For a blogger, their blog is the entirety of their website. For businesses, a blog is a small fraction of their website. For both types of sites, a homepage serves a distinct purpose: to tell a visitor why they should stick around.
When you’re a blogger, setting your homepage to display your latest posts will showcase the content you produce, giving visitors a reason to come back if they like it. When you’re a business, your content should tell visitors why they want to do business with you. It should also give visitors a reason to take some kind of action like sign up for your newsletter, watch a video, or request a quote.
When a business uses a blog as their homepage, visitors don’t get to see what the company has to offer. Business blogs are predominantly used for content marketing, and often deviate from the primary purpose of the website. For example, a plumber might publish DIY content that covers more than plumbing issues. If that’s what a potential client sees on the homepage, they’ll think they’re in the wrong spot. They’re looking for a plumber, not DIY advice.
Using a blogging platform? Set your homepage to a page
Statistics show that 74.6 million websites use WordPress. Half of those sites are hosted for free on WordPress.com. The rest use a self-hosted installation. Clearly, blogging is popular, but many businesses don’t know they don’t have to show their latest posts on their homepage.
Unless you’re a blogger, a blog article or collection of your latest posts isn’t what your visitors should see on your homepage. If your website is powered by WordPress or another blogging platform, be sure to set your homepage to a page rather than a post.
Even if you are a blogger, you might benefit from setting a page as your homepage. If you’re monetizing your blog through affiliate links, email marketing, or PPC ads, setting up static homepage content gives you a chance to market to more of your visitors. You can turn your homepage into a sales page, a special offer, or a video introducing what your site is about.
Set your blog to a subdirectory with one installation
If you want to use a blogging platform to power your whole site, you can still separate your homepage from your blog. A great example of this is Green Residential, a company devoted to property management in Houston. They’re using WordPress to power their entire website, but they’ve tucked their blog under the directory ‘/blog.’
You don’t need to create two separate installations to accomplish this in WordPress. All you need to do is create a page titled ‘blog’ and in your control panel, assign that page to display your posts.
Don’t use a blog if you don’t need to
You can build out your website on the WordPress platform and never make use of the blog feature. The platform is promoted as the ultimate blogging platform, and it might be, but it’s more than that. WordPress is a flexible website platform that allows you to be creative, customize themes, and add features not inherently available. With the right theme, you can have a website that doesn’t look like a blog.
Although everyone would benefit from publishing high-quality content on a regular basis, blogs take time to manage. Content takes time to create. If you’re not able to commit to writing, publishing, and promoting your content, don’t feel obligated to use the blog feature that comes with your website’s CMS.
On the other hand, don’t write it off. Keep an open mind because in the future you may decide to outsource content creation, and then you’ll need a blog.
Your homepage isn’t usually a visitor’s first impression
A homepage is often the most viewed page of a website, but it’s not usually the first page visitors land on. Most visitors will find your site through search results displaying internal pages. It’s second-page clickers and returning visitors that make up the majority of your homepage traffic. It’s a good sign when people click through to your homepage after visiting another page. It means they want to know what else you have to offer. What you display to those second-page clickers is up to you.