Lately there seem to be an increasing number of new bloggers who want instructions that enable them to create a static front page on their blogs. They want to have a static front page for aesthetic reasons ie. to make their blog look less like a blog and more like a website.
Some types of blogs such as professional, business, photography and wedding album blogs, etc. may be enhanced by the appearance of a static front page. But I wonder what impacts making the static front page choice may have on the blogs of every day bloggers, who are trying to achieve a good flow of targeted readers and PageRank.
Posts and Pages
Pages are quite different from posts. The Pages you create -> Dashboard -> Write -> Page (an unlimited number) sit outside posts and their structure and are meant to be used for static content that rarely, if ever, changes. Pages lack timestamps and any additions you make to them must be done manually by editing. You cannot assign categories to Pages and they are not search-able via your web-based search box. Pages also lack the Google juice that posts on a front page get.
Creating a static front page
It’s easy to create a static front page on a wordpress blog. The instructions are straight forward and there’s even a “Changing your reading settings” WP TV video to refer to as well.
If you have a self hosted wordpress blog then you may be interested in reading Create a Custom WordPress Static Front Page
It’s a challenge to create static pages in Blogger (blogspot), as static pages are not included in the software, but it can be done as well.
Blogging tip: You can name your static front page anything you want but it would be best from the SEO point of view to use or include the title of the blog.
It’s my experience that regular readers who subscribe to blogs prefer high quality content delivered on regular by RSS feeds, and most prefer to receive the full article, rather than a summary. This points to the fact that most regular readers/subscribers do not visit the blog frequently and that means they rarely comment. The articles delivered to them by feeds do contain a direct link back to the post, so I think we can safely conclude that when subscribers do comment they use it. Hence, they are unlikely to be impacted by a blog change to use of a static front page.
Benefits: Source of the three points listed below.
1. Marketing and Branding. The front page is the landing page for most visitors, so if a blog needs to convince its users of something, a static front page is very useful for showing consistent information. This technique can be used to provide complete, consistent and static information about what the blog can offer.
2. Avoiding duplicate content. From an SEO perspective, a structure that displays the same information on the front page, post page and archive page creates duplicate content issues that can affect site rankings and confuse visitors in finding relevant information on the site.
To help solve this issue, Live Search has partnered with Google and Yahoo to support a new tag attribute that will help webmasters identify the single authoritative (or canonical) URL for a given page. The link tag defines a relationship between a document and an external resource. In this case, that resource is the canonical URL. The following is an example of the new link tag attribute for canonicalization:<link rel="canonical" href="http://mysite.com"/>
3. Professionalism. A static front page makes the blog look professional. Most users are accustomed to seeing static front pages for businesses and other professional organizations, and will be able to relate that to your blog.
I believe that prior to making the static home page choice bloggers ought to consider:
(1) how information in their blogs can be most easily accessed by readers and by search engines;
(2) who their target audience is;
(3) what their metrics reveal about who their current readers are and where they are coming from;
(4) whether or not a static home page is likely to result in delivering more readers via search engines;
(5) and whether a static home page is likely to result in more conversions from casual passers through to regular blog readers/subscribers.
- Do you have a static front page on your blog? Or have you ever considered having one?
- How do blogs with a static front page impact you as a reader?
- What impact do you think a static front page on any blog may have on the flow of Google ‘juice’ and PageRank?
- Are there any other impacts of converting to a static front page that you would like to discuss, either positive or negative?