Give him the opportunity.
This is how:
He can do that with a page.
Want to call it the “Getting Started” page, like most blogs do? It’s up to you.
Look, visitors are often left alone to walk on blogs without guidance. A serious blogger wouldn’t let that happen.
So, you’ve got to have the right attitude of offering a helping hand.
In this definitive guide, I’ll show you how to hold your new visitor’s hand and walk him through your blog.
It’s time to dive in…
There’s only one reason.
And it is to clearly direct visitors. To show them how and where to get started.
You may not know the next step a user would take on your blog.
So, you’ve got to lead him.
Look at it this way:
You educate people on how to start blogging. A visitor comes to learn from your blog.
And he’s wondering “how do I go about starting this kind of business? Which post do I begin with, and where do I find it?”
Answering those basic questions will help you create a great Start Here page.
Is It Ideal to rehash about you and your blog here?
A great start here page doesn’t give details. Not even about you or your blog.
Your ‘About’ page takes care of that.
But see, visitors wouldn’t wonder what your blog is about when they land on your Start Here page.
Let’s take SmartBlogger’s Start Here page for instance:
Because Jon Morrow understands what this page is about, he didn’t rehash about himself and his blog.
He already has an ‘About’ page in place.
Straight on, he used valuable links to direct both new visitors and seasoned bloggers. Here, visitors are to pick and dive into wherever they are in their blogging journey.
You see what I’m talking about a great Start Here page?
Let’s now get the…
Difference between an About page and a Start Here page
An About page does not give directions to new visitors. It only tells them who you are, what you do and what your blog does.
A Start Here page shows people where to begin the first time they visit.
An About page is required by Google for trust rank. (Even for those who want to monetize their blogs with Google Ad Sense).
But a Start Here page isn’t a requirement to build trust.
Because Google take brands VERY seriously, you’ve got to look like a big brand.
And Having a thorough About Us page is part of what does the magic. Brian Dean has this covered:
So, you may choose to briefly introduce yourself and blog on this page but ensure you don’t rehash your ‘About’ page.
You may be thinking, “it’s a Sitemap.”
Yes, I choose to call it a mini-sitemap. This is why:
A Sitemap often contain all pages in a form that’s not targeted at helping users know where to begin.
But a Start Here Page does the opposite with few links to your blog’s core.
I advise you to create and maintain both pages. Okay?
Time to lay out the…
Elements of a great Start Here page
I’ve noticed that the below vital points were looked at in the outlines of the 3 examples given in this post.
1. They clearly stated who their ideal readers are
Let them know whether your blog is right for them or not. Help them not to waste their time if they‘re not your target audience.
Check how Chris begun his Start Here page for Behind The Mixer:
SmartBlogger also puts it this way:
Notice they did not beat about the bush talking about themselves at the beginning of the page. But concentrated on letting visitors know if they’re at the right place or not.
Still want to talk a little bit About you?
Then, I suggest you link to your “About” page, like Chris did on his.
Do you have some definitions to do, and some terms and acronyms to explain?
Briefly do that for your new visitor.
2. Point visitors to handpicked selection of blog posts
Handpicked selections speaks to where each visitor is in his blogging journey.
Your selected blog posts are not supposed to be linked to your favorite ones. Your favorite may not be what your users like.
I refer to those posts as “your best content.” Your best content is determined by the user.
These links must be the select few under categories for your new visitors and existing bloggers at various stages of the said blog topic or business.
It’ll be crazy to include all your 500 to 1000 blog posts on this page. Visitors will click away when overwhelmed.
He has 6 categories for his visitors and under each, he linked to only 5 essential blog posts, making 30 unique articles out of the many.
Also consider what Chris did:
He has 3 categories for those who want to learn the basics of church audio, those who need solution to a specific problem, and those who want to take their skills to the next level.
Chris linked to 4 valuable articles under his first and third categories, and 3 articles under the second.
3. They’ve placed their giveaways
This page might be the ideal place to give your visitors something valuable and unique.
Never make them feel it’s a sales page.
Jon Morrow and Chris Huff uses their free gifts to build their email lists.
4. They’ve made provision for people to join their email list
Why not build your email list here, too? Offer a freebie as an incentive.
You might like to include a call to action that will ask people to join your list.
Chris has it downward his Start Here page:
5. Would you like people to connect on social media? (optional)
Put your social media links on your Start Here page if you want to.
Personally, I don’t see it to be necessary since there are links of that sort on your blog pages already.
Focus on using this page for it’s right purpose.
3 best places for your Start Here page links
Place it where visitors can easily find it. We have the…
1. Main menu navigation bar at the top of your blog
Chris has it placed at the far right hand side of his blog as seen in the screenshot below:
SmartBlogger has it this way on their navigation bar:
Also look at Smart Passive Income’s navigation bar:
2. You may ultimately make it your homepage
Or make it part of it.
Copyblogger, in their finest wisdom has it in place as their homepage:
Sprinkling the link on pages like a homepage which is not designed as a Start Here page and your About page is cool and super effective. What do you think?
Do you really want your blog to grow?
Try this page. And you would start reaping benefits like…
Low bounce rate:
A new visitor finds your post, reads it and leaves your site.
You have traffic trooping in with high bounce rate.
Is that what you’ve been dreaming of?
This page is used to mitigate such problems.
Your best content and older blog posts resurfaces.
You’re given the opportunity to dive deep into archive to bring out old posts for your new visitors.
They will not only read the post that drove them to your blog but the others, too.
The stage at which you get repeat visitors sets in.
Visitors are shown around to carry out many actions.
Longer time spent on the blog.
A good ranking factor, right there.
It’s your turn.
You’ve seen the best start here pages.
So, create and publish a Start Here page on your blog if you don’t have one.
My 3 favorites. What’re yours?
Do let me know in the comment box below.