Remember when the homepage was far and away the most important page of a website? This page was the first impression most visitors had of a website, and was typically crammed with information that companies wanted to get in front of their audiences immediately.
Flash forward to today and people—including your prospects—aren’t beginning their online searches by scoping out specific companies and their websites. They’re instead using search engines to help them find helpful blog articles that address their pain points. This means that for companies with valuable, SEO-focused blog content, it’s often the blog page that serves as a visitor’s first impression of your website.
Without a well-optimized blog page, you're running the risk of visitors leaving your website after viewing a single blog article. So let’s take a look at the nine essential components of a high-quality blog page that will create value for prospects early in their buyer’s journey and keep visitors engaged.
1. Blog Subscription Button
Visitors who find your blog content helpful and trustworthy are going to want to come back in the future, so make this easier for them by including a blog subscription button in a prominent spot on your blog page. Be sure to keep it simple by only requiring an email address, or an email address along with how often they’d like to receive email communications (e.g., daily, weekly, monthly).
2. Title of Blog as Page Header
Your blog name can be a powerful tool for brand recognition, so it’s important to make the name visible at the top of your blog, as well as above the blog subscription button. Whether it’s an “all-business” blog title or one that’s catchy and industry- or service-related, you want visitors to remember and associate your company’s blog name with its area of expertise or thought leadership.
3. Title, Author Name and Header Image
The blog article title and name of author should be the first two things the reader sees when scrolling through articles on your main blog page, but including the article’s header image in the background or above the title and author name can make each article stand out even more. Here’s a great example from Manufacturing.net:
4. Preview Text
While it’s okay to simply include the title of the article, author name and header image on your blog page, a paragraph of preview text can provide readers with a little more context before clicking “read more.” You can think of this text like the text on a landing page, as it gives readers info on what they can expect if they take further action. This snippet HubSpot’s Marketing Blog is a perfect illustration:
5. Blog Topics Listed in Navigation
Visitors who come to your blog via a specific article might be looking to read additional content on the same topics, so be sure to include these topics in the blog page’s top or side navigation. This establishes your thought leadership on a given topic and helps readers easily find additional relevant content that addresses their pain points.
6. Rundown of Recent Articles
Your blog’s main page should always include the title and author of the most recent article, but don’t forget to include other recently published articles underneath. You can feature the 5-10 most recent articles on this page and insert an “all articles” or “next” button at the very bottom, so readers can filter through without being overwhelmed with too many articles at once.
7. Search Bar
Similar to how a visitor may have reached your blog page—by searching keywords in Google—they might want to search related keywords on your blog to help them find additional content. A search bar should be easy to find (e.g., in the side or top navigation) and even provide “related searches” as the user begins entering keywords. This will direct the reader toward content they’re looking for and should come close to emulating a search engine search bar like Google’s:
8. Popular Articles in Sidebar
Do you have a few blog articles that vastly outperform other articles in visits and conversions? This top performing content should be linked in the blog sidebar. Whether it’s simply the article's title or the title of the article with a brief snippet of text, you’ll want to make it a point to promote the content that resonates most with your blog readers and converts visitors into leads.
Animation is an effective but underrated tool on a blog page. Fade-in and hover effects like those illustrated in this article can prevent readers from skimming over blog articles they might find helpful. Animation attracts visitors’ attention and is an effective way to keep readers from bouncing after reading one article.
Help Visitors at the Awareness Stage
This might seem like an extensive list, but it’s a prerequisite to creating a blog page that keeps visitors engaged and increases the likelihood of turning these visitors into leads. A well-optimized blog page ensures visitors’ pain points are addressed at the awareness stage of their buyer’s journey, the first step toward establishing trust and value with them.