Is your blog’s home page designed strategically?
Because if it’s not you are doing yourself and your amazing content a disservice.
In the last post, A Better Website for Blogging Success: Is YOUR website setting you up for FAILURE? I shared several tips to make sure your entire website was setup for success, in this post I want to take a deep dive into a successful home page.
So before you draft one more blog post, create another freebie, or write up one more social media post please take a minute to make sure you website is helping you and not hurting you.
If your home page is just a collection of your blog posts we need to chat.
You can do better.
So let’s get down to actionable tips.
What makes a successful home page?
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6 ELEMENTS EVERY SUCCESSFUL HOME PAGE SHOULD HAVE
You may have seen the latest breed of home pages on your favorite blogger’s site. These home pages are beautiful, clean, modern, and always showcase their best opt-ins.
Do you have home page envy because I know I did!
When I launched Blog Brand Hustle I knew a good home page was important to my (and your) success, so I spent weeks researching home pages and hunted for answers.
With my shirt stained with coffee, my hand stiffened around my pen, and my eyes laced red from staring at the screen, I dedicated myself to the mission at hand. I had to find the holy grail of home pages!
And then I had it!
I finally came up with these 6 elements that I have now incorporated into my website with great success.
In my humble opinion there are 6 things that separate a stellar home page from a mediocre one.
- #1: Your home page should be easy to navigate, clean, and visually appealing.
We want the reader to quickly know where they are, what your site is about, and be able to easily navigate.
Fonts should be easy to read, photos should be used strategically, and negative space should be respected. (negative space is that area where there is nothing).
Make it look good and people will naturally want to look around.
- #2: Your home page should clearly and immediately communicate how you can help them.
It should be painfully obvious what you specialize in. Make sure to leave no room for confusion.
Remember, no one can do what you do, how you do it, share that and share it loud!
- #3: Your home page should showcase your BEST freebie/lead magnet front and center.
The whole point of all this work is to get them to sign-up for your signature lead magnet. Build that email list otherwise they’ll never know all the amazing offers you have to share.
Placing your lead magnet/opt-in at the top is commonly called “above the fold”. Ideally you would pair this with either an image of the lead magnet or an image of yourself.
- #4: Your home page should have a quick bio and/or a photo your smiling face.
Some of the examples below have full bio snippets others simply show a smiling face with a blurb about what the blogger does.
It’s up to you how to best showcase who you are but don’t forget to remind your readers there is a realatable human behind this website. I truly see this as an advantage over commercial blogs. You are human, corporations aren’t.
If you do include a bio make sure it briefly showcases who you are and ties back into how you can help them. And try not to go too long (I struggle with this too), save the extended details for your About Me page.
- #5: Your home page should showcase or link to your best paid offer(s).
There are a lot of opinions on this, not all of them agree, but I believe that a great graphic and a compelling snippet of best paid offer should be featured on your home page.
Readers are on your site because they needed something, some interest brought them there, your paid offer might be exactly what they are looking for.
In addition to that, it often takes several rounds of exposure before a person buys. So while you may have a great funnel in place it can’t hurt to showcase your best offer before you pitch them within the funnel.
We are here to sell our solutions, so let’s not hide them.
Your reader may be on your home page looking for something specific like your contact page or blog posts, so make sure your links are easy to find.
I just want to point out, notice I said “link to” instead of feature, we want to keep distractions to a minimum so keep your home page for the essentials. (Read more on this below).
Sounds easy right?! Actually it is, once you have the recipe, but there are a few things to keep in mind….
YOUR HOME PAGE VS. YOUR BLOG’S MAIN PAGE
In case there is any confusion, when we talk about our website’s “home page” this is the page where our main URL goes to (this is my home page www.blogbrandhustle.com) and NOT the same as your blog’s main page or blog’s home page (the main page that showcases your free blog posts).
Your blog’s main page will usually be your URL/blog, for example my blog’s main page is www.blogbrandhustle.com/blog
The home page only needs to link to your blog but doesn’t have to showcase any blog posts. Of course you can include your latest blog posts if you want to, it’s up to you, but I like to stay focused on my offers.
