In a perfect world, first impressions wouldn’t be important — but in the world of blogging, the first few glimpses of a website can be absolutely crucial. From blogging about your travels to posting photos of your puppy, your creativity is how you launched your blog and your passion is why you’ll continue to invest in it.
While writing blog posts may be your method for sharing your life with others, your homepage works as one of the best approaches for retaining readers and attracting visitors. After all, the purpose of your homepage isn’t for people to skim your blog, but for you to captivate their attention enough to want to read your content and engage with you on a regular basis. Although we understand how stressful (and expensive) making changes to your blog can be, Squarespace (my platform of choice) offers user-friendly features that will help you update your blog and format a homepage that initiates interest and impresses readers — all on your own. No expensive developers or programmers needed.
Along with using the coupon code “EVERYGIRL18” for 10% off your first Squarespace purchase, here are 5 ways to grab readers’ attention with your blog homepage.
1. Stick to a cohesive design theme
The truth is that the quality of your content helps viewers understand your brand and the way you present it determines whether they’ll become your readers. When it comes to your content, the difficulty isn’t necessarily in curating posts, but encouraging people to stay on your blog long enough to read them. Our suggestion to avoid this issue? Creating a cohesive theme for your blog that represents your brand and proves why it’s unique.
Your blog can only be as good as the template you choose for it, and Squarespace offers numerous templates so you can find the perfect one. Organized by category and optimized for mobile view, these templates come with hundreds of customizable features and can be easily styled to fit your specific theme. Regardless of the niche of your blog, Squarespace provides a wide range of options and also allows you to set (and swap) any page to become your homepage. Through doing this, your homepage will not only allow visitors the chance to get an idea of your content but will also capture their attention to continue coming back for more.
If you’re a lifestyle blogger…we suggest Five.
- Offers classic layout of a blog-list
- Provides thumbnails of photos on excerpts of blog posts
- Displays full-width banner at the top of each page
If you’re a fashion blogger…we suggest Carson.
- Shows a grid-format for high-res photos
- Customizable share buttons
While it’s easy to mistake the purpose of color as a simple decorating tool to pull your site together, the reason to focus on this detail goes much further than that. Remember — colors set the overall tone for a website and can help with readability, expression, and overall appeal.
To avoid overwhelming readers, try to only choose 2-3 colors that truly fit your brand. If you’re all about the outdoors and travel, try shades of green. If your brand is nurturing and soothing, consider shades of pink. And if simplicity is your go-to aesthetic, white is an option that will never let you down.
Luckily, Squarespace offers a Style Editor under the “tweaks” section of the Home Menu. With every Style Editor personalized by template, you’re able to pick a color and adjust the transparency for font color, lines, and background areas. Don’t worry, if you’re not sure where to start, you can choose the hex code for the colors you want on this site and simply copy and paste the code into the Style Editor.
Sometimes it’s the details that make the difference — and the fonts you use on your blog are no exception. Similar to colors, fonts are another way to represent your brand and increase readability. With numerous fonts to choose from on the Style Editor, it’s simple to find fonts that align with your brand and emphasize your content. All you have to do is click on the Style Editor and go to the Font and Typography menu. In addition, Squarespace also offers over 600 Google Fonts and 1000 Typekit fonts to ensure that the fonts you choose are the ones you love.
Although the internet can be an overload of information, your blog doesn’t have to be. Don’t get us wrong – white space doesn’t necessarily mean the space has to be white, but that there’s overall empty space between graphics, texts, and other elements on your blog. The good news? Squarespace provides a Spacer Block that creates white space and also helps resize images by simply clicking and dragging the block to wherever you want to place it in your blog.
2. Having an eye-catching header
Nothing makes readers stop on a blog the way a beautiful header does. Due to the fact that a header will (probably) be the first thing a visitor sees, it only makes sense that you want to make it a lasting impression. In general, headers run across the top of the page and can appear on every page of your website. While it’s your decision on what you want your header to look like, Squarespace makes the job manageable by allowing you the chance to build your own site header. With three different header features (logo, shopping cart, and site title) that apply to all Squarespace templates, you can quickly customize a header that will appeal to your readers and display your brand.
- If you want to create a logo, Squarespace can help you do it here
- Place your logo on the left side of your blog for better appeal and greater brand recall
Shopping Cart Tips:
- Four products available on Squarespace: physical, digital, service, and gift cards
- Organize your products via type, and remember to provide cohesive item photos
Site Title Tips:
- Make sure your site title is correct for SEO purposes so visitors can find your blog
- Try to create a site title that indicates what your blog is about
3. Offering an easy to understand navigation bar
It’s safe to say that the interest of a reader decreases as the complication of your homepage increases. From not being able to locate your search bar to not being able to find your contact page, these little mishaps are what make a big difference. In the end, readers are going to your page to determine if they relate to it – and will most likely decide to not stay if they realize they’re having difficulty simply trying to navigate it.
Although this can be unfortunate, you can avoid the situation by opening the Squarespace Style Editor and customizing your navigation bar by changing the font, color, or size. You can also choose whether to place the bar above or below the banner or make it a part of the sidebar. When trying to decide what to include in your navigation bar, remember to keep it as simple as possible. Use recognizable words and leave out unnecessary ones that don’t add to the category. Also, try to limit the bar to five items and always consider the fact that items listed first or last will be most effective.
4. Write and display unique copy
We know – with the influence of perfectly-curated posts and Instagram-famous bloggers on your timelines, it can be hard to create original content. However, it’s always nice to remember that behind every popular blog is the distinct voice of the blogger who created it. In the end, your personality is the strongest asset you have and your ability to express it online is the smartest thing you can do with it.
In order to let your readers get a better idea of your brand, another great idea is to feature your blog posts on your homepage. While some blog templates on Squarespace have the option to show your posts, you can also utilize summary blocks to feature specific posts you’re most proud of. These blocks are able to present your content in four different type of magazine-style layouts. Don’t worry if you’re not sure which option is best – with the blocks consistent across all templates, you can conveniently switch to another layout.
- Best for bloggers with high-quality images and many products
- Presents content in masonry-style grid
- Positions items in layout based on available space and has a similar look to a mosaic
- Best for bloggers who want readers to view content through a scrolling carousel
- Presents content in slideshow-like format
- Best for bloggers who want their content to be in linear order and for a traditional-looking blog
- Presents content in one column with a thumbnail on one side and text on the other
- Best for bloggers who want readers to focus on their images
- Presents content in grid form
5. Keep them coming back with a clear call-to-action
At this point, you’ve done all that you can to keep readers on your page. They’ve skimmed your content, seen your design style, and now it’s time to officially encourage them to stay. By placing a call-to-action, you’ll help visitors find a sense of purpose on your blog.
Naturally, a popular way to ensure readership to your blog is by prompting visitors to subscribe to your email list. If you don’t have time to format this on your own, Squarespace can create a subscription box for you through the use of your RSS feed.
No shame if the idea of creating emails to send to your readers isn’t appealing to you; you can also suggest visitors follow your social media accounts by displaying social buttons on your homepage. With every template offering over 30 social services, you can decide which outlets you want to share. Better yet, you can even use the Instagram block to display your Instagram photos in four different ways with up to 20 different images in the feed. Regardless of which call-to-action you decide to implement, the act of prompting readers to invest in your blog will always be important.
Don’t forget to use the coupon code “EVERYGIRL18” for 10% off your first Squarespace purchase!
This post was in partnership with Squarespace, but all of the opinions within are those of The Everygirl editorial board.