I've started a lot of blogs. Like, a lot. For myself, for friends and family, for companies.
Most of the time, the analytics for these blogs look something like this:
As you can see, the large majority of the traffic only ever visits your homepage. So why is it that we fill our homepage with generated content? Think about a generic WordPress theme.
The main section of the homepage is populated with... a generic list of your most recent posts!? Really? What if your most recent article was a bad one? Just kidding, I'm sure your blog posts are all bangers!
And then we have the sidebar, more prime real estate! We use that to... display a generated list of categories? I mean, I guess that's helpful, but it's hardly the most important thing.
Seriously though, this is your one shot at wowing your visitor. If your blog was a business and someone walked in and asked what you do there, would you tell them all about the literal last thing you did? Or would you tell them about the coolest and most fun thing your company does? Would you ask for their contact info so maybe you can send them more information?
Examples of great homepage designs
Someone sent me a link to a blog post on kalzumeus.com the other day, and I was so impressed with their home page.
It starts with a well-written introduction, explaining who they are, how you might know them, and what they are up to. The next thing it does is introduce a curated (again, not generated!) list of their best work.
It goes on to list their accomplishments and finally, at the very bottom, a list of their most recent articles!
Kurt recently redesigned his homepage and I just love it.
Kurt's blog starts with another heartfelt and well-written introduction. Who he is, what he plans on blogging about, what he's passionate about, how to find him on social media, etc.
The next section is my absolute favorite. He literally writes, "If you only read one post, you should read this one." and then manually (NOT auto-generated) picks his favorite blog post and highlights it front and center.
Then it goes on to highlight all of the things he is working on. At the time of this writing, it shows two podcasts he was recently on and an interview.
Another one of my absolute favorites is christopherbiscardi.com. Christopher is a master at information architecture and telling a story with his homepage design. First of all, just look at it!
No wasted space here!
- ✅ Well-written introduction
- ✅ Social media links
- ✅ Hand made content groupings (his field guides)
- ✅ Check out a cool framework he made
- ✅ Sign up for his newsletter
What does your homepage say about you?
Have you spent time configuring your homepage? Or do you let your blogging engine dictate what shows up on there? Do you think it would be a good spend of time to configure it yourself?
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Let me be real with you. Sometimes when I'm bored I log in to Buttondown and look at the audience number. If it's bigger than it was the week before, well that makes me feel really happy! I promise I'll never spam you and I will, at most, send you a monthly update with what's happening on this site.