WordPress is not just for blogs any more. It is a powerful CMS (Content Management System) that be used to build websites. My question to you today is: “Should the home page of your website be a blog?”
I’m asked that question all the time and my first question back is “are you willing to commit to blogging? Will you keep your content fresh so your site doesn’t look abandoned?” If the answer is yes, we move on to discuss overall strategy. It’s a personal decision and one that needs to be part of your overall business plan.
I’m working with a new client who is an amazing woman who brings new meaning to the word multitasking. She wears so many hats that it’s hard to explain exactly what it is that she does. When she first came to me, she wanted me to build a separate website for each of the “hats” that she wears. She has published three books, writes travel blogs, markets her editing services and recently launched a business to help authors self-publish.
After taking all of this in and delving deeper into her long term business strategy, it became apparent that in the future she will be writing more books, promoting her editing services, helping authors self-publish and who knows what else. When I started talking to her about what her brand was, she was unclear. What should she brand? Should she brand her editing services or her new publishing company? What about her books and travel blogs?
Step #1 – Define Your Brand
When we talked on the phone, it became apparent that in this case, it makes sense for her to “be the brand”. Rather than developing separate logos and branding separate sites for each of her niches, she is the brand. She’s reserving her name as her domain name and we’ll be using her picture in the header graphic. Rather than separate sites, she’ll be driving all of her traffic to one domain.
Her blog is going to be her home page and she will have new pages for each major endeavor. For example, each time she writes an article about a pilgrimage (or one of her books, her services or her business), it will appear as a new post on her blog. By assigning the corresponding category code, it will also appear on a page devoted to that specific trip. She’ll also have separate categories and pages for each of her manuscripts, her publishing company and her editing services. If someone is following a specific trip (or interested in a specific book or business), she can send them directly to that page. By strategically placing photos and using headers, each page will act as a mini-blog in itself.
Explaining the Strategy
Since my client is new to blogging, doesn’t understand categories and was just grasping the idea of branding her site, I used the analogy of the wheel. She now envisions her home page being the hub of the wheel and each page being a spoke from that blog. She also understands that as she posts articles, (regardless if it’s for one of her travel blogs, a book, her editing services or her new business), her new content will be on her home page. She can also direct her potential clients and customers directly to the topic that they’re interested in.
Multiple Domain Names
To take our strategy a little deeper, my client had already reserved a new domain name for her new business. What would happen if someone was only interested in learning more about that business and wasn’t interested in her blog?
Simple! By using a 301 redirect for her 2nd domain name (for her publishing business), she can send people directly to that page (spoke of the wheel). This page will be designed in a way that visitors will immediately recognize that they’re in the “right place.” (So that the 3-second rule won’t rear its ugly head.)
In the future, she has the option of using this same strategy and having domain names for each of her books too. For now, we’re not running in multiple directions but we have a strategy in place. Our task now is to build that hub and as her content grows, work on the spokes.
What do you think? Do you or a client have a similar strategy in place? Do you agree with my advice or would you have suggested something different? Is your blog the hub of your website or a spoke?