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. 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.
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?