A HUGE Amateur Mistake That A Lot of Pros Make

Hello! My name is Clay Collins and welcome to this episode of the marketing show. Today we’re going to be talking about a common mistake that I see a lot of people making in their business. It costs them lots of money, lots of advertising dollars and it cost them lots in terms of lost sales and lost customers. And it’s a mistake that I’ve made quite a bit myself and that I see pro’s making quite often. And that mistake is…

Really putting your blog at the home page, the root of your website, and there’s a whole lot of problems with that. I’m not going to get into all of them but there are couple notable problems.

The first problem is that your latest may not be your greatest. So your last blog post might have received very few blog comments which gives you negative social proof. Your last blog post might not be very good and your last blog post might have been months ago. And when you put a blog at the root of your website what you do is put a whole lot of pressure on yourself to blog on a regular basis when maybe you need to be creating marketing systems. Maybe you need to be creating a newsletter, maybe you need to be writing a sales letter or creating a product, right? So it’s a whole lot of pressure and what you have on your blog most recently might poorly represent you as a company and as a business.

Second, you need to control the message on your homepage. You need to be able to ensure that when people come to your website that there’s a finally honed and crafted message that is engineered from the ground up to create the response that you’re looking for from your visitors. Do want them opting-in to your email list? Do want them going to your sales page? What do want them doing? And once you establish that and you engineer your website content on the front page to engender that response, you can split test different versions of that home page to see which one is more likely to produce that response. You can do a whole host of things but you really want to be able to control that core message that people see when they come to your website because like –I don’t know, like a shampoo company said you never get a second chance to make the first impression and often that’s very true.

So what you do if you’re just getting started and you just want to start blogging? You just want to get that blog up. What I recommend you do is you put that blog up at –you know, your site.com forward slash blog and then you redirect your homepage, your site.com, to point to your site.com forward slash blog. And that frees you up, so that if one month, two months, six months, a year down the line, you want to have a homepage that has a static message that you’ve crafted to create the response you want and to convey the message that you want, you can do that. Essentially, when you decide what you want to have at your homepage, you cut the redirect that sends people from your site.com to your site.com forward slash blog. You might notice that here at the marketing show, all the episodes are at forward slash show and that frees me up so that, if at some point down the road I want to put something at the homepage of marketing show.com, I can absolutely positively do this.

Now this does not apply, this whole episode marketing show, does not apply if you’re a newspaper, if you’re in the business of selling page views, if you’re like a gizmodo or a copy blogger, that has an entire staff of writers and you’re really in the magazine business or the newspaper business or the publication business. But if you decided that as a company, your main purpose is not to produce regular free content –you know day in and day out, then you really need to be thinking hard about this.

Anyway, that’s it for today’s marketing show.

Question of the day, in the comments let me know what you’re going to do this weekend. It’s Friday, you know, you’re getting your vacation mode on. Maybe you’re going to take a three day weekend. Let me know what you’re doing.

Anyway, that wraps us up. Thanks so much for watching and I’ll talk to you next week. Bye.

  • I’ve never heard anyone propose exactly what you’re talking about, but it makes so much sense! I particularly appreciated the tip about using a redirect initially when the blog is all you have. Very practical.

    My weekend: tonight, blissfully, nothing. 🙂 Tomorrow I’m going to church and roller derby (not at the same time!), plus the neighborhood Easter Egg Hunt, and Sunday I have plans with some friends who are visiting from the other side of the country. It’s a good happy medium for me between being bored and running around like a chicken with its head cut off (and that will start in May).

    What are YOU doing? 🙂

    • Nice. I like those “blissfully nothing” Fridays. I think I’m driving to northern Minnesota with my GF this weekend. We’ll see. Going to try and do as little as possible tonight and tomorrow.

      • Hopefully we don’t get the snow thats expected for the weekend, otherwise than that your drive North should go good.

  • Another great video. The only minor point I’d add is that a ‘blog’ is really just a content delivery system and so using WordPress ‘up front’ in your blog CAN work even if you just want to use it to put out static content.

    As for the weekend, seriously — probably working on Marketing. Sorry.

    • That’s a good point. I build just about everything on WordPress, so I was planning to apply by just putting the index of posts at /blog, but there are probably a lot of folks who may not be aware of that option.

      • Exactly. WordPress does not equal blog. ALL of our sites run on wordpress, and only half of them are blogs per se.

      • Truly. Any halfway decent WP developer can make this happen seamlessly with a root install. Most WP users would have no difficulty making these settings themselves.

    • I would tend to say that it’s the other way around. A blog is not a content delivery system . . . rather, blogs use content delivery systems. Every site that’s build on wordpress is not a blog. But almost every blog uses something like wordpress (i.e. a CMS). Still, I think we mean the same thing and I agree.

      Have an amazing weekend, Lee!

  • Hi Clay, Great tip. When I migrated to a WordPress site, I was being pushed to leave the blog as the Home page and I pushed back…now I’m so glad I did…I want the SEO of a blog on my site but wanted the Home page for other things. Now, I’m feeling positively vindicated! Thanks.

  • Janis

    A great tip. Thank you!

  • I think your advice here is great, and especially top notch in principle. I think if you’re selling a product or service, as a foremost priority on your site, then that message should be loud and clear.

