Written by Rachel Leist
When you’re first starting a blog for your business, it’s easy to forget about its homepage design. You’re focused on getting posts up on the blog so you can start ranking in search. You care about placing calls-to-action in your posts. You devote time to distributing your posts on social media to help bring in some more traffic. Your homepage design is something that gets set up with a “good enough” mentality … but it’s actually a key page to optimize on your website.
To help you get your business blog off to the right start (or revamp it if it wasn’t set up correctly in the first place), keep on reading, We’ll dig into the biggest mistakes companies can make with their blog homepage designs so you can avoid these same pitfalls.
1) Not Including Social Follow Buttons
Social follow buttons are a little bit different than social share buttons. Chances are, you already have the latter on your blog, but the former is especially handy to have on your homepage. Social follow buttons allow your readers to follow your profile on various social networks while social share buttons allow your readers to share your content without following you.
Social follow buttons can help increase the likelihood that your readers consistently see the content you post — because once they follow you, whenever you post out a new blog post on social media, there is a chance that they will see it and know you have new content available. And the more times your social media followers see and click on your content, the more blog traffic you’ll get.
2) Making It Difficult to Subscribe Via Email
If you want to maintain a relationship with your regular readers, you need to encourage them to subscribe to your blog content via email. Without an email notification that you have new content up on your blog, it can be difficult to get people back to your website again and again. But most people won’t go out of their way to find out if they can subscribe to your blog — you need to make it super easy for them to do so.
This means you need to make the subscribe option front-and-center, and make the form very short and easy to read. If you want someone to subscribe to your blog, only ask for the information you need for them to subscribe — usually just their email address and/or frequency preferences. You can then use that information to nurture your blog subscribers into leads.
3) Not Including CTAs in Your Sidebar
Somewhere on your blog homepage you should have a call-to-action to another offer from your company. By having this CTA you will accomplish two goals. First, you will provide more valuable content to your blog readers to help them get more interested in your company or industry. Second, you will increase your chances of turning your blog readers into leads.
While you want to make CTAs prominent on your blog homepage, they shouldn’t clutter your entire blog homepage. Think about what makes the most sense for your blog readers to do next. What type of content do you think they are most interested in downloading and reading? What other offers might they be interested in? Pick one or two that make the most sense for your company and carefully place them on your homepage in a place that’s noticeable but not disruptive.
On Magellan Jets’ blog, they feature two CTAs in their sidebar. One provides their readers with more content about the industry, and the other allows readers to get more information about their company. They are prominent but not distracting — exactly what blog sidebar CTAs should do.
4) Not Highlighting Recent Posts
The more articles people read on your blog, the more interested they can become in your company — so it’s in your best interest to make it easy for people to discover more content on your blog. One way to do that is to have an easily accessible list of recent blog articles right on your homepage.
5) Not Including Your Website’s Navigation Bar
Blogging helps you attract people to your website — but once they get there, you need to make it easy for them to navigate. When creating your blog, make sure to retain the same navigation as the rest of your website. This will allow your readers to hop easily between your blog and the rest of your website.
On New Breed Marketing’s blog you can see the navigation no matter where you are. If you are on the blog homepage, you can quickly get anywhere else on the website to see product information, services, case studies, or contact information. Similarly, if you are on another page, you can quickly hop back to the blog for more education on their industry. It’s a simple addition that can make a big difference in your web traffic.
6) Not Making Your Homepage Visual
When people come to your blog homepage for the first time, an overwhelming amount of text could scare them off. That’s where a visual blog homepage design can really help. The visuals on a blog make it easier to understand what the content is about while also looking less intimidating to a new reader.
Let’s take Yoh’s blog for example. When you come to their homepage, you see a visually appealing site. Each blog post has a featured image along with the blog post title. It looks beautiful and appealing while also being easy to use and navigate.
What else do you think is important when working on your blog homepage design?
Rachel Leist is a Senior Manager, Growth Marketing at HubSpot. She frequently blogs for the HubSpot Inbound Marketing Blog and other marketing publications. Rachel can’t get enough of HubSpot’s sales software. Connect with her on Twitter @RachelLeist. Interested in SEO? Take HubSpot Academy’s free SEO training course.