Treat Your Blog Posts Like Website Home Pages

by Sherryl Perry on March 8, 2011

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Your blog is a website. There’s nothing special or magical about it. The same basics for good website design apply. You need to drive traffic to your blog just as you would if you had a website for your business that didn’t include a blog. The main difference is that with a blog, each post needs to function as a home page. So, here are 4 simple steps to treating each one of your blog posts as if they were the home page of your site.

#1 – The 3 Second Rule

Basically, you have about 3-seconds to convince your website visitor that they’re in the right place. Regardless of how they found you or why they’re there, you have approximately three seconds to convince them that they’re in the right place. Think of Arnold Schwarzenegger in “The Terminator”, scanning the room, taking inventory. Most of your website visitors are in this mode when they land on your page. You need to grab their attention right there.

#2 – Above the Fold

Back when everyone got their news from traditional newspapers, editors everywhere followed the basic rule of getting the most important headlines and news articles on the front page of the paper. The news that appeared “above the fold” was the part of the newspaper that was seen when someone walked by a news stand. Lead off your post with a headline that will grab your reader’s attention and then make sure that your article delivers. Pay special attention to the text that appears to your readers without them having to scroll. This essentially is the content that is above-the-fold.

#3 – Great Content

There’s always an ongoing discussion if you should write content for the search engines or content for your readers. Why can’t it be both? You know who your target reader is. You know what the benefits to them are. So whether you’re writing to entertain, educate, challenge or sell, write awesome content. As Corbett Barr (another awesome blogger that I follow) wrote – “Write Epic Shit. (Those are his words not mine!)

#4 – Call to Action

What do you want your readers to do? Are you trying to teach them something? Are you fulfilling a need? Are you trying to convince them that your product or service is the best and they can’t live without it? Are you building a following in hopes of selling advertising, promoting affiliate programs or preparing for a big product launch? Whatever it is that you want your readers to do, make it easy for them to do it. For example, I may want to encourage readers to read another awesome post of mine about keeping your website visitors on your site. Inserting hyperlinks like that one is a good way to accomplish that.

Your blog readers may never actually see the “home” page of your website. Some of your blog readers may eagerly search the archives and some may go to your home page to see your most recent articles. Others may follow a link that is posted somewhere and land on a specific article. Do you keep that in mind when you’re writing your posts? Do you believe that each article you write should make your readers want to stay and read more? What are your thoughts?

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Saurabh Saxena May 10, 2013 at 7:45 am

Yes, indeedy – still have some design tweaks on home page, as well as above-the-fold on the blog index, but apart from that, all good. Damn Studiopress and their awesome team of developers! 🙂

Heidi Alberti & Atticus Uncensored
Twitter:
July 25, 2011 at 2:08 pm

“Write Epic Shit” — now that’s a motto I can get behind!! In fact, I’m posting those words on my desk — great advice for every project I am currently working on!!

Nice reminder on the 3 Second Rule (or elevator pitch) — gotta catch ’em early!

Thanks for the tips & reminders, Sherryl

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
July 26, 2011 at 11:26 am

Thanks for dropping by Heidi. I really enjoy your blog too. (I was going to follow you on Twitter but the link you left didn’t lead me to your page.) Good luck writing “epic shit”. 🙂 I need to get busy writing myself.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..The Buzz about Google+ Do You Love it or Hate it?My Profile

Judy Stone-Goldman
Twitter:
July 25, 2011 at 12:54 pm

I can see by all these comments that you practice what you preach and keep people coming back to learn from your website. I have been meaning to change my site so that the blog is the landing page rather than what I currently have (which is just a “welcome statement” and doesn’t meet any of the criteria people talk about for a good website!) That 3 second rule is one I’ve heard before–and it always is intimidating!

Thanks for great tips and the motivation to improve.

