Performancing Metrics

Does Your Blog Need a Homepage?

Years ago, when I worked for a major retailer, one of the perks was getting free magazines. Once a periodical was considered outdated, an associate would be tasked with ripping off the covers and adding the “naked” magazines to a pile. Staff members were allowed to rummage through this stack.

I took my fair share magazines, but it was never easy figuring out which ones I wanted. Without the cover, it takes quite a bit of sifting to figure out if there’s an article that you want to read. Can the same be said for blogs? Do we need a “cover?”

Think about your favorite magazine. It’s those attractive pictures and pithy problem-solving questions that get you to crack open the publication. Without a cover, determining whether or not a magazine is worth our time becomes a laborious task. OK, so it’s not hard to leaf through several pages. But we already know that reading physical publications is much different than perusing electronic content. So the question I’d like to pose today…because I don’t know the answer…is whether or not your blog should have a homepage.

By forgoing a homepage, you are getting people directly to the meat. It’s sort of like bypassing the appetizer. Without any bells or whistles, the author has a chance to convert a reader into a subscriber. In an Internet world where every second of attention span counts, you are saving some serious time.

Another reason why some bloggers choose to opt out of a homepage is because of the volume of widgets and sidebar customizations available today. It is possible to get across your core mission and set up the framework for your blog from any page on your blog.

But there is a flip side…especially if we borrow from the publishing field. (And lets be honest, much of blogging is borrowed from old school print.) A dedicated page that is initially presented to readers tells the visitor what to expect. Much like that magazine cover, you are enticing them to “come inside.” It’s like a proverbial welcome mat.

Personally, I’ve used both approaches. Sometimes I activate a homepage, and other times I just send people to my blog landing page that features the most recent posts. I have not seen a change in traffic or any other metric based on approach.

To homepage or not to homepage, that is the question. What say you?

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  1. Scott Hampton ) says: 11/16/2010

    Homepage! The value of one is tremendous, especially with modern themes using JQuery sliders, excerpts, etc. Many readers don’t fully understand a blog, but they are familiar with web pages. If it looks foreign, it gets looked at less. If it looks familiar, it gets looked at more. Users will look at a homepage and see different categories, features, sections, etc., and see the organization easier. They can choose what they want to see and where they want to go. Typically, in a stream of blog posts, it’s choosing from a handful of visible articles. Sure, blog rolls, recents posts, and recent comments widgets are there, but much smaller than the blog articles. It makes it harder for new readers to engage. I suggest a homepage, ,but a clean, well-ordered homepage. My two cents :)


  2. gregory urbano says: 11/16/2010

    funny thing is, i have been asking myself this same question lately, would my blog benifit from a home page?


  3. Scott Hampton ) says: 11/16/2010

    @Gregory—Not sure if your blog would benefit from a home page. The photos are the priority, so it looks like you’re on the right track. You might do well to redesign the header, though. It takes up too much space “above the fold”. Your big, beautiful photo is not seen until I scroll down. Right now I see the top part of the blue sky, and I’m looking at it on a 21″ wide screen iMac with a huge screen!

    But, to the article author, aren’t homepage-less blogs a holdover from blogs from the 1990s? Curious…