3 Reasons NOT to Have a 'Start Here' Page on Your Website
Let’s talk about a BIG website pet-peeve of mine: the “Start Here” page. In this quick video training, I’m covering the evolution of the “Start Here” page: what it is, where it came from, why you don't need it, and what I recommend you do instead.
The evