yeah. It’s that serious.
You could be losing potential readers, subscribers and customers because of your blog’s homepage.
A poor home page is one of the biggest reasons so many bloggers struggle to get traction with their blogs.
When a visitor lands on your blog they’ll do one of two things.
Stay or leave.
Do you know what that decision ultimately comes down to?
Whether your blog homepage connects with your visitor OR confuses them.
A homepage that creates connection leads to a visitor becoming a reader…
A reader becoming a subscriber…
And a subscriber becoming a customer.
On the other hand, a home page that confuses your visitor… will send them packing.
Now if this sounds scary, please don’t panic.
Creating a good blog homepage that entices your visitors to stick around is easier than it sounds.
There’s nothing magic about it.
It’s all about strategy.
A blog to biz strategy my friend!
And in this post, you’ll learn all about the most important elements your blog’s homepage needs in order to attract readers instead of driving them away.
What’s a Blog HomePage Anyway?
So, what’s a blog homepage anyway?
It’s the page that visitors see when they visit your domain.
In other words, when they click on your URL: https://yourdomainname.com, your homepage is what they’ll see.
If you need a refresher on what a domain is, check out my post How To Choose The Perfect Blog Name.
There Are Two Types of Blog Homepages
When a visitor lands on your blog’s homepage, there are two things that they could see. A static page, or a recent posts page.
A Static Blog Homepage
The definition of static is “lacking in change.”
A static web page (and static blog homepage) is one that rarely changes.
It displays customized content, and that content doesn’t change, unless it needs to be updated.
A Recent Posts Homepage
This is exactly as it sounds.
A recent posts homepage is your blog’s index page. In other words, a reverse chronological listing of all your blog posts.
That means that you see the newest blog post at the top. As you move down the page, the posts get progressively older.
Generally, you’ll see anywhere from five to ten of the most recent posts, and then there will be a page break (called “pagination” in blog-speak).
To get to the next page, you have to click “next,” or select the next page number.
A recent posts homepage is considered to be “dynamic.” That’s because what you see on that page changes with every post published.
Having recent posts as the blog homepage is BY FAR the most common homepage you’ll see on blogs. And it’s one of the main reasons so many bloggers struggle to get traction with their blogs.
Static Blog Homepage vs Recent Posts Homepage – Which Is Better?
Hands down, you’ve got to have a static homepage for your blog.
Why? It all comes back to my earlier comment about connection vs confusion.
Think about the visitor experience when they land on a recent posts homepage.
What do they see?
Whatever the most recent post is.
But what if that post isn’t something they are interested in? What if there’s something about the first post they see that puts them off?
Or what if what they see is interesting, but it’s an outlier. In other words, it doesn’t really have anything to do with the topic of your blog? And it’s not really connected to the rest of your content?
They may stay and read the post. But then, when they click around and realize that you have no more content that builds on that post topic…
Or what if you’re working on a series of posts, and all your new visitor is seeing when they land on your blog’s homepage is that series. And they are not at all interested in your series topic?
Here’s the bottom line when it comes to having the recent posts page as your homepage.
You have no control over what your visitor sees.
And if they see something they don’t like right off the bat…
Rather than keep poking around your site…
Let me give you an example of the problem with having the recent posts page as your homepage.
As I was doing research for this post, I came across a blog called BarkPost.
I had no idea what the website was about (other than it was about dogs). So I clicked over.
This is what filled my laptop screen. In other words, what I saw without scrolling.
Just as an FYI – this area is referred to as “above the fold.”
At first glance, as a dog owner, I found this image very disturbing. That poor dog just looks so sad.
For me, that would be strike 1.
For some people, that’s all it takes.
They see an image they don’t like. They can’t immediately tell what the site is about. So they leave.
The thing is, as I looked through the site, there was actually really good content there.
Had I come on a different day where a different post was featured, my experience would have been totally different.
So do you see what I mean when I say you can’t control your visitor’s experience?
What they see is your most recent post. And you have no idea which one that will be. It will all depend on what’s shown on the day your visitor first finds your blog.
So please, please, please…
Hear me on this….
DO NOT make your recent posts page your blog’s homepage.
If it already is. You need to change it ASAP.
The ONE Question that Your Blog Homepage Has To Answer
When a reader lands on your home page for their first time, there is ONE question, and one question only that they have.
When a visitor lands on your blog the first thing they want to know is “What’s in it for me?”
In other words, what am I going to get from this blog?
