In this episode, we’re going to go over a few reasons your blog should have a homepage, what should be on it, and then how to set it up.
First, why should your blog have a homepage?
Blogging is not like it used to be.
It used to be that your loyal readers would come check out your home page regularly just to see if you wrote anything new in the last week. Today, if your reader found you from Googling a specific question, Google directed her to a specific blog post, not your homepage. But if your post has answered her question and she wants to know what else you have for her, she’ll click over to your homepage.
If your homepage only shows the 4 most recent posts and those don’t apply to her specific problems, she will just leave. It’s too much work for readers to hunt down content on your blog.
If your visitor can see at a glance the main subjects (categories) you write about, you’ll automatically become more of a comprehensive authority on your subject in her mind.
Having a homepage instead of just displaying your latest posts also takes the pressure off you to write new posts constantly.
And, if you have a homepage that quickly shows her more posts that she might be interested in, your bounce rate will also go down.
The main thing is that you always want to make a connection with your reader. Just a list of your most recent posts is probably not going to do that. Certain content will really speak to her while others don’t, let her pick and choose and keep clicking through to see more of what you have.
Now that you know your blog needs a homepage, here is how to plan for it:
Always plan first–be strategic–don’t just add things to your homepage because it looks good. Think about what your reader is looking for.
Here are the basics I recommend to include on your blogs homepage:
- Show a certain number of the most recent posts in strategically selected categories. So think about which categories are going to be most helpful for your visitors.
- The bio that we talked about in episode two that clearly tells your visitor that you’re there to solve her specific problem.
- A sign up form for your newsletter.
- Your most popular or most helpful posts.
Once you have your plan, create a new page and start adding those things. The new WordPress block editor makes this way easier than before–there’s no need for a new theme just to add or change your homepage.
To easily show the most recent posts in certain categories, I highly recommend the plugin called Atomic Blocks. It will add a special block to display your blog posts that is easy to customize and make look good (Once you install the plugin, the block is called the AB Post and Page Grid.)
Once your page looks good, save it and publish it. You might want to give this a few days, or even a week or two and keep coming back and tweaking it until you’re really happy with the look and how helpful you feel it will be to new visitors.
How to set up the homepage and put your recent posts on a blog page:
- When you’re ready to make it your homepage, create a new page called “Blog.” Save it as an empty page.
- In your WordPress dashboard, click on “Settings,” then “Reading.”
- At the top you’ll see “Your homepage displays.” Under homepage, choose the new homepage you created; under Posts page, choose the page you titled “Blog.”
- Save your changes and your new homepage is live for the world.
Pin this post so you don’t lose the instructions!
(And to help your blogging friends out too.)