    However, in all fairness, I think the more advance idea would be to do exactly what you do on your home page. The first view point is your introduction video and the newsletter sign up form next to it. Then you’ve got “Who is Clay Collins?” section, but you’ve also got your blog right under it. I assume you’ve got it there to let first time visitors (especially) know that you do write quality content on a regular basis, besides what’s available for your list?

    This also makes me consider the idea, which seems to be increasingly popular these days, is to hide the date meta from blog posts. Any thoughts on that?

    On my website (consulting, coaching, etc. Still building my first baby product(s).) I’ve got a slider as the first point of welcome to give an introduction to my business, and then my blog. My list forms are dominant in the sidebar and I’m trying out ViperChill bar as well.

    • I think it depends on how time-sensitive your content is and what sort of image you’re trying to present.

      If your blog is “News” or “Updates,” then dates are important. If you’re marketing yourself as a “thought leader” (though I despise that term), you’ll probably want to show that you are prolific and on the cutting edge. Dates are good for that, and in such cases, even with a static homepage, you’d probably want to highlight your recent posts.

      For pretty much everything else, I think dates are unnecessary.

  • Thanks for another great video Clay! When I first heard you say this I was glad that WordPress mades it so easy to change my site around to make this happen.

  • This weekend, I will rest and read. And eat several breakfasts.

  • I started to implement this few months ago. I only need to change my personal blog and I’ll be set. I think a squeeze page in the homepage is a great idea, because that’s the page with more traffic and a squeeze page normally has higher conversion.

    Answer to your question, don’t tell anybody but it’s my birthday tomorrow (in 4 minutes actually), so i’ll be having a lazy Saturday 🙂 probably watch Real Madrid – Barcelona. Thinking in going to the beach Sunday do some reading, continue working. Fun stuff!

    • Dude, happy birthday! That’s so awesome.

    • Tracy Simmons

      Happy Birthday, Ric! May you be showered with much love and many gifts :).

  • Ben

    What if you’ve been running a site for a few years with your blog as the home page? Any suggestions/tips on moving the blog to another place on your site?

  • Good stuff, Clay. Never thought about our home page blog from that perspective. Thanks.

    This weekend for me: video launch, 5 hour drive to and from my twin nieces’ birthday party, see my daughter sing at a school concert, watch the Lakers go up 1-0 on the Hornets

  • What about the following situation:

    I run a offline training and coaching businees where me and my fiancee teach children and teenagers how to learn faster and speed read – generally do better in school and with learning.

    I got a website where we present our courses. We are also in the phase of starting the blog – but as almost eniterly separate business. Because the character of learning online and offline are kinda a lot apart.

    I have one domain and name: “Cogitus” as presentation of my offline courses and now a blog “Mind Opener” as a way to educate and in future sell e-products (ebooks, e-courses, membership ect). As a brand they are not connected in 100%. On blog there is a disclaimer in the footer that “Mind Opener” is Powered by: Cogitus and WordPress.

    Do you have any ideas how could we connect these two – website for presenting our offline courses and website for educating and in future selling products online, BUT WITHOUT using the offline couses company name?

  • Clay, thanks nice tip! I’ll be doing my taxes!! I have to file an extension. Plus I’m updating some of my local customers on site ranking improvements, and doing some seNuke stuff. Oh, and setting up a blog for my daughter, and I’ll use your tip! She’s trying to get in to the young mom / parenting niche. Not actually the hottest market, but one she’s passionate about 🙂

  • Hi Clay,

    First, I want to comment about the video content: I think you make an excellent point that the first page people see should be a specific message that highlights the best of what you have to offer. However, you need not (necessarily) fiddle around with re-directs to make this happen.

    I’m going to assume that people with blogs use WordPress as their primary platform for their blog. If their home page is, at present, their blog there is no need to do a re-direct. When you’re ready to put together a specialized landing page as the home page, all you need to do is create that page in the “Pages” area of your WordPress dashboard. Second, create a page called “Blog” (or “News”, etc.) and leave it empty. Third, underneath the “Settings” tab of your Dashboard, select “Reading”. The first option under that settings page is what you want to display on the front page. Select the radio button for “A Static Page” and select the home page you want to display in the first drop-down box. Then select the page you titled “Blog” in the second box. PRESTO! Your blog is moved to a secondary area on the site, and your visitors land on your specially-crafted home page.

    A word of caution, however, this will result in changes to your permalink structure, and some people might have to re-bookmark your content. I’m not sure how that impacts SEO that you may have already done. Making a change like this (regardless of how you do it) will require that you submit a new site map to Google, etc.

    As for what I’m up to this weekend, I’m working on my first product. It will be a video series that helps people conquer their fear of public speaking. I’m really excited about it, and looking forward to getting it finished and launched as soon as possible. I’m also planning on making some changes to my site that bring it in line with what you’ve recommended here. Hope you have a great weekend!

  • Omg, you know how many clients I’ve advised not to put the blog on their home page? Everyone wants to do it because they see other people do it and they think that’s how it should be. (gah!) 🙂

    What I usually do is work with the client to identify goals for the home page and then prioritize those goals. Then, you can rearrange the home page layout around those goals. So, if it’s lead generation, it makes sense to make that form obvious.

    Another thing, which I think you imply (forgive me if I’m wrong) and don’t say is that a site with a blog on the home page looks like well, a blog. And, um, not so much like a real business.

    That can be fatal impression indeed.