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.
Photo Credit: disparkys – Creative 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.