This one question determines whether they keep reading, visit regularly, engage with your content, subscribe to your email newsletter, and eventually buy your products. Or not.
I know, it sounds kinda selfish when I put it like that. But when you think about it, you realize that really, it’s not.
People are busy.
Heck, YOU’RE busy.
The reality is that we have limited free time so we have to pick and choose what we’re going to do with it. That choice usually boils down to priorities.
When it comes to your blog, the question your visitors are asking themselves is this: Will spending my precious time reading this blog make my life better in some way?
If yes, it’s a no brainer for them. They’ll stay and go deeper.
If the answer to that question is no, or if they don’t know, then it’s hasta la vista baby!
Now I want to look at the whole “no” (i.e. this blog isn’t for me) vs the “I don’t know” thing (i.e. I have no idea if this blog is for me) for a minute.
No vs I Don’t Know
Let’s say a visitor lands on your blog and decides that NO, there’s nothing in it for them. So they leave.
I know that sounds bad, but it’s really not.
As we talked about earlier, your blog isn’t for everyone. Nor should it be.
So if a reader is not interested in your blog because it’s not for them, that’s perfectly okay.
And it’s actually better for you.
A reader who is not interested in what your blog is offering will never become a loyal fan or a customer.
What you CAN do something about is the visitors who land on your blog and have no clue.
The last thing in the world you want is a visitor to land on your blog’s homepage and say to themselves: I have NO IDEA whether this blog can help me.
Do you know why?
Because most people won’t bother to stick around to figure it out.
What’s The Purpose Of A Blog’s Homepage?
So you know that your blog needs a static home page (not your recent posts).
You also know that your blog has to answer your visitors ONE important question: “what’s in it for me?”
But HOW are we supposed to do that?
The answer is actually pretty simple.
You have to make sure that your blog’s homepage connects with your visitors.
Let me put it another way.
When your visitor lands on your blog’s homepage they should feel an immediate connection with your blog that makes them want to go deeper.
So how do you do that?
In the next section, I’m going to talk about how your blog’s homepage attracts (or drives away) readers.
How to Attract Readers To Your Blog With Your Homepage
When a visitor lands on your site for the first time, they are not yet a reader.
Your first goal as a blogger is to turn your visitors into readers. Basically, you want them to be interested enough to read more of your content.
From a reader, the next step is becoming a subscriber. A subscriber meaning that they sign up for your email list.
Once they are a subscriber, the next natural step that you want them to take is becoming a customer.
All of these steps are called conversions.
How long a visitor takes to convert into a customer is going to be different, for different people.
There are some people who are just naturally more cautious and slow to warm up in an online environment. A crystal clear homepage is especially important if you want to convert them.
Then there are other people who – if they find what they’re looking for – are ready to dive in when they find it.
As a blogger you need to make it clear to your visitors that you have what they need.
When you are able to do that really well, you’ll see significantly more conversions on your site (i.e. repeat visits, subscribing and buying).
Really, it all comes down to clarity vs confusion.
Are your visitors confused about what you can do for them? Or is it crystal clear?
In the next section, I’m going to take a look at what a good blog homepage needs to do.
I’ve put together a free checklist that you can use to assess whether or not your blog’s homepage is doing these things.
The 6 Things Your Blog’s Homepage Needs To Do
There are 6 things that your blog’s homepage should do for your readers.
#1. It Should Give Your Visitors a Big Picture Of What Your Blog Is About
Stats show that the average reader stays on a web page for less than 15 seconds.
That’s not a lot of time to get your message across.
When a visitor lands on your blog, they should be able to quickly and easily figure out what your blog is about.
Do you remember the site BarkPost?
For the life of me I could not figure out what that blog was about. I searched high and low on the “homepage” for some kind of clue. I didn’t find anything. Not even a link to an about page.
Funny enough, it took Google to tell me.
Now, what if your blog covers a lot of different topics?
Then you either need to give them a sense of the main theme, or highlight one of your themes.
Take a look at the homepage of this site called Fubiz. What you are seeing is the “above the fold” area. In other words, the area that displays when I first land on my site.
Here’s what I see before I start to scroll down.
Any idea what the site’s about? No?
I see headings of photography, designs, pop culture etc. So it leads me to think that it has something to do with visual media.
I decided to go in search of their about page.
To find their about page I had to scroll all the way to the bottom of the page (it was a pretty long page).
