Every website out there always has an official “homepage”. The way it’s represented is one of two ways: Static or via a blog roll. There is a difference between the two and I’m going to share which has “more” benefits via SEO as well as which of these two choices is better suited for your website.
Firstly, what is a static page (SP)? It is ANY, single page/article on a website that is used to act as a homepage.
Next, what is a blog roll (BR)? It is basically a compilation of your LATEST blog posts that appears as the home page, so it’s not a single article, but a combination.
In my personal case, as of right now (11/3/17), I am currently running the latter (BR), so if you visit my website, you will see the latest posts I’ve written, with the latest showing up very big.
Many websites offer a BR to show the way my website does, while others basically show the latest 10, with a small snippet on each to capture people’s attention, it’s sort of like Google showing you it’s search results.
Examples of where SP/BR are used:
Business websites, personal websites, personal blogs.
Personal websites, news websites.
Which option is better for your personal website?
Well to be honest, the truth is that the ideal choice will require personal testing, that I will get into shortly, but the examples I provided above should be an initial frame for you to decide how your personal website’s homepage should look.
So if you’re running a personal website that acts as a “new” type site, perhaps a BR would be better suited. If you’re running a business, a static option may be the better option.
Let’s address quick misconceptions about using either option:
1) There are people that believe that ALL incoming traffic coming to their website will flow straight into a single homepage, meaning if they have a BR, they will believe that people will get confused by what to click on and leave, and if they use a static option, it’ll be easier to direct the incoming audience to where the website owner wants them to go.
The fact of the matter is that if you have multiple articles on your site and are being ranked on Google, your home area is actually the least likely to be visited out of all the other options available.
I have 100’s of articles and only about 1.5% of all my daily traffic goes to my home area. The remainder is spread across the plethora of articles I’ve written and that is because those articles are widely ranked across Google and each get their own traffic, meaning once people find the article on Google and click it, they will visit the actual article and not the official home page.
2) In terms of SEO, there is a slightly more beneficial reason to use a BR vs the other option. This is because a website that has a BR set as the main home area will get crawled more often by Google spiders and thus indexed/ranked faster.
I would recommend a BR for any websites out there that are new. But do know that even if you run a new website and decide to go for the static option, you will not really hinder your end results on Google and this is because ALL new content gets crawled by Google eventually. By going via the BR option, you just save a little bit of time.
3) In terms of where a SP makes sense, again, the examples I made above would really be the ideal options. Although a BIG part of which suites your website best will be determined through personal testing.
And this is where I have to devote a huge section of the article to explain what I mean…
Why and how testing will answer the question of SP or BR:
Every website owner has a goal in mind. What’s your goal?
- Do you wish to have a website that earns money?
- Do you have a physical business you are promoting via your website? Again this is a form of making money.
- Are you just interested in making a website for hobby reasons and don’t really care about money?
If your answer is the last option, then you can honestly go ahead and do anything you want on your page, but if you categorized yourself in the first 2 options, ideally, you will want your website to earn as much money as possible, and a big part of doing that will involve testing different promotional offers, sales funnels and of course, testing how people react to a blog roll vs a static site.
There are entirely different articles and things you can do in terms of sales funnels and testing I wrote about here, but let me use the context of this article in correlation with how you should proceed with your website.
1) The first thing I would recommend is that you determine which type of website you have via the examples I provided above, then apply a static or blog roll website based on that. Let that be the beginning.
2) The next thing I would is write a lot of content/articles on your website and allow it to reach a point where it gets a stable amount of daily visitors. This will serve as the test to come.
3) Once you have about 50 or more visitors coming into the website a day, use a tool like Google analytics to see how much of that traffic visits your static/blog roll page. As I said, in my case, it was 1.5%.
If you apply the static option….then see how long visitors stay on the chosen SP you have. If it is beyond 30 seconds, then you’re good. If it is under, change up the content on it or switch to a blog roll.
If you’re running a blog roll, except to have low stay times from people who visit it, this is because they are quickly presented with choices and choose one to go with. The only thing you can really do here is examine the exit rate and bounce rate of your blog roll.
What this means is that for every visitor who stumbles onto the blog roll, you can see how many people exit away from the website or stay on it. Bounce rates and exit rates are different things, but the info they both give you can provide you with an intelligent strategy to pursue which is…a strategy to keep people on your site longer.
What to aim for with these terms (bounce/exit rate):
A low exit rate (Under 50%) means people landing on your blog roll click to another part of your website. A higher one, that is above 50% is not usually a good thing and if you have a large exit rate, consider switching to the static option.
A high bounce rate means people who land on the BR click away to another article/blog on your site. A low bounce rate means that they stay on the BR.
It is NORMAL to see a high bounce rate if you’re using a BR but NOT good if you have a high exit rate, and what will help you find these numbers is again, Google Analytics.
Let me provide my personal example as a case study. I run a BR and here are the bounce/exit rates for it:
I have circled the 4 most important areas, so let me summarize what these numbers all mean:
1) The pageviews for the homepage are around 7,000, a huge number. This was a measurement of traffic over several months.
2) The average time on the page is well over a minute, which indicates to me that people are interested but perhaps lost on where to go, so…
3) A bounce rate of 60%+ indicates that most people who visit the homepage click to another part of my site, which is exactly what I want. Right now a majority of people are doing what I want them to do which is explore my website.
4) Now the only big problem I see is the exit rate which is slightly above 50%. This means about half the people who land on the this particular part of my website, leave it. The test I will run is that I will switch from a BR to a SP and see how this affects the time they stay on it, the bounce and exit rates. If I see an increase in bounce rates (this will be good) and if I see a decrease in exit rates (this will also be good).
Again, all of these stats can be found if you install Google analytics. It will give you all of these numbers.
How I’m testing both options on my website:
In the next day or so I will switch from a BR to a SP on my website and what I am aiming to test is how this affects my sales. If it decreases, I will switch back to a BR. As of this point, my website is recognized quite well on Google and gets a lot of traffic, so a switch wouldn’t really change anything SEO related, it would redirect a small chunk of daily traffic to a page where I’m aiming to sell them something. I will report how this affects sales after a few days-week of testing.
Again this is a test I recommend you try ONLY if you’re getting traffic to the website, not before, because you’ll basically be running tests on empty assumptions. With traffic landing on your site, you can make a more intelligent decision on your sales funnel.
Overall, in the end, know that a BR/SP option will NOT get a lot of traffic and that you shouldn’t worry so much about it. Whatever type of website you’re running, focus on content and expanding it.