The good news is: A blog draws traffic and lots of it. The bad news is: When visitors hit your blog for the first time – either on the home page or post page – they have no clue whatsoever about:
- What your business is
- If you are good at what you do
- Who your ideal customers are
- Why they should do business with you
- Why they should refer business to you
- Why they should read your blog regularly
Why Have a “Start Here” Page
To give visitors answers to these all-important questions, add a “Start Here” page to your blog. Note these key benefits associated with the six points above:
- By communicating your business model, you strengthen brand awareness.
- By communicating your credibility, you give visitors confidence to do business or make a referral.
- By sketching out your ideal customer, you enable prospects to self-identify, and allow non-prospects to identify perfect referrals.
- By communicating your value proposition, you make the business case to persuade prospects to take the next step in establishing a business relationship.
- By offering reasons or incentives to make a referral, you persuade non-prospects (and prospects) to take that action.
- By explaining why your blog is worth reading, you keep visitors coming back, giving your business more exposure and expanding opportunities to generate leads.
How to Construct Your “Start Here” Page
- Be logical. The flow of your page can follow the six points above. The first thing visitors want to know is what you do. Their next logical question – Are you for real? Then, Can you help me? After that, and only after that, does it make sense to launch into your value proposition and sales pitch.
- Be brief! Visitors who don’t know you aren’t going to plow through a 1,000-word intro page. Keep your message on point and to the point. Use bullets and bold text to draw attention to key ideas and make it easy for visitors to scan.
- Write with care. Generally speaking, visitors are tolerant of grammatical errors in blog posts. However, your “Start Here” page is your business face and, as such, should be written to a higher standard.
- Use visual media. Especially if you sell a complicated product or service, a short slide presentation or video brings your message across clearly and persuasively – and eliminates the need for hundreds of words.
- Include calls-to-action. The “Start Here” page is a natural location for at least two calls-to-action: one that invites potential customers to make contact, and one that invites any visitor to make a referral. (A lot of companies miss the opportunity to gain referrals through their blog.) Calls-to-action should be positioned high on the page’s right sidebar, and perhaps a second time at the bottom of the page.
- Make the page sharable. You want visitors to share this page on social media, so use the sidebar to invite them to share the page and include share buttons to LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and any niche networks that make sense for your business.
- Write a compelling and informative title tag and meta description. When visitors share your “Start Here” page, its title tag and meta description will display in many of the social links. Therefore, these HTML elements should be descriptive, the proper length, and attention-getting.
- Display a prominent link to the page. A “Start Here” link should be prominent in the top navigation or sidebar of your blog. This is a page you want people to notice!
Over to You
What tips can you share for creating a powerful “Start Here” page? If you use one, how has it performed?