When I got there, all I saw were pictures of what I think are contributors to the blog.
I couldn’t find ANY information on what the site is about.
I spent about 5 minutes looking around, and then I had enough.
Five minutes isn’t a lot. But most people wouldn’t even give it that.
Now let’s take a look at Studiopress.
I can immediately see that they help you build amazing WordPress sites. Their headline says it all.
#2. It Should Let Your Visitors Know If Your Blog Is For Them
Who is your ideal audience? You do you want your blog to serve?
Yes, you should know the answer to that question.
And no, your answer should not be “everyone.”
You will never be able to serve everyone with your blog if you want to serve them well.
When you try to write for everyone, you end up with fragmented content. When you just have bits and pieces of different topics targeting different audiences, you never have enough to really make a difference in any one area.
Once you know who your audience is, you need to make that clear on your home page.
Let me share an example with you.
This is the home page from a blog called The Confused Millennial.
The name gives away the fact that the site is related to millennials.
BUT that’s about all the info you get.
What the name doesn’t tell you is whether the site is ABOUT a confused millennial or FOR confused millennials.
And it also begs the question – confused about what?
So a millennial landing on this blog might see that it has something to do with millennials, but it’s not clear what.
And BTW, the rest of the home page didn’t make it clear either.
Here is an example of a great website that makes it extremely clear who their site is for – Nerd Fitness.
In fact not only do they tell who their site is for, they tell you what their blog and website is all about.
#3. It Should Start A Conversation With Your Visitors
At the end of the day, successful blogs and businesses are built on relationships.
Relationships start with conversations.
Your blog’s homepage should start a conversation with your visitors.
It should pique their curiosity. Touch on a pain point. Get them wanting more.
It’s not that much different than starting a conversation with a random stranger in a long grocery checkout line.
A comment of long line eh? – might get you a commiserating nod or a simple yeah.
Whereas a comment on something they’ve buying or something they’re wearing can sometimes lead to a conversation that extends on the way out the door.
Here’s an example of a site that really depends on conversations, but misses the mark.
I had never heard of Charity Water before stumbling on this blog.
They do a great job on their picture. It’s beautiful and it gives a sense of what their site is about.
But as a new visitor, not knowing anything about them, the first thing I see is them asking for money.
That is a turn-off. I don’t know what they are asking for money for, or how they are going to use that money.
Before asking for money, they should have opened a conversation with me.
A great way to do that would have been to take the sentence in the second section, move it to the header and modify it.
So something along the lines of: 1 in 10 people lack access to clean water. We’re on a mission to change that. Want to join us?
An example of a blog that does a really good job of starting a conversation is Neil Patel.
He asks you a question right up front.
Do you want more traffic?
That’s a conversation opener.
If traffic is something you are interested in and want to learn more about, you’ll go deeper.
Rachel Miller also does this very well.
It’s pretty obvious that she specializes in building an audience that listens.
#4. It Should Draw Your Visitors Deeper Into Your Blog
Whereas you’ll never invite that random stranger you chatted with in the grocery store line home with you, it’s different when it comes to your blog.
In that case, you do want to invite them into your home. Your online home that is (ie. your blog).
You want that conversation to be the start of a new relationship. A relationship that leads them deeper into your blog.
What does going deeper look like?
Reading other posts. Signing up for your email list. Following you on social media. Checking out your products.
Going back to Neil Patel’s blog, right underneath his conversation-starting headline, he invites you to go deeper with him by signing up for his email list.
And if you scroll down his page, you’ll see other ways he brings you in deeper too. Depending on your interest he directs you to other areas on his site.
Rachel Miller does the exact same thing.
#5. It Should Showcase Your Expertise
Don’t let that word “expertise,” scare you.
You don’t have to be a certified “expert” to build a successful blog. You just have to be a little further along the path than your readers.
Of course, if you are an expert, that’s awesome. This is the place to let that expertise be known.
Either way – whether you are an “expert” or someone with expertise – one of the goals of your blog is to position yourself as a go-to resource in your niche.
By the time your reader gets to the end of your homepage, they should be starting to get a sense of that.
Visitors to your blog are coming to your blog because they are looking for something. Usually, solutions to a problem.
You want them to see that you can help them.
There are a lot of different ways you can do this. If you’ve been in the online space for a while you could incorporate testimonials, include social proof, or quote stats.
If you’re just starting out with your blog and don’t have any of the above, you could weave elements of your story into your homepage. In other words, let readers know why you are tackling that blog topic.
