Your blog’s homepage is the most important piece of real estate on your website. In this post, you’ll learn how to design the perfect home page for your new blog in five simple steps!
If you’re reading this blog post, that tells me that you’re serious about growing your blog. It also tells me you’re an action-taker, learning what it takes to become a successful blogger. You’re my people – I see you, my friend!!
So, I want to make sure you’re clear on the “whats and whys” before I get into the “how-tos”.
Your WordPress Theme Looks Nothing Like The Demo
As a beginner blogger that has chosen a WordPress theme for your blog’s design, you probably had three thoughts when you chose and activated the theme:
- This looks nothing like the demo I just fell in love with for my blog!
- How in the world do I make this look like the demo? What did I do wrong?
- I guess this will have to do, a lot of other bloggers do it this way, so I’ll just deal with it 🙁
You spent hours trying to figure it out, maybe even installed a different theme or reinstalled the same theme just to get the same results. Grrr.
For some of you, this can be the first twinge of defeat as a new blogger, making you doubt whether you’ve got what it takes to make your vision a reality. I promise you – unless you hired someone to design your website for you, almost all of us went through this!!
That demo content you saw shows you the possibilities with that theme, with all the right settings in place and plenty of content already on your blog. As a beginner with no media library, no blog content, etc., it’s just not going to look the same.
How To Choose A WordPress Theme For Your Blog
In fact, I have a secret for you, aside from choosing an SEO-friendly, light-weight, trusted theme, it really doesn’t matter which WordPress theme you choose for your blog! You can design the perfect website yourself with just about any free theme and the free page-builder plugin called Elementor.
There are so many themes to choose from, but keep in mind, just because the demo looks nice, doesn’t mean it’s a good theme.
It’s important to choose a theme that has a strong reputation, won’t slow down your website, SEO-friendly, and that won’t have plugin compatibility issues. Read the reviews, make sure the theme is being updated regularly, or choose one of my favorite free WordPress themes below:
- Astra (This is the theme I use)
All of the above themes offer beautiful website options for every blog niche. They’re also all compatible with Elementor (my favorite page builder plugin) and have excellent reputations.
Anyway, my point is, don’t waste a bunch of time scrolling through the endless supply of available WordPress themes. Choose one of the options above and you won’t have to worry about speed, downtime, or compatibility issues.
Before we get into the steps for designing your home page, let’s talk about why it matters.
Why You Should Change Your Home Page Design
If I had to guess, the majority of you have a Home Page that simply lists your most recent blog posts, with maybe a sidebar including an About Me widget.
It’s not your fault – WordPress automatically defaults to this setting instead of the beautiful demo (don’t worry, I won’t go down that rabbit hole again), and most of the “How To Start A Blog” posts don’t talk about changing it.
In fact, some of those blog posts even tell you that’s what you should do with your Home Page. EEEK!!
That format may work for blogs that already get a ton of traffic, but for new bloggers, that advice is mostly wrong. That format works for popular blogs is because readers already know what those blogs are about.
Yours, however, is foreign territory and you have to earn their trust.
Related Post: 3 Important Steps To Take Before You Make Money Blogging
The Right Home Page Design = More Blog Traffic and Pageviews
When someone visits your website for the first time and they land on your Home Page, they’ve got questions, so your Home Page had better have the answers.
The right Home Page design will answer their questions quickly and point them in the right direction for the next right step, depending on their specific needs. That’s where a strategic layout comes in.
So what should you be doing with your Home Page?
How To Design The Perfect Home Page In 5 Simple Steps
Now that we know what not to do, let’s move on to designing the perfect Home Page for your new blog.
Step #1 – Create Your Blog’s Tagline
First-time visitors don’t know yet if your content is what they are looking for. You’re competing with thousands of other bloggers in your niche, so your people need to know they’ve found EXACTLY what they’re looking for. (Or it’s not, and that’s okay too, I promise.)
