When you get to a blog you’ve never visited before, through a search, a listing on a social network site or a link on another blog, what kind of page do you land up on? Usually, it’ll be an article page. You’ll read the article, and decide, based on that article and the other info and look & feel offered to you on that page, whether you’ll go on through the site or not.
If you decide to go on, you’ll either go directly to another article, or you’ll most probably hit one of two links: the blogs about page, or its homepage. This time, you pick the homepage. If the site you’re visiting has a “default” theme, you’ll see a listing of the last 10 posts and the same sidebar you already saw on the article you just read. That’s it.
Isn’t that a blatant misuse of the trust you’ve just given that site? Wouldn’t it be way more appropriate if the site showed you the very best content it can offer you, and gave you a sample of what kind of content you can find on it?
That is your homepage! It’s a showcase of your blog. Whether people went to it because they heard from someone “you should go to *****.com, it’s cool” or because they’ve just read an article and want to learn more about your site, that page is probably your best chance of getting a new subscriber.
So what should be on your homepage? This is the bare minimum I’d say:
- An about text about yourself / about text about the blog.
- A big call to action, the action being subscribing, either through email or RSS.
- A listing of your latest posts.
- Your “taxonomies”, either your category structure, your tag structure or both.
After that it’s all about personal preferences. I like to show off some of my best content by having featured posts and plugins, and of course I show off my Twitter.
So, how does your blogs homepage do on these criteria? What would you do differently?