Judy Stone-Goldman

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
July 26, 2011 at 11:22 am

Hi Judy,
I visited your blog, left a comment and took a peak at your home page. I noticed you’re using Thesis too! I’ve been “meaning” to make changes to my site for quite a while and in the last few days, I’ve been slowly changing things. Good luck changing your blog to your home page!
Sherryl Perry recently posted..8 Reasons I Do NOT Follow Like or Connect on Social Networking SitesMy Profile

Robert's Sister
Twitter:
July 25, 2011 at 10:14 am

Sherryl, Great tips for a new-ish blogger like myself. I’m always trying to find ways to increase readership (and keep them) so love your suggestions. Thanks!

Trish

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
July 25, 2011 at 2:58 pm

Hi Tish,
It’s good to see you here! I really enjoy your blog. It’s nice and personal.

One way to increase your readership is to build awareness of yourself by commenting on blogs (which you are already doing). What can be a big help to this is to have a profile pic display every time you comment. That way, we recognize you. You can establish a profile (for free) on http://gravatar.com.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..8 Reasons I Do NOT Follow Like or Connect on Social Networking SitesMy Profile

Julie Labes
Twitter:
July 25, 2011 at 9:56 am

Thanks for the great tips. It is sometimes hard for me to write fun posts as I like to mix it up a bit but then it can lose those all important keywords and titles. Like you say, the secret is finding a way to integrate both great content and the magical words that drives traffic to the site.

Julie Labes: The Fun-Loving, Feisty, Fearless, Frisky, Fierce Over 50 Traveler

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
July 25, 2011 at 2:54 pm

Julie, I can totally relate. Sometimes, I’m so passionate about writing, I don’t have any keywords on my mind. There have been several times when I’ve had to go back to my article and incorporate a few keywords before I posted it. It’s a fine line between writing for your readers and writing for the search engines. I always put my readers first but at the same time, if no one ever reads the post because they can’t find it, that’s not good either.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..If Your Website Was a Wheel – Is Your Blog the Hub or a Spoke?My Profile

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
June 22, 2011 at 4:19 pm

Great! I appreciate hearing from readers who find tips they can use here. Good luck building awareness of your blog. With hard work, a blog can be a very effective tool to drive traffic to a website or to be a popular website on it’s own. Thanks for joining us here.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..If Your Website Was a Wheel – Is Your Blog the Hub or a Spoke?My Profile

John Knights@Business Loans June 10, 2011 at 6:38 pm

As for me, there nothing much more powerful than holding those target customers and giving them the information they needed so they will keep watching you. As long as we are on the right track and right content, I think that will keep us safe.

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
June 11, 2011 at 10:34 am

John, I agree that it is so important to retain your customers rather than having to always acquire new ones. Good, relative content is critical to doing this.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..If Your Website Was a Wheel – Is Your Blog the Hub or a Spoke?My Profile

John Knights June 13, 2011 at 1:17 pm

Very right Sherryl.

You’ve just said it. What’s the point of gaining new customers if I can’t keep old ones.

John Souza May 11, 2011 at 5:42 pm

Sherryl,
I really like the way you pulled together some of the oldest rules of publishing with some of the newest ideas and social media. IE. Above the fold — Blogging is THE newspaper for many these days. Just as easily as one can put a subscription to The New York Times into their e-reader – One can easily add blog subscriptions and have them delivered daily (with certain blogs) – It’s time the blogging industry comes together with certain printing ideals and standards.

John Souza
SocialMediaMagic.Com
John Souza recently posted..Twitter Users Hate Bots – Do You Sound Like OneMy Profile

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
May 11, 2011 at 8:43 pm

John, Thanks for your input! Times change and the medium is different but a lot of the standards and good practices that were established years ago can definitely be applied to this new medium. The same thing goes for networking. I often compare networking online to networking face-to-face. Sure, it can be more difficult to communicate when you can’t read someone’s facial expressions but basically, you’re still building relationships. The venue has changed but a lot stays the same.

Terje Sannarnes May 10, 2011 at 12:05 pm

The only way to succeed in blogging is to provide readers with well-structured and valuable information. Treating blog posts like website home pages you will manage to achieve the best results.