If this makes you uncomfortable remember the main goal of our blogs are to get subscribers so we can help them solve their problem with our amazing content and offers.
We aren’t running newspapers or magazines. We aren’t in the entertainment business. We are professional problem solvers! The blog is simply a vehicle for that content.
Speaking of which…
BLOGGING AS A BUSINESS VS. HOBBY BLOGGING
I want to take a second to elaborate on the last point.
For blog based businesses our business model is to make sales (our offers) by helping solve our reader’s problems.
This is true no matter the niche, and those sales can come from a variety of offers, from coaching to courses.
When our buyers buy from us it allows us to keep putting out that amazing free content for anyone who needs it.
The free blog posts are designed to bring potential buyers back and convert them into subscribers, and eventually offer them a targeted solution with one of our paid offers.
In other words the blog posts are a means to an end. The end is to make a sale, that sale can be for an affiliate offer, a downloadable guide, or a full blown course, it doesn’t matter because we already have laid out how to help them with these offers.
We have a strategy.
To put it another way, my business is not blogging, my business is serving bloggers with a combination of paid offers/services.
Once my readers (whom I still care very much about and will keep offering great free content for) become buyers I make sure to give them my very best and to be available to them so that they can grow their own businesses.
It’s important that you understand what problem you solve and for whom.
If you need help coming up with paid offers then read this post:
- 21 FANTASTIC Money Making Products You Can Sell on Your Blog (Some can be created in just a weekend).
A PROMPT TO HELP YOU FIGURE OUT WHO YOU ARE SERVING
Yes I know we are talking about home pages and I’m veering off track but it’s critical you understand that before you can craft a kick butt home page you must know who you are serving.
Who are your target buyers?
If you are still not sure who your target buyers are then consider this simple prompt…
I help _______ create/do/become/transform _______ so that they can __________
I help beginner and intermediate bloggers create targeted lead magnets and strategic sales funnels so that they can make a living income off their blog and spend more time enjoying life!
If you still need more help figuring out who you serve then read these posts on building a blog based business:
- The Incredibly SIMPLE but GENIUS Concept that Turned my Blog into a Money Maker (it’s NOT what you think)
WHAT YOU SHOULD NOT DO ON YOUR HOME PAGE
Now that we’ve cleared that up, back to our epic home pages!
Here is what you should avoid on your home pages:
- Do not have your home page be just another blog page with a collection of your blog posts. Save that for your blog’s main page (URL/blog)
- Do not stuff your home page with All. The. Things. Less is more.
- Do not litter your home page with your social media accounts (asking them to like and follow all the things). Save that for your emails and thank you page.
- Do not skip over including an image of yourself. The fact that there is a real and relatable human behind your website is an advantage, and helps you stand out from the corporate websites/blogs.
Easy enough right!
EXAMPLES OF GREAT HOME PAGES TO SPARK YOUR CREATIVITY
Now that you understand the do’s and don’ts, here are some great examples to help you craft YOUR perfect page.
Oh and keep in mind these pages are just to inspire you, not copy. Copying isn’t cool, and makes people mad. Your page will be a unique reflection of your brand and offers, so make it your own.
Up first is an example from my home page:
Here is another example from the lovely Kayla of Ivory Mix. Her home page is beautiful, clean, and includes all the elements above. I love it!
Kayla does a great job of showcasing what she has on offer but does it simply and elegantly.
Kayla also showcases her latest blog posts but does it in a really modern way. Oh and if you need some great stock photos her stock photo membership is a great deal!
Next up is the funny and awesome David Siteman Garland from The Rise to the Top. I love David’s content and have learned a ton from him! He really is full of great tips!
I love that David’s page is simple and to the point. He manages to showcase 2 opt-ins, tons of social proof, and features his paid and free offerings as well, all in one punchy package!
Oh and notice how he features his testimonials. Love it!
If you have some great feedback and the room to make it happen, then social proof is a great add-on!
Next up is the lovely Amy Porterfield. Amy is synonymous with online guru, but comes off as down to earth and approachable.