Stand out by answering these two questions immediately:
- What do you do? Think about how your content helps your ideal reader.
- Who do you help? Be specific, speak directly to your ideal reader.
Answer those two questions in one sentence and make that your tagline. Here are a few examples:
- “The only question is where to next?” oneikathetraveler.com
- “Simple recipes for everyday families.” simplyhomemade.com
- “Helping new bloggers start a blog and make money blogging.” nextlevelblogging.com
Your tagline not only helps readers know what to expect from your content, it also helps you as a blogger. Everytime you read your tagline you will be reminded of your purpose, keeping you focused on your niche.
Your readers will appreciate you staying in your lane.
Step #2 – Add Home Page Visitors To Your Email List
If you do nothing else in this blog post, please do this – capture your reader’s email address on the Home Page.
You want the visitor’s email address so you establish a connection and keep them engaging with your content, week after week. That means more blog traffic and more pageviews!
If a visitor comes to your website for the first time and doesn’t give up their email address, it’s highly unlikely that they will ever visit your website again.
Let’s face it, there’s just too much information out there. Even if a first-time visitor loves your content, it’s likely they will forget all about you with the next blog post they read.
Show up in their inbox and remind them of how much they loved your stuff.
Which brings me to the next step…
Step #3 – Offer a Juicy Lead Magnet Before The Fold
Everyone’s inbox is overflowing these days, so most people need a darn good reason to hand over their email address.
That’s why as soon as they hit your blog’s Home Page, you should greet them with a Hero section that includes a bold image and a lead magnet that they can’t resist.
What Makes A Great Lead Magnet
What’s a lead magnet? It’s something you offer absolutely free in exchange for an email address, that’s very specific to your audience.
Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be anything fancy or take a lot of time to put together.
Think about pdf downloads like checklists, menus, planners, etc. You could also give a piece of exclusive content, a list of tips and tricks, or another type of list. Just make sure it fits in with your tagline and solves a pain point.
All great lead magnets follow the following guidelines:
- Easy to consume
- Specific to your niche
- Addresses a pain point
You can whip up a great lead magnet in less than an hour using Canva’s free design tools, so it won’t cost you a dime.
Draw attention to your lead magnet with a catchy headline and large font in the hero section, and watch your email list start to grow!
Step #4 – Tell Home Page Visitors What To Do Next
Unless it’s by accident, every Home Page visitor came to your blog looking for something. Now that you’ve collected their email address, help them find what they’re looking for.
You might be thinking that listing all of your blog content gives them options, but that’s not always a good thing. Options can be overwhelming and sometimes that may require scrolling through several blog posts trying to find the one that answers their question. Guess what happens? BOUNCE!
Narrow Down The Options To A Few
No matter what your niche or how much content you have, you can find a way to narrow down the choices on the Home Page. Think of the two or three problems you solve. If you’re stuck, go back to your tagline and rethink it.
On your Home Page, ask something like “What Do You Need Help With Today?”, then list your topics. This makes it much easier for your readers to make a decision on their next step.
Plus, you can direct them to the exact content you want them to see as a first-time visitor – your absolute best content.
Now you’ve increased their love of your blog even more.
Step #5 – Be Your Authentic Self & Get Personal
This is probably the second most important point of this blog post and should be carried over into everything you write for your readers. Believe it or not, the reason they will choose to read your blog over someone else’s is that they like YOU.
There’s plenty of competition and probably more sophisticated writers than you out there, correct? But now more than ever, readers want a connection with the person behind the screen.
Use a section of your Home Page to write a short paragraph or two about what makes you, you. Think about your audience and how your life might compare to theirs, then share something personal that will resonate with them.
The more authentic that you are in your writing, the more your audience will trust you. That means when you are ready to make money blogging, they won’t blink an eye at handing over their hard-earned money for your products. They will believe in you.
I believe in you. You’ve got this.
Please share this post on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest, then get busy with designing the perfect Home Page for your blog with the five simple steps you’ve just learned.