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
May 10, 2011 at 2:53 pm

Hi Terje,
I wrote this comparison of a blog post to a newspaper article because I’ve found a lot of new bloggers don’t immediately grab their reader’s attention. There are so many blogs out there with a lot of potential. As you point out, it’s important to combine good structure with good content.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..3 Ways to Build Awareness and Get Ideas for Your Website BlogMy Profile

Mike Anderson April 21, 2011 at 2:15 pm

I was searching on internet and found this informative blog. Could you please help me I want to use wordpress theme as content management system. Thanks!

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
April 22, 2011 at 12:45 pm

Hi Mike,
I followed your link and saw that you host your blog with BlogSpot. First off, I highly recommend that (if you’re serious about blogging and hope to make money from it at some point -either by driving traffic to another website or by building a website around your blog) that you reserve your own domain name and self-host. That’s the best way of building your own brand and being able to control your own website.

This article that I wrote http://keepupwiththeweb.com/to-blog-or-not-to-blog-that-is-the-question/ shoud get you started. I’d be glad to help you more. You can contact me using the form on this site or send an email to: sherryl @ keepupwiththeweb.com. Good luck!
Sherryl Perry recently posted..8 Reasons I Do NOT Follow Like or Connect on Social Networking SitesMy Profile

TToby Aletha April 11, 2011 at 8:44 am

Excellent post, Sherryl! You have impressed me!
Of course, first of all we should write great & informative content for our visitors, but we should never forget about search engines. As it says – higher ranking, more visitors! The idea is to try and get as many of our web pages indexed by the search engines as possible, which obviously gets us a better chance to improve our ranking on a SERP (Search Engine Results Page), if we only have two main pages with all the information crammed into them then we certainly lower our odds.

Catherine Lockey
Twitter:
April 9, 2011 at 9:56 pm

I agree Sherryl – why not write for both the engines and your customers. This is an informative, accurate article which I’m sure is a help to many bloggers.

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
April 1, 2011 at 10:14 pm

Thanks. Getting your blog to “take off” takes time. It’s important to make connections. Can I offer one more piece of advice? One big way to make connections online is to create your online presence by creating a Gravatar at http://www.gravatar.com and also using your real name helps too.

Thanks for commenting and I hope to “see” you here again. 🙂
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Is Online Shopping Like Being in the Self Checkout LaneMy Profile

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
April 1, 2011 at 10:10 pm

I just checked out your blog and saw all your great pictures. I’m definitely jealous of your long growing season in FL! 🙂
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Is Online Shopping Like Being in the Self Checkout LaneMy Profile

stefano March 22, 2011 at 3:26 pm

Some really useful and informative steps. I like the 3 second rule. I have to think about that.

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
April 1, 2011 at 10:12 pm

We are all in such a rush these days and there are so many choices available. You really have to treat each page of your site as your one and only opportunity to make that first impression. Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment.

Nick March 15, 2011 at 11:19 am

I didn’t know about 3-seconds rule, but I’m sure it’s right. I can judge by myself. When I open any web-page I scan it quickly and decide whether I want to stay here or not. You passed my scan 🙂

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
March 16, 2011 at 10:07 pm

Thanks Nick. I’m glad I passed your scan! 🙂
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Tips for Optimizing Photos and Graphics for Your BlogMy Profile

Stirile zilei March 15, 2011 at 10:50 am

I have some blogs too and i will keep in mind all this tips for writing the articles. In fact every article when it’s opened it acts like a single web page with the title that you searched. Good content and good titles are always the best ways to get some visitors on your pages.

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
March 16, 2011 at 10:09 pm

That’s as true now as it always has been. Good content is critical to having a website or blog that meets the needs of your visitors. There’s really no substitution.

