Making your home page “bloggier,” but not “a blog.”

JoniMitchell.com
A bloggier home page definitely doesn’t have to be ugly.

Right now, several of my clients are working on site redesigns and also are looking for ways to increase site traffic. One of the most basic strategies for attracting more traffic to your site is making your site more appealing to search engines. That’s why I’m suggesting that these clients might consider adding a “blog” to their home page, because search engines love blogs.

…OK, I realize now I need to learn to say that differently when talking to clients. All of these clients are from major, respectable media organizations — consequently, they have a generally negative immediate reaction to the word “blog.” Even though these people are savvy about online media, they still tend to immediately associate “blog” with a negative and largely inaccurate stereotype: poorly designed rant-fests that attract trolls and flamers like cockroaches.

No, that’s NOT what I’m advising for their home pages.

Rather, I’m saying it can be useful to manage the newsiest parts of your site with a blog-like back-end — a content management system interface that makes it easy to post discrete items, categorize and assign a permalink to each, and present them online in reverse-chronological order. Then you generate a feed (RSS) from that content, so you can syndicate the most recent items to a space on your home page layout.

Here’s how you can benefit from that strategy…

Benefits: When you use a blog-like back-end, it becomes very easy to keep fresh content coming to your site’s home page. Search engines like that very, very much. When they see a frequently-updated home page, they’re more likely to index your site more frequently — which increases the chance that your content will be showing up more often and prominently in search engine results.

What might this strategy look like? This morning I found two cool examples:

  • Joni Mitchell’s site: Impeccably designed, of course, from this accomplished musical and visual artist. See the “latest news” column on the left side of the home page? That’s fed from the news section of the site (which has its own feed). This sure doesn’t look like a “blog,” but it’s a very blog-like approach to managing and presenting content.
  • Environmental Defense Fund: See the “news and publications” section of the home page? That’s fed from the news section of the site. (Here’s the feed.) Personally, I’d place that content much higher on the home page layout, but it’s useful to have it there.

What other sites have you seen that either use this approach or could benefit from it? Please comment below with your examples.

One thought on “Making your home page “bloggier,” but not “a blog.”

  1. I love this idea, but am a novice at the newer internet stuff. I don’t have a lot of news being generated about me yet, but have a feeling this ‘rss’ tool is a valuable one.
    I viewed both sites, but am uncertain how I might incorporate this technology into my site.
    I would appreciate any suggestions anyone might have!!

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