This post is a counter-argument to Paul Gannon’s Why Your Blog Shouldn’t Have a Homepage article on BloggingTips. You should read it first before reading my counter-argument. What Paul basically insists is that bloggers shouldn’t use the homepage as a typical blog roll of latest posts but should optimize it to achieve certain purposes such as offering opt-in forms or encouraging visitors to comment on posts.
In short, the homepage should be purpose-oriented and so far, I completely agree with what Paul suggests but I would like to deviate a bit and present another perspective.
The Relationship between Blogger and Blog
In the last 4 years spent as a blogger, I have come to classify bloggers as:
- authority influencers (example: Zac Johnson and Pat Flynn)
- side kick to business websites (example: KISSmetrics.com)
- generic bloggers (example: about 90% of the blogging world)
Now, the purpose of a homepage will find varied usage among these three categories, depending on the relationship between the blogger and the blog.
1) Authority Influencers
Bloggers like Zac Johnson and Pat Flynn are already established authority influencers. The blogging community knows them and as such, if you look at their homepage, it is optimized to achieve a purpose.
If you see the homepage of SmartPassiveIncome.com, it introduces the visitor to Pat, to the community, to his podcasts and lastly, there is the recent blog post.
All in all, it’s a killer example homepage optimization.
Drawing on Paul’s analogy of a brick-and-mortar storefront, I think the blog homepage should function as a ‘storefront’, as a peep into what can be found ‘inside’ the store.
2) Side Kick to Business Websites
These are typically business blogs, created with the purpose of driving niche traffic and generating leads.
If you read through the KISSmetrics blog, the content is all about data and analysis, which is what their software is all about and as Paul wrote is his piece, the homepage is already optimized as a ‘landing page’ intended to build customer base.
3) Generic Bloggers
The number of generic bloggers is high in the blogging community. Not many of them cross the bridge between being a general blogger to an authority influencer. The generic bloggers are typically those whose sole purpose of a blog is to earn advertising revenue.
As such, they cannot get rid of the typical homepage because:
- it is what advertisers expect. The advertisers wish to see updated list of recent blog posts.
- it is needed to display sidebars for advertisements.
The kind of optimization Paul suggests will not work for this category of bloggers unless they are ready with effort and commitment to leave behind generic blogging and move into authority blogging. Unless they are ready, they cannot abandon the typical ‘homepage’.
What do you think?