Keyuri Joshi
Twitter:
March 14, 2011 at 11:33 am

Spot on guidance! In a profession like mine, a website is not necessarily readily known about or searched for. The blog is accessed more and must function with implied marketing. I like the idea of using hyperlinks in my posts. I did this once recently on a blog that was guest-posted on a national website. The hits I got that day were through the roof.
Thanks SHerryl!

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
March 14, 2011 at 4:25 pm

If something works, keep doing it Keyuri! 🙂

Jeannette Paladino
Twitter:
March 13, 2011 at 11:32 pm

Excellent article, Sherryl, with useful tips. The biggest mistake I find when reading blog posts is that they are too dense with copy. I almost never read posts with very long paragraphs, no subheads or images. It’s just too difficult. Your post was easy to read — short paragraphs and subheads with a focused POV. And you’re correct when you say your blog is your home page because most people will arrive on your blog post via a link. So you’re writing should make them feel at home!

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
March 14, 2011 at 4:24 pm

Thanks Jeanette! I agree with you about the long posts. There are only a handful of bloggers that I know of who write well enough to keep my attention through a long article.

An added benefit of using heading tags (which is what I use in most of my posts) is that the search engines love them. This particular article is not a very good example of headings using keywords but when you can do that too, it’s just an extra punch for SEO.

Michael Pedzotti March 13, 2011 at 1:50 am

Sherryl, they are great points to keep in mind. I struggle to remember to put in the links to related posts or content. I heard about a plugin that does that for you as well. You line up links to go with certain key phrases and when that phrase appears in your blog post or comments, the plugin inserts a link automatically. It is pushed as a tool for affiliate marketers so that when a “desired key phrase” is entered the product link is attached. It could just as easily be used to point to location on the blog. I will keep looking for it or if anyone here knows the plugin name I would appreciate the help. Thanks, Michael.

Lou Barba@informationhighwaycardandgiftshop.com March 13, 2011 at 6:26 am

Hi Micheal,

The name of that plugin is Maxblogpress Ninja Affiliate plugin. It does what you say, and cloaks your affiliate links so no one can intercept them and steal your commisions, and some other organization and tracking functions.

Lou Barba

Michael Pedzotti March 13, 2011 at 6:35 am

Thanks Lou. That helped. I’ve found it, now to buy it and set it up 🙂 Michael.

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
March 13, 2011 at 12:12 pm

The related post plug-in that I use is Microkid’s Related Posts. (They don’t charge for it.) It works well for me and is very simple to use. It appears at the bottom of the screen when I’m editing my post. There’s a box to search on terms in either your posts or pages. It returns a list and then you select the articles that you want to relate it to.

The only problem I see with it is that as I create new posts and relate them to older posts, the older posts get the new post related to it. This isn’t really a problem because it’s good that they’re related but the number of related posts can get rather lengthy as time goes on.

Dennis Salvatier
Twitter:
March 12, 2011 at 4:46 pm

I started making a call-to-action a part of my blog posts about 3 months ago. I always promoted it in my work with clients, but never thought about incorporating it my posts. It’s made a big difference. 🙂
Dennis Salvatier recently posted..Dribbble Invite GiveawayMy Profile

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
March 13, 2011 at 12:05 pm

Great Dennis! I’m glad to hear it’s making a difference for you. My call to action is usually in the form of a question to encourage commenting and conversation.

Janet
Twitter:
March 11, 2011 at 7:42 pm

Sherryl, aloha. Your idea of treating each blog post like a home page make so much sense. Thx for that thought.

Your 4 steps make for an easy-to-follow action plan.

Though I know it is true, that 3 second time frame amazes me each time I read about it.

Best wishes for a great weekend. Aloha. Janet

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
March 13, 2011 at 12:04 pm

Hi Janet, I really like the way John Soares summed it up to treat each post as a sales page.You have a good weekend too!

Christian March 11, 2011 at 3:34 pm

I love this thought Sherryl. I think we often forget that for at least a small bit of time – that blog post really is our homepage. It’s the first thing new visitors see. Thank you for the thoughts and reminder. I surely need to treat each blog post with much more importance. I often wonder how much better the net would be – if we all did so.