Okay, so let’s look at a couple of blogs as an example.
Simple Green Smoothies is an example of a blog that has expertise in droves but does absolutely nothing to highlight it.
Simple Green Smoothies has been around since 2012. They have a huge following. And they have run thousands and thousands (maybe even hundreds of thousands) of people through their challenges.
The only reason I know that is because I have heard podcast interviews with Jadah Sellner, one of the founders of Simple Green Smoothies.
Had I not already known about Simple Green Smoothies, the homepage would never have given me a clue about what a big deal this blog and biz really is. I would have assumed they were just one of the hundreds of other smoothie sites.
Imagine how much more powerful of a statement their homepage would make if they said “Join 100,000 others in our 7-day green smoothie program.”
Now a good example of showcasing expertise is Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income.
What you see here is the above the fold section (the white area) and then the next two sections. You can see that Pat is clear about what his blog is about and how it can help you.
He also showcases his expertise in three ways:
- He tells you that what he teaches is based on what he tries.
- You see where he’s been featured on many well-known sites.
- He tells you that his community is 150,000 strong and invites you to join.
Before we move on to the final point, I just want to give you a reminder. You don’t have to have an official degree, credentials or certification to be able to help your readers.
If you followed my advice in choosing your niche then you should have already made sure that you have skill, knowledge or experience in your niche. That my friend is called expertise.
Now you just have to make sure that you find a way to incorporate that on your home page.
And don’t stress over social proof (like Pat) if you don’t yet have it. But once you do, make sure you include it.
#6. It Should Let Your Visitors Know What Problem(s) You Solve
One of the things you’ll hear me say over and over again is this:
The most successful blogs are the ones that solve a problem for their reader.
Why are they the most successful?
Because when people are struggling with something, there is a sense of urgency in getting that “something” solved.
You have to remember that when a visitor lands on your site because Google sent them there, it’s because they were looking for something.
Once they land on your site, they’ll be looking around to see if you have the answer to what they were searching for.
The fastest and easiest way to do that, is to make sure you are crystal clear about what problem you are solving.
Let’s take a look at a blog that has a powerful message, but is not getting it across.
Fit Bottomed Girls focuses on the premise that fit bottoms come in all shapes and sizes (love it!). Their aim is to offer a “fun, fresh and no-diet approach to being healthy.”
But this is what I see when I visit their home page:
First off, the name of their site implies it’s something about booties. Their one-line bio under their picture tells you that diets don’t work. That’s it.
Most people trying to lose weight know that diets don’t work. What they need to know in this case is what Fit Bottomed Girls are doing about it.
Here are a couple of examples of homepages in the fitness space that do make clear what problem they solve.
The first is 12 Minute Athlete.
Right away you know that they are talking to people who want to be in awesome shape but don’t have a lot of time. Looking at the picture you get the sense that it’s probably cross-fitters they’re talking to (not the average guy or gal).
Ultimately, their tagline says it all: Get in the best shape of your life in 12 minutes a day.
Yoga Vibes is another example of a homepage that makes it clear what problem they solve.
In this case, you understand the problem by the way they phrase the solution.
Their site will take away the challenges of finding a local yoga studio, having to leave your house, and having to find a class time that suits your schedule.
The Bottom Line
I want to end this post by talking about the elephant in the room.
And that is this.
If all of the things that I mentioned in this post are SO important…then why are so many blogs WITHOUT these things absolutely killing it?
The short answer is that if you work hard enough at just about anything, you can make it work.
Pretty much all of the big blogs that I featured in my examples of “what not to do” homepages – have been around for a long time.
They started in a less saturated online space and the bloggers behind them worked their butt off to get them to where they are today.
In today’s online world – it’s way more crowded. And it’s a lot harder to stand out.
Why not give yourself an edge over the competition by creating a stellar home page?
Over the last 6 months, I’ve spent a lot of time researching this whole area of blog messaging.
And I can tell you that over 90% of the blogs (and even business websites) I’ve come across, do a really poor job of telling the world what their blog is about, who it’s for, and what’s in it for their visitors.
If YOU can do that, you’ll be at a HUGE advantage.
You’ll be able to convert your visitors into readers, subscribers, and buyers faster, and with much less effort.
In this post, I’ve covered the 6 things your homepage should be doing RIGHT now. I’ve put together a free checklist that you can download below. I will help you assess the “health” of YOUR home page.