In the process of redesigning this blog I've been stuck on the homepage. What on Earth should I feature on the homepage? Who cares what I put on the homepage? Who is going to the homepage?
Designing a blog is different from other sites. The general readership subscribes to your feed and from that point onward typically falls into one of these scenarios:
- They never return to the site again - they only read the content of the site via some sort of feed aggregator.
- They follow the feed and visit the permalinks to the individual post to read or review the whole article on the site.
So whether or not your avid reader returns to your site or not, they most certainly are not going back to the homepage in order to get the latest content from your site. So who goes there? I'd assume only new visitors will enter your blog at it's homepage. But even that is unlikely because most visitors will either come through a search engine result pointing to a direct article page or a reference someone else made on another web-site that cites one of your articles.
There has to be a better way.
So it's safe to say that the homepage can in many cases provide little or no value to most of your users. But that's only true if the homepage of your blog only supplies your readership with the exact same information that your feed can provide them with. What I mean is that everything on the front page of a blog is automated and I think that's the problem. Your feed does a good enough job, actually, a better job at automating the delivery of your latest content.
There has to be some value that you can provide that the feed can't. That's where you come in - what better way to solve this problem than to introduce a human element into the mix. You. What I'm suggesting is what I've decided to do for the new version of this site: edited content on the homepage versus automated. I believe my latest article is not always going to be my most relevant or appealing for most of my readership. Imagine if every periodical news magazine's cover story was the last story approved by the editor before going to press. That is practically how a typical blog is set up.
How would you do it?
So now I'm asking you: What are some better strategies to add value to your blog's homepage? What type of content would you choose to hand select for your blog's homepage? How often would you do it? How much of it would you feature? These are all things to consider. I hope someone reading this has some good ideas. I just might use them on this site!