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
March 11, 2011 at 6:23 pm

I’m glad you liked this article Christian. I think it comes down to the old saying “you get one chance to make a first impression.” 🙂

stevenpapas March 11, 2011 at 1:25 pm

As we know, backspsace is the most used button when we surf on the web. Once you lose a visitor, you ‘ve lost them forever. These tips along with improving our blog’s speed, through special plugins for example, will reduce the bounce rate and keep our visitor longer in our blog. Thanks a lot again Sherryl.

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
March 11, 2011 at 6:20 pm

Thanks Steven. That’s a great point about the backspace!

nazimwarriach March 10, 2011 at 10:47 am

Use great headlines and bold text to grab the attention of your visitors. Images are also a source of getting attention of your visitors. Page Speed is also an important factor to have more visitors.
Regards

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
March 11, 2011 at 6:20 pm

That’s so funny that you mentioned headlines! I just touched on headers in my comment to Patricia before I read your comment here. You’re absolutely right about using images and how they affect page speed. I recently emailed a blogger about her use of images that had not been optimized. That’s another new blogger mistake. I’ve already started writing my post for next week and (unless I change my mind), that’s what it will be about. Thanks for bringing this up.

nazimwarriach March 16, 2011 at 10:02 am

Hi Sherryl,
Yes you are right that many bloggers don’t optimize images. Would you please write a post on this topic?

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
March 16, 2011 at 10:10 pm

I just posted a new article about optimizing images. Hope it helps!
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Tips for Optimizing Photos and Graphics for Your BlogMy Profile

Patricia@lavender-oils March 10, 2011 at 4:39 am

Hi Sherryl

I was taught about white space and having an impact when people land on my blog when I first started blogging. Don’t know that many bloggers are taught these things at the start. I know a few newbies I have been sharing with who hadn’t even though about these things!

My new design upgrade shows my blog post introduction on my landing page along with other posts that readers can click over to, so I am pleased with the way it was done for me. And I have had positive feedback from my commenters, which is encouraging.

Some useful tips here Sherryl. Thanks for sharing. Appreciated.

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
March 11, 2011 at 6:14 pm

Thanks Patricia. I’m glad you liked it. I pretty much stuck to the basics for this article but another thing that new bloggers forget (myself included) is to break up our posts with headers. Search engines really like them and they also make your article easier to read. It’s important to use keyword rich headers. I’m still going back to old posts and inserting headers. I just didn’t know enough to use them in my early blogging days.

Julie Weishaar
Twitter:
March 10, 2011 at 1:48 am

Great advice Sherryl. I was just talking to someone today about that same 3 second rule. Content is always king – no matter where you are putting it right?
Julie Weishaar recently posted..How to Look Like a Million Bucks on a ShoeString BudgetMy Profile

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
March 11, 2011 at 6:12 pm

Exactly Julie. I don’t know of anything that replaces having good content. It’s important though that the concept of good concept has to include your title of your page and your article. No matter how good our content is, if it isn’t meeting the expectations of the reader, they’ll still be “outta-here”. 🙂

Susan Oakes
Twitter:
March 9, 2011 at 7:13 pm

Great reminders Sherryl. I would add just as you have on this post Related Articles below so they are encouraged to read more than just the one post.
Susan Oakes recently posted..I Just Want The Base Model ThanksMy Profile

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
March 11, 2011 at 6:09 pm

Thanks Susan. Using a related articles plug-in is a great idea. It adds a bit of navigation to your blog and helps direct readers to other articles that they may enjoy.

Jennifer Williams April 1, 2011 at 3:58 am

I love the related articles plug-ins as well. Not only is it great for navigation, it is a good seo tool. Automatically creates linking within your blog/site.

