If you’re a serious blogger, you absolutely need a homepage, rather than a list of your most recent posts. If you don’t believe me, just look at the websites of the 10 most popular bloggers in your niche. I guaruntee at least 9 (if not 10) have a static front page. Static pages just make more sense because:
- they better describe who you are and what you do.
- they allow you to better guide your readers’ paths.
- readers only look at your page 10-20 seconds before deciding if it’s worth their time, you need to make your best possible impression, and your latest posts don’t always do that.
Because of this, you need a homepage. Here’s what you should put on it as a blogger:
1. Your Mini Elevator Pitch.
An elevator pitch is a brief 30 second introduction of yourself. If someone were to step on an elevator and ask what you do or who you are, you would say exactly what you need to, before the door reopens. The beauty of an elevator pitch is that it A) Allows you to sort of guide the other person’s first impression of you and B) Makes you look professional, poised, and put-together, because you know exactly what to say such as “I’m a blogger who specializes in personal finance, and intentional living. I help people recognize their potential, and then find ways to optimize their wealth creation and time available, leading to lives that are more impactful and less busy.” Which is much better than the alternative of “oh, I, uh, write stuff online, about money and stuff“.
Your mini elevator pitch is an even shorter version of that. Instead of the full pitch, I can simply say “I help people create a life with less busywork and more impact, through financial freedom and intentional living“.
2. A Photo of You
People come to bloggers rather than huge corporate websites, because of that personal connection. It’s difficult to connect with someone whose face you’ve never before seen. If you don’t yet have it, don’t worry about getting a professional headshot done. Personally, I don’t particularly like a lot of the professional posed photos, especially ones shot in a studio. There’s no personality to it!
Make sure your photo has these 4 key components:
- Your face
- It features only you (unless you’re standing next to the President himself, or someone uber famous in your niche!)
- It’s well lit, preferably by natural lighting.
- A clean background (no clutter, toilets, or trash!)
3. A Brief Bio of Who You Are and How You’ll Help Readers
Whether this is in on your homepage itself or in the sidebar does not matter, just make sure it’s there at least! Though this short little bio is ‘about you’, it’s actually more about how you’ll be beneficial to your readers. Tell them what you’ll do for them on your blog here.
If you do add in a little personal info, do not, I repeat, DO NOT tell us you’re obsessed with cats, coffee, cupcakes, and netflix! That does not make you original or relatable, it makes you basic. Tell us about who you really are. Tell us that you’re a full time traveler, or that you’re on a mission to live a completely different lifestyle every single year, or that your biggest fear is running out of time with the people you love. Dig deep, be authentic, and don’t be afraid to be vulnerable. It’s okay if you scare off 90% of your readers, because the 10% who stay will be steadfastly loyal, engaged, and fans that make up for your lost 90% time and time again.
4. Important Categories
This is super important, especially for bloggers with a wide niche. If I find your blog via one of your personal finance posts on Pinterest and I like it, I’m gonna click over to see your homepage. If you don’t have a way for me to find other posts about personal finance, I’m going to leave and not come back. Don’t let me do that! Make your categories obvious- put them in your tabs, in your sidebar, in your footer, somewhere on your homepage, anywhere and everywhere so that I may find them easily.
5. Most Recent Posts
When you make the decision to have a static homepage, rather showing your latest posts, you absolutely have to find a way to still incorporate your most recent stuff. I like to have a ‘most recent posts’ widget right below my most important pages, as well as have a widget in my sidebar that also showcases recent posts. This makes it easy for people to find new content, regardless of if they’re on my homepage or on any other page or post on my blog.
6. A Way to Subscribe to Your Newsletter
I’m absolutely amazed by how few bloggers actually have a way to subscribe to their newsletters on their homepages. If I like your blog enough to be looking all over your homepage, I probably like your blog enough to want to be a part of your mailing list. Bonus points if your opt-in form also gives out a freebie! If you haven’t already, read about how I got my mailing list to really high open rates, clicks, and even replies! And, make sure you see how I set up an archive for all past newsletters (and email freebies) on my blog, that only members have access to (best of all, no coding is needed!!).
7. Your Most Popular Posts
Lets face it- not all of your latest blog posts are winners. When an interested reader clicks over to your homepage, don’t leave them with only your mediocre content. Sure, your latest posts are probably great, but are they amazing, unforgettable, and life changing? Probably not. Give your readers the opportunity to read your best content. It can be pages that recieved lots of traffic, lots of comments, or pieces that are cornerstone content for your blog.
Personally, I like this to be in my sidebar so that it extends to cover all corners of my blog, but that’s just my preference.
Branding goes beyond your logo and catchphrase. It also includes your voice (personality and writing style), font, color scheme, and photo style. When I talk about photo styles, I mean that they have uniform traits about them such as:
- Lighting. Is it dark, average, bright, or oversaturated white?
- Color Scheme. For example, are the photos mostly grey and white with a tiny pop of a red element? Or dark, moody, and blue? Black and white? Does it have a green overlay? Helene Sula from Helene In Between rocks this, especially on her Instagram. She uses lots of whitespace paired with pops of moody orange, peach, and tan, and I LOVE IT. Moody orange on white always makes me think of her.
- Recurring Elements. Is there usually a recurring element about it, such as polka dots, stripes, shininess, or clean lines? Terra Dawn from Uncork your Dork is the QUEEN of this! She uses the same pastel shades and tiny polka dots throughout and it is so memorable. Everytime I see lots of small polka dots I think of her (and her really cool free workshops, such as “Whoosh” and “Beep Boop, Boop, Beep”).
Be so consistent with your branding that you begin to feel bored by it. When that happens, you know you’re branding correctly!
9. Photos and Graphics
People are visual creatures, we love looking at photos and infographics, which means you should really include them on your homepage for added effect. Don’t forget to brand the heck out of them! If you create graphics, make sure you’re using the same shapes, shades, fonts, and overlays throughout.
10. Featured Products / Services
If you have products or services you sell, let it be known. People cannot buy what they do not know of! I have my digital and paperback book copies in the side bar- check those out for inspiration.
11. A Search Bar
A huge pet peeve of mine is when I know that a certain somebody wrote a certain something, but I can’t find it. Please do us all a favor and put a search bar somewhere on your site, preferably on your homepage, AND your sidebar or footer. If I have to try locating your article through google search, I probably won’t find it and I’ll give up. Not only does this cost you one page view, it probably costs you several hundred (or more) because I’m looking up that article to show to a friend. Because my friend never saw the article though, she never visited your site to get hooked- costing you pageviews, ad revenue, a subscriber, a follower, and a potential buyer!
12. Social Icons / A Way to Share your Content
It does not matter how amazing of a writer and blogger you are, if your content never leaves your website, you’ll never grow your following. Social media is one of the top (if not the top) source for pageviews. Cater to that by making all your content shareable, and also easy-to-share. All it takes is oneshare by the right person for your blog traffic to explode and go viral- don’t miss out on that by not having social icons on your homepage, and throughout your blog.
- How do you feel about static homepages for blogs, are they effective?
- What should go on a blog homepage?
- Who are some of the best-at-branding bloggers that you know of?
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