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The Welcome Page

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on September 23, 2013 in Internet |

What is blogging all about? For me it is the passing on of information, news, opinion and general tidbits directly to the reading / surfing public in a form that is easy to handle, easy to find and enjoyable. That, for me, means that the blog part of a web site – when the site is expressly designed as a blog – should be the main section, the front page, the first thing that a surfer lands on when they head towards a blog.

Viktoria Michaelis: Welcome

Photo Credit: disparkysCreative Commons

In her interesting Blog Exercises – a continuing series of interest to all bloggers – Lorelle suggests that the Welcome Page should be a thing of the past, that it shouldn’t exist on sites which are primarily there as blogs. The Welcome Page is a distraction, a page which forces anyone with interest in the sites’ contents to click further to find the information they are seeking. Now, this may well be a good thing as far as visitor statistics are concerned, but not so good for the visitor themselves who, as we are all keenly aware, seem to have precious little time and wish to find what they’re looking for immediately. If it isn’t there for them first, before any other information, then they tend to move on to another site and the whole purpose of having a blog to share is lost.

That said, there are many sites which have good reason to begin with a Welcome Page. These are the sites which do not have the blog as their main entity, but as an addition; web sites which sell products, for example, and need to give a little information out first. The WordPress format is ideal for such sites just as it is for bloggers, the main customer. However, if a site isn’t one of these, isn’t there to sell a product, why bother with a Welcome Page? Why push your readers away by creating an obstacle to your writing?

The solution, as far as WordPress sites is concerned, is a ‘sticky’ post. A sticky post is one which remains at the top of the front page no matter how often you write and is always the first one people get to see. With WordPress it is easy enough to create such a post, merely by clicking on Visibility in the Publish menu. Here someone who really wants to have a Welcome message can create a short introduction post which doesn’t distract from the real purpose of the whole. Of course, such posts should be short and sweet, after all, there is an About Me Page too and many other possibilities available for adding further information, or instructions, for those who need it.

The main thing is to know what it is that your visitors are looking for: is a Welcome Page right at the beginning really necessary, or can the information be pushed to another page and linked by the main menu? Are you selling something, or presenting yourself and your interests? Do your visitors tend to come to the site, read one page and then move on to another site? If the latter is the case, then lose the Welcome Page quickly, because your blog is failing to attract readers. Concentrate on the main area of your interests, by putting those interests right in the main view of every visitor who clicks through.

Love & Kisses, Viki.

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8 Comments

  • Lorelle says:

    Thank you for sharing my blog exercise with your readers. You are right about most of the points, save one that needs clarification.

    Out of the box, so to speak, the standard WordPress setup is the blog format, content displayed in reverse chronology on the front page of the site. From there, the front page may be customized by the user or the options of a WordPress Theme. It takes seconds to create a static front page and separate “blog” section on another Page. The Sticky Post feature is just one option from among many site models, all of which can be done quickly and fairly easily in WordPress, again, dependent also upon the options of the WordPress Theme.

    The point you make that is most important is that you need to design your site based upon the needs of your readers, first time and return. Meet their needs and you are most of the way there. :D

    Thanks!

    • ‘Out of the box’ is correct, and most people do indeed use WordPress as a blog. However, more and more are discovering the versatility of the software and using it for other forms of web sites which, to my way of thinking, is not a bad thing. WordPress is perhaps one of the easiest packages to use which makes it ideal both for web sites and blogs.

      • Francois says:

        WordPress clearly has taken a new tack in their development of the software.
        It is now a true Content Management System that can build just about any kind of website, blog or other (although it is not very strong on e-commerce, yet.)

        For ease of use and maintenance, it beats Typo3 and Drupal hands down. For customisation and theming, it is way ahead of Joomla. A little bit of under the hood fiddling and it is the most secure.

        The WordPress development community is also the most mobile-aware and several themes, plugins, and modules “mobilise” the front and back offices in a few minutes.
        It is the future.

        On sticky posts: I would lock comments, some fool is bound to leave a graffito there.

        • I agree. I’ve looked at Typo3 which scared me off very quickly indeed. Joomla is good, but far too complicated: too many clicks to do something you can achieve with WordPress in one. I wouldn’t be surprised if more companies move towards WordPress in the future and utilize plug-ins to commercialize their site. There are now plug-ins for all major payment means – such as PayPal – which can be integrated quickly and effectively.

          As to the sticky, yes, it could happen… and be amusing.

          • Francois says:

            Currently putting up an entire site for (natural, handmade) skin care, including e-commerce with major credit cards.
            Open Source e-commerce (osCommerce.com)
            + WordPress
            + WP Online Store plugin so my friends, the handmakers of skin care, can manage the osCommerce installation from WordPress.
            Cost: three hours of my ample free time.

          • Francois says:

            As you know better than I do, time setting up is nothing compared to content time. I probably could have done it as fast in Typo3 but then…
            It is my friends’ first web presence and integrating content in WordPress is a lot easier than with any other CMS. I got them a very nice theme that allows managing every single bit of content from a touch device. Drag, drop, press buttons, no computer. Even from an iThing.
            Only on WordPress.

  • Rahul Kundliya says:

    As i read this article, i find it very informative. it is a nice one because it deals with an interesting ideas and information. I like it so much as from the first time i read it, the information that are used here attracted me a lot. They take my attention from the first look, so thanks so much for sharing with us this great topic in this great website.

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