I have been lucky enough to be part of Amy’s paid programs and I can say she’s extremely knowledgeable, professional, and friendly.
What I love the most about her site is that she really makes it feel personal. Her image is featured several times, all in very casual settings.
Amy shares bits of her story in several places so you really feel like you know her, and despite her star status all this makes you feel like she could be your neighbor.
So as you can see each page is very different yet each has these mains components. The key here is to make sure your home page reflects your unique business and helps you showcase what you do best!
HOW TO ACTUALLY CREATE THESE SUPER CUSTOM PAGES?
Now that you know what to include you’re probably wondering how to actually create these pages. Don’t worry I’m not about to leave you hanging.
When it comes to actually designing these types of pages you have three options:
Option #1: Get a developer to custom code and design your site.
Pros: The biggest advantage here is that you can get exactly what you want. This is best is you want something that no one else has and have the budget to make it happen.
Cons: The biggest disadvantage is this is expensive and means you’ll reply of your developer for any future changes.
Option #2: Find and use a theme with these options already within the theme.
Another option is to choose a theme that has everything you already need for your entire website PLUS the ability to create pages like the one above.
Pros: This is a cost-effective way to get the unique look you want across every page of your website. You need a website theme anyway so why not choose one with a great home page. Plus there are sooo many themes available that you’ll probably be able to find what you want.
Cons: Even the most robust themes may not have the super custom functionality you want. And if you already have a theme setup, switching to a new one can be time-consuming and even crash your site. Proceed with caution and backup your site before making any changes.
Since there are so many options out there, you may also find resources for your theme hard to come by. This means relying heavily on your theme developer, and not all themes offer solid support, so choose carefully.
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Option #3: (What I recommend) Use a WordPress Plugin called Thrive Architect
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Thrive Architect is a plug-in based web page builder made by the Thrive team. It’s offers hyper customization in a drag and drop builder.
Thrive Architect works with any existing theme and you can use it on any page on your website. You can also use it to customize blog posts, build sales pages like this sales page, create thank you pages, and create landing pages like this one here.
Pros: Thrive Architect is very budget friendly, costing only $67 for a LIFETIME use license for one site. That’s crazy cakes!
It also replaces much more expensive landing page software like LeadPages. I actually dropped my expensive ($300/year) LeadPages subscription once I found Thrive Architect.
Best of all it works with any WordPress theme so you don’t need to overhaul your site just for your home page.
I love that Thrive offers a TON of video tutorials for everything from building landing pages to home pages to entire websites using Thrive Architect.
Thrive even offers a specific tutorial for building the “upside down home page” referenced here.
They have round the clock support and respond very quickly should you need help. All this makes it very user friendly, even for newbs!
This is the option I recommend for a budget friendly solution that also creates stunning pages in no time, all without having to overhaul your website.
Cons: While this is very budget friendly it’s not free, but I do think the small expense is well worth it. You’ll also have to learn another software system. So while Thrive Architect is very user friendly it does have a learning curve (just like with any new software). Even so I still think it’s a great option for super custom pages at a great price.
Shameless plug: I walk you through creating a custom home page, sales page, landing page, and thank you page using Thrive Architect (plus the strategy to create your sales funnel & 5 different lead magnets!) in my course EVERGREEN FUNNEL BLUEPRINT FOR STRATEGIC BLOGGERS!
Phew! We covered a lot today but the bottom line is that your home page is critical to your overall success.
It’s important to have a strategic page designed to convert those readers into subscribers, and from there you can turn them into buyers.
Your buyers allow you to continue offering great free content keeping your business healthy and allowing you to share your genius with the world!
As with all the content on Blog Brand Hustle I hope this was helpful and took away some of the confusion around how to create those pages you see from other popular bloggers.
As always, buckets of hugs!
And if you are ready to create a strategic lead magnet then sign-up for the FREE Lead Magnet Challenge & Mini Course, it’s 5 days of actionable info, tips, resources, and an amazing surprise bonus. Plus it’s FREEEEEEEE! Grab your spot now!
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