Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Blogs Are Wonderful -- But NOT as a Homepage

Blogs are great. And a CMS (content management system) website, which allows for relatively easy updating, changing, etc., is also great. One of the most widely used CMS's is WordPress. And this is where I have a problem.

Some WordPress websites don't look any different than any other website -- home page, about us page, services page, etc. Of course what a WordPress website does is allows your blog to be a part of your website. And that is fine. We've all been told that providing fresh content on your website is a good thing -- both for SEO and for keeping your readers happy and returning.

But why do people think that their blog should be their home page? And not just the current entry, but every entry they have ever made. So you can scroll and scroll and scroll and scroll and . . .  Am I ever going to get to the bottom of the page? Do I care? Sorry, but when I visit someone's website, the first thing I want to see is some description of who and what they are. Your home page should be an overview of you, your business, your services. Have a separate page for your blog. And then only highlight the most recent. Have an archives column (just like Blogger provides for my blogs) that saves them by month and year. People can look at them if they want. You can even make your blogs searchable so people can find past issues.

As long as I'm on a rant, I will complain about two other things on people's websites that annoy me. The first is a Twitter feed -- an ever-changing Twitter feed. I find it very distracting. If I want to see your Tweets, I'll click on the Twitter icon on your website and go see them on Twitter. The other annoyance is ads. I know that people are looking for ways to "monetize" their websites and/or blogs. But is filling up your homepage with ads really productive? I've gone to people's blogs or websites and wondered whose page it was -- with all of the ads it was hard to tell.

To me, my website is part of my overall marketing plan -- it's a place for people to learn more about me and my company. The portfolio page provides samples of my work so people can get a sense of what I do. And sometimes, I'm even found in search. The only way I expect my website to make money for me is by helping to build relationships with potential clients.

So think about what people see when they visit your website. You don't just want them to find you, you want them to stay and get to know you.