Are You Losing Visitors By Omitting This Key Page On Your Blog?

Are You Losing Visitors By Omitting This Key Page On Your Blog?

Start Your Engines!
Start Your Engines!

I had a good old rant about the value of about pages the other day. It was good for me. Very therapeutic. In that post, I was talking about considering your blog’s focus, and how your About page should ultimately be written and designed with that focus in mind. I briefly mentioned that if your main focus is to get your visitor to read more content, you might link to a “Start Here” page.

Let’s go off on a tangent for a moment. Imagine you are browsing the web, and you come across a blog. You hit the home page. You have a quick glance around, but you can’t really tell what exactly the blog’s topic is! What is the first thing you will do? You will likely hit the About page. That is why About pages get so may views – it appeals to our need to have an understanding of what we are seeing.

But if there is a certain little option nestled up against the About page link, you will open up a whole new world of awesome to your visitor.

“New? Start Here!”

Start Here!
That’s right – tell your new visitors where they should start.

It’s the About page’s best friend, and your blog’s savior. And yes, I like to work with hyperbole on a regular basis.

If there’s one bone I have to pick with the blogging platform, it is the fact that your best content can disappear from sight. If you are anything like me, you like to write “evergreen” content. Stuff that doesn’t grow old, wrinkly, and useless with age (yes, I’m still talking about your content). That being the case, how can you get a new visitor’s eyeballs on your very best stuff?

One popular method is with some kind of “popular posts” widget. That is definitely a great option, but the widget usually lists popular posts by pretty arbitrary standards (e.g. number of comments). How on earth do you define “most popular”, anyway? Perhaps the posts that you think are most important for new visitors to see would never feature.

And that is where your “Start Here” page comes in. The concept is simple, but I can assure you that it works very effectively. Since putting my own “New? Start Here!” page in place on my own blog, I have received several emails thanking me for having such a useful page in place. And for every one email I receive, there are probably 100 other people who are sending positive vibes through the ether (or something like that, anyway…).

The fact is, as a new visitor, you want to know two things:

  1. Is this blog of any interest to me?
  2. If it is, where is the content that is of interest to me?

Your best bet of getting a new visitor to turn into a repeat visitor is to sit them straight in front of your “Grade-A, certified awesome” content. Once you have established a bit of a reputation, they will likely be more forgiving of your less fantastic content. Hit them with the good stuff first. That is where a “Start Here” page can be invaluable.

Examples Of Great “Start Here” Pages

There are a lot of different ways you can go about putting together your “Start Here” page, but here a couple of great examples.

Illuminated Mind

Illuminated Mind
Incidentally, Jonathan’s site is also a great example of a simple, uncluttered design

Jonathan’s “New? Start Here” page is the format I follow. He does a great job of briefly introducing the visitor to what his blog can do for them (that’s key), asking them to sign up to his newsletter (which would seem to be his blog’s main focus), and then he hits them with a handy categorized list of his best content. Perfect.

Smart Passive Income

Smart Passive Income
Videos are never a bad thing, and Pat does a great job with this one.

Pat invites his new readers to “Get Started with Smart Passive Income”. His approach is slightly different – whilst Jonathan tells his visitors what they will get and jumps straight to the good stuff, Pat takes a moment to explain to his readers the concept of what he teaches. This is important for bloggers that expect to receive “uneducated” readers – i.e. those who may not be fully up to scratch with the blog’s topic. The use of video is also a great addition – it is personal and engaging.

Give Your Visitors Direction!

Stop new visitors from getting confused – give them a clear direction.

So what are you waiting for? A “Start Here” page can be a great addition to your blog. And trust me; you will see some big traffic heading there as soon as you put it in place. It will draw a lot of visits, and will probably result in an increase in your time on site and average views, and a decrease in your bounce rate. It’s all good. Come and shout at me if it doesn’t work out; I can take it.

So do you have a “Start Here” page already? Or are you going to slap one up now? Or do you not think they are any good? Let us know in the comments section!

Creative commons photos courtesy of Rich Anderson, Todd Dailey and Norlando Pobre