As you've probably noticed, I'm still learning about the do's and don'ts of blogging every day, and do put in a lot of effort to make this blog something special for both you and me. That takes some research, I can tell you, and by now I've read a whole lot of tips and tricks that could help you do the same. My latest project was tweaking my own homepage, and I thought I'd share what I think makes (or breaks) a good homepage, and makes sure that the first impression your blog makes is one that really sticks with your readers.
There's really only one rule when it comes to the layout of your homepage (and your entire blog, if you ask me), and that's to keep it simple. A page your readers can easily navigate instead of losing track of everything that's on it will often lead to a lot more clicks, simply because it's more inviting than a clutter of paragraphs and columns. Just think how you would first visit a blog; it's probably just a quick scan of the page, am I right? If there's too much to look at, chances are you won't click a single thing and just move on to the next one.
An image can really grab the attention of your readers, as it's both fun and easy to look at and can say so much about you and your content at the same time. That's part of the reason I decided to put some at the top, right above the text block welcoming my readers. I hesitated at first, mind, because it's also recommended that you put your most important content (in a blog's case: what it's all about) at the top so your readers won't have to scroll down, but I decided on the images in the end, because I (personally, yes) found it more appealing. Select your images carefully if you do the same, make sure the quality is good and don't overdo it lest we break that previous rule of keeping it simple. ;-)
A fun, short welcoming message is a must, of course. You're a blogger so you absolutely love every single visitor for making it to your site, right? Being friendly is logical and should come naturally to you, it's as simple as that. You can write a short bit about yourself as well, but there's no need to write an entire biography (again: the online reader works quickly). Especially if you've got a separate About page for that, in which case you can put a nice, clean link to that instead.
COLOUR SCHEMES AND BACKGROUNDS
Go with colours that work well together, but more importantly: use combinations you really love yourself. Otherwise you'll just get tired of them and end up changing them constantly. I like black for its distinctness (title and menu), and grey/blue or green as subtle colours against a simple white background. I believe white space can really make your images 'pop' and help your readers find the important links and info, but a different colour can certainly do the same thing as long as it stands out against the colour palette of your text, AND fits it perfectly at the same time. In short: consider your own taste, but don't add too much colour or a hectic background that will pull the attention from your images and content.
SOCIAL LINKS/FEEDS AND CALL-TO-ACTIONS
Your most important social links belong on almost every page, really. They make it easy for visitors to connect with you on other sites than your own blog. Feeds are not a must, but I like to put them there because I'd love for my readers to get to know me through a lot more ways than just my blogposts. They can see my latest tweets and Instagram photos, which adds to the personal side of the blog. Got a newsletter? Put a simple CTA for it on your homepage, or make it pop-up in a window for the ultimate Call-To-Action.
What do you think about the new ALLO homepage? Is it better or do you think I missed a spot OR even overdid it while improving it? ;-)