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Blog Exercises: The Welcome Page

Blog Exercises on Lorelle on WordPress.One of the many things I’d like to see gone on the web is the Welcome front page.

Think about it this way. You invite friends over for a party. You greet everyone at the door with a full self-introduction, welcoming them to your place, instructing them on how to visit your home, telling them all about you, your history, the reasons you exist in this world, your passions, and offer them tips on how best to work with you as you know you will be working with them in the future.

The friends you have known for a year to thirty years will look at you as if you are insane. Way over the top. New people to your home might welcome the information but it is too much information too soon and too fast. They might not be ready for all that arrogance. Friends gather at the VanFossens and are entertained by friend, John Doan, on the harp guitar - photography by Lorelle VanFossen.Some of them might like to explore your home, identify the objects that define your personality, listen in on a few conversations, and just hang out and absorb the real you before they commit.

When you create a static front page with such a welcome, or a sticky post stuck to the top of your front page stuffed with your CV and life history, you may have the same impact on visitors.

You have two types of visitors to your site. First time visitors, usually seeking information and a like-mind, and second time visitors, those who found something to cling on the first time visit and they want more. You’ve become a resource, a community, a friend.

If the majority of your visitors are first time visitors, and your site is your portfolio, resume, or virtual business card on the web, stacking all this information on the front page might be welcome.

If the majority of your visitors are repeat offenders, back for more of the good stuff, you are telling them things they already know, taking up space on the front page by standing in front of them and reciting your life story again and again, and getting in their way of what they really want.

It is important for your readers to know who you are and what you do. Show them in your post content. Show them with a quick bio in the sidebar. Define yourself fully on your About Page. Let every pixel on the site, from the header art and background color or design to the words on the page, tell your story.

In other words, don’t hit them over the head with your story every time they visit your site unless that is the purpose of the site.

Blog Exercise Task from Lorelle on WordPress.Your blog exercise today is to study the front page of your side, the sidebar, About Page, and every pixel of your site to identify what elements represent you, your identity, your purpose, your mission with this site.

With WordPress and most Content Management Systems (CMS) you have a choice of creating a static front page, a “blog” front page, or a combination of the two. For more information on these formats, see the blog exercise on pageviews. We will cover this more soon. In this exercise, consider what structure would work best for your subject matter and audience.

If you have a static front page, look at your stats. Evaluate your audience and subject matter.

If you are a shopping site, web hosting service, customer service, or power company, it makes sense to put the most important information on the front page as that is what people want. Don’t move it around. Set it in place and rarely move it. People who visit often expect things to be in the same place every day. Change things around, make them hunt, and you will frustrate them.

If you are a human being sharing your talents, skills, expertise, and story, are the majority of your visitors return customers or first timers. Do they have to know everything there is to know about you on the front page of the site or everywhere with every visit? Or are they familiar with the home that is your site? Do they know where the silverware and coffee mugs are?

You do not have to redesign your site in this exercise. You may wish to do so.

Most people evaluate their site from the perspective of the first time visitor. Change that thinking. Look at your site from the perspective of a long-time friend visiting you over many years. What is their experience? How do you keep them coming back for more and making the process easier?

Remember to include a hat tip link back to this post to create a trackback, or leave a properly formed link in the comments so participants can check out your blog exercise task.

You can find more Blog Exercises on . This is a year-long challenge to help you flex your blogging muscles.


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4 Comments

  1. Joe Juarez
    Posted September 20, 2013 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    I agrees with you, Lorelle, on the Welcome page. It is pure non-sense to put one on a blog or website. It is a joke. I have a blog and website and do not have a welcome page because people want to get the meat of the subject, in my case I offer signage for businesses. I have specific landing pages for different types of signage and a home page that conveys a message about signage with a picture gallery of signs.

    • Posted September 20, 2013 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

      Thanks. Could you be more specific with what you mean as landing pages. People are often confused with the terminology and I thought I’d let you explain it. Thanks.

    • Posted September 20, 2013 at 11:59 pm | Permalink

      A landing page is single web page that appears in response to clicking on a search engine optimized search result. Or, another way of explaining a landing page: is any page on a website where traffic is sent specifically to prompt a certain action or result.

      For example, if were to type the following key word in Google: Interior Signs Los Angeles, you would see title tags of different websites with Interior signs or Interior Signs Los Angeles or lobby signs. My website is in the second page of Google for this keyword (Interior Signs Los Angeles). When you click on my website(losangelessigns.biz), it immediately takes you to the landing page-the header says: Interior Signs Los Angeles. Therefore, this page talks about interior signs and I have a link to the picture gallery on Interior Signs. This is a way to get a desire results, in my case, they pick up the phone and call me, so I go over to their place of business and give them a free estimate on the interior sign they want for their business.

    • Posted September 21, 2013 at 8:52 am | Permalink

      Good explanation, thanks.

      To add to it, a landing page can be from any point, part of the process of a call to action, directing the visitor to specific information. A landing page may be the destination from any web page on your site, from social networks, and from other people’s sites, including advertising, in addition to search engines.

      Google knows all the tricks in and around landing pages, so developing landing pages for people rather than search engines actually does better in the ranking on search engines. Fascinating how they’ve been able to put our psyche into an algorithm, often before we think of the idea. LOL!

      Thanks!


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  1. […] Exercises – a continuing series of interest to all bloggers – Lorelle suggests that the Welcome Page should be a thing of the past, that it shouldn’t exist on sites which are primarily there as […]

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