Building a Page for First-Timers – Part 222
We talked previously about how the needs of a new visitors differ from those of a returning visitor.
One way to solve this problem is to create a page specifically for new readers. It is very easy to do, and will help convert more of your one-off visitors into loyal readers.
Don’t Change Your Home Page
The traditional blog home page is well suited for returning visitors. It lists the most recent articles first, it emphasises headline so they can be easily scanned, and has a clear About link for learning more about the blog itself.
This is what a person expects from a blog, and that alone is a good reason to give it to them. The New-Visitor page must be something people choose to use; not something that is forced upon them.
Building Your New-Visitor Page with Just 3 Steps
1 – Start with a simple Question & Answer section. Think about the questions a keen new reader would ask, and answer them.
The crucial thing to remember is that this is not your About page. Information about you and your blog (e.g. Why did you start it?) will be of little use to someone solely interested in the content.
Some questions you might answer would be:
- What is this blog about?
- How will it help me?
- Do you offer services for further advice?
- Where can I find the ________? (e.g. Free WordPress themes)
- What is _______? (Explain something unusual from your blog, e.g. RSS, or Twitter)
- Do you have a post on ________? (Literally. Explain how to search for a post, and that if that fails, they should email you with their question, and you might write a post about it).
2 – Move on to an introduction to the topic. This may involve articles you have written especially for this purpose, with basic language and concepts that a novice would need to know. Otherwise, you could link to external resources that you would recommend for beginners.
3 – Create a selection of your better articles, to let readers see the quality of the blog they’re on. There are a few ways of doing this:
- Set up a site map with all of your articles, and link to that.
- Manually link to a selection of your best posts.
- Post a number of your most popular tags.
- Link to a special Post Roundup post (e.g. Pro Blog Design in 2007 and Beyond).
Getting People to the Page
All that remains is to give people a way of finding the page. You could do this simply by adding a link to your About-Contact list of links. Other, more forceful, methods would be to place a link specifically where new visitors will look:
- Near the logo or slogan. These areas quickly become blind spots to regulars, but a first time reader is highly likely to scan your tagline.
- Above the post headline. A rather intrusive approach, but practically guaranteed that your link will be seen.
- In one of your ad slots (if you have any).
One of the above would work better for a blog like this one, where the About links aren’t overly noticeable.
And that’s that. Visitors should now find your blog that little bit less daunting at first.
Is there anything else you would add to the page? Let me know if you decide to make one for your blog.
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