Running a blog is one of the most common ways to establish and strengthen your online presence. However, the fact that blogs are so ubiquitous nowadays doesn’t necessarily mean that they are intuitive to use. And if visitors have trouble figuring out what they are supposed to do once they land on your blog, they will start reaching for the ‘back’ button before you get a chance to convert them. One way to solve this problem that has been gaining popularity recently is to have a ‘start here’ page on your blog.
The purpose of a ‘start here’ page is to give your audience an idea of what your blog is all about, how it’s meant to be used, and who are the people behind it. A ‘start here’ page is therefore essential for your conversion rate optimization efforts, so you ought to make sure it is designed right. To help you with this task, we have created a short primer that covers a number of best practices for designing high-converting ‘start pages’.
Your ‘start here’ page is an excellent place to outline your mission statement. The role of a mission statement is to sum the purpose of your blog in a single sentence. It will give your audience a general idea of what they can expect from interacting with your blog. Your mission statement should always include a clearly defined value proposition. “You get to read cool content” is an example of a value proposition that is too vague to be of any use to visitors, wheres one like “You can expect daily content updates on topics related to web design” does a much better job at introducing your blog to newcomers.
The ‘start here’ page can also be used to showcase the user interface of your blog. Even if your blog is intuitive to use, it still helps to show how it works in practice. There are three approaches you can take to demonstrate your blog’s functionality. One is to have a written explanation of what each menu, button, and form does. Another would be to have short introductory animations pop up when a visitor hovers their mouse over each page element. Finally, you can create a brief video tutorial that provides a rundown of all the features present on your blog.
Leaving a strong first impression is the cornerstone of your blog’s UX. And your ‘start here’ page is the perfect venue for presenting your most enticing content. There are several factors to consider when deciding which blog posts to feature on your ‘start here’ page. Your most-viewed posts are a logical candidate, but you should also consider ones with lengthy comment sections, to showcase community engagement. You can also highlight popular guestposts, to indicate your willingness to work with talented content creators. Finally, if you want to make your ‘start here’ page more dynamic, you can change your featured content on a monthly basis.
The ‘start here’ page is not just about presenting information, it is also about encouraging the audience to start interacting with the rest of your blog. This means that everything your present on your ‘start here’ page should have the goal of nudging visitors to take specific actions. So while you are explaining how commenting works, you can point people to the comment section of your most recent post. If you are talking about customer service, be sure to include a number people can call. Even if you are just running a personal blog, presenting people with the option to subscribe to your newsletter can pay dividends in the future.
When creating your ‘start here’ page, you have some leeway in how your approach its visual design. ‘Start here’ pages are still not a common feature on most blogs, so you have more room to experiment. For example, if the rest of your blog has straightforward grid structure, you can create a ‘start here’ page with a broken grid layout to make it more interesting visually. Another option would be to include high-resolution images to better illustrate the topics your blog covers. Whatever you do, make sure that your design doesn’t stray too far from your core visual identity.
While it may sound counter-intuitive, your ‘start here’ page should not be solely focused on your blog. In fact, giving visitors a means to access resources outside your blog will be taken as a sign of goodwill and respect, thus creating a positive UX. For example, if your blog covers topics related to web design, you can provide a ‘resources’ section with links to website design trustworthy companies to get professional-looking results in the industry. And if you play your cards right, you can ask the providers of these resources to link back to your ‘start here’ page in return.
‘Start here’ pages are one of the most powerful conversion tools at your disposal. They combine a variety of features that you would otherwise find scattered around your blog, and utilize them to present your blog in the best possible light.
Meaghan Yorke is a content writer for DesignRush. These days she is all about researching various IT related topics. When she is not working she enjoys dancing classical ballet.
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