What does the primary entrance to your site look like? It’s a question every blogger must answer. Your decision will shape public perception of your brand. But which approach is better? Static or latest posts?
First, let’s look at history
From 2005 to 2011, the latest posts display was the most common view for every popular blog on the Web. It didn’t matter if the site got fifty visitors a month or five million. But thing started to shift in 2012. Partly due to the flood of bloggers entering the market, and partly as a natural result of blogs employing multiple writers, site brands that were originally called “blogs” made a move to differentiate themselves from the ranks of amateur bloggers who vastly outnumbered them. To set themselves apart, the pro bloggers opted for a more traditional magazine or static home page design.
What’s the Benefit of a Static Home Page?
With a static home page, the primary goal is reposition a blog so that it becomes MORE than a blog. The primary focus is no longer just the blog content. What else would be the focus? Here are a few possibilities:
- Building a Brand
- Establishing Authority
- Selling Products
- Selling Services
Ultimately, it’s a sales move. You want to sell a product or service, but everyone is focused on the fact that you have an opinion about celebrity gossip, fitness, or health and wellness. When the latest and greatest article is the focus, your products and services don’t get the same level of visibility. I’m not saying you can’t sell things through a “latest posts” home page design, but your customers will have to work to buy. They’ll have to read an article that sells them on the value and the need.
With a static home page, you can showcase your products, testimonials (social proof), examples of brands you’ve helped or networks you’ve been featured on. Your social media profiles can link to your site after mentioning an aspect of your product or service, and people can see what you are talking about more simply. They can get a feel for who you are, what you offer, and why they should care. Otherwise, your most recent blog post may not resonate for that particular person and they bounce.
Should I Put a Static Home Page Up Now?
It’s a valid question. The answer is: “Maybe… it depends.” Where are you at in your branding cycle? And how well do you know what your brand is about?
If you’re just getting started, let’s say within the past six months, you very likely don’t have much to put on your home page just yet. Better to keep the home page fresh with your latest content and build that audience, both by articles and by collecting email subscribers within each post.
If you have no products, no services, and no accolades, it’s probably not the right time to change your home page. Remember, change should ADD value. Change for the sake of change is just busy work.
Take Blog Tasting As An Example
For now, while this site is young, the home page will continue to showcase the most recent blog posts. But as this site grows, some day it may showcase a static home page such as ProBlogger.com and WellnessMama.com. Both of these sites showcase their most recent articles as part of the value you get from visiting their sites. Additional components of their home pages include newsletter subscription boxes, product listings, recent podcast episodes, courses, ebooks, and more.
Only the most prepared and organized individuals will launch a blog website with products, services, portfolio, or other media ready to go from the start. If you’re one of those people, launching with a static home page that includes your recent posts is a great idea. Otherwise, stick to the recent posts display until you have something to say. The worst thing you could do is to put up a boring and relatively empty static home page that reflects poorly upon your brand and your mission.
The worst thing you could do is to put up a boring and relatively empty static home page that reflects poorly upon your brand and your mission.Daniel Dessinger
When is the right time to change to a static home page?
As soon as you’ve created your first piece of non-blog post media (song, book, photo gallery, podcast, product, service, etc), you “can” make the switch. But unless it’s a major piece, like publishing a book or launching an album on iTunes, it’s better to wait until you have three pieces of non-blog post media. That gives you enough to showcase to make the home page pop.
If you’re not there yet, no worries. Keep going and know that as you build your brand, you’ll get there.