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
April 1, 2011 at 10:22 pm

That’s a very good point Jennifer. Backlinks within your own site are important. Sometimes new bloggers aren’t aware of that.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Is Online Shopping Like Being in the Self Checkout LaneMy Profile

Maketta March 9, 2011 at 5:26 pm

Hello Sherryl,

I agree with you about writing great content. It is essential part of our blogs. Many people think that they can just throw up some ads and affiliate links and that is all that you need to do.

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
March 9, 2011 at 6:24 pm

Good point Maketta. I’m often amazed by the number of sites that are loaded with ads and affiliate links. Even if they manage to be successful for a short period of time, I can’t imagine that we’ll see most of them surviving long term.

Lou Barba March 9, 2011 at 2:53 pm

Hi Sherryl,

I mostly write serial fiction on my blog, so I guess that’s a way to attract readers to stay around. I do also sell some products and services that have little to do with the content, so I have a unique challenge for marketing and traffic generation. For me, I guess having great content is the most important of all your points, because I, not unlike television, hope to get my customers by osmosis (using as many availabe tools as possible, of course)

Lou Barba

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
March 9, 2011 at 6:22 pm

You do have a unique challenge Lou. I have to admit, you’re the first blogger I’ve ever heard say they hope to get their customers “by osmosis”. 🙂

Catarina Alexon
Twitter:
March 9, 2011 at 2:43 pm

Agree with you completely Sherryl. Because my career started in journalism I apply the rules you mention to the articles for my blog.

When I started blogging I kept reading that you shouldn’t have pictures since they could slow down your web site.

In fact you must have pictures, and good ones in order to make readers stay. A picture speaks a thousand words really is true. Who wants to read a dull looking blog, with no photos and just text, text, text?? There are plenty of blogs with excellent content that nobody reads because they don’t treat their blog as a newspaper in order to attract attention.

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
March 9, 2011 at 6:19 pm

Catarina,

I thoroughly enjoy reading your blog and I have noticed that not only do you incorpate pictures but you also strategically use white space. That’s a basic website design tip that a lot of bloggers overlook.

Dana March 9, 2011 at 5:13 am

Thanks for these useful tips. I mostly like the “above the fold” part. Yeah, it is true that “above the fold” is very important part of our blog (as website) since visitors usually see it first and become the important reason for them to stick on our blog or not.

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
March 9, 2011 at 5:59 pm

Thanks Dana. Maybe we should start calling it “above the scroll”. 🙂

John Soares
Twitter:
March 8, 2011 at 9:51 pm

Sherryl, excellent points here. I treat each blog post like I would a sales page. Pull ’em in with a headline, have a strong lead, and build to a conclusion/call to action, which is usually to leave a comment.

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
March 9, 2011 at 5:47 pm

John, Treating each blog post like a “sales page” is excellent advice especially for those readers who are using their blogs to promote products or services. I love the way you summed up my post. I can tell you’re a writer!

Wes Towers
Twitter:
March 8, 2011 at 9:26 pm

Hi, Sherryl. When I started writing articles, I tried to keep all these things in mind. Then, it got to a point when I don’t know where to start anymore because of excessive thinking. So, I took a breather and wrote what just came to mind. As you may have noticed, I am more of an informative kind of writer instead of a conversationalist (although I am trying my best to head in that direction), so I was more into providing information than really engaging my audience. Then, I realised my mistake. Now, I am slowly correcting everything I’ve done in the past. And with articles such as this, I believe I will become a better blogger sooner rather than later. Thanks!

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
March 9, 2011 at 5:45 pm

Hi Wes,
Thank you. I’m glad you liked it.

Your posts are very informative and I enjoy reading them. That excessive thinking can get you into trouble every time! 🙂

Lou Barba@informationhighwaycardandgiftshop.com March 13, 2011 at 6:19 am

Hi Wes,

The name of that plugin is Maxblogpress Ninja Affiliate plugin. It does what you say, and cloaks your affiliate links so no one can intercept them and steal your commisions, and some other organization and tracking functions.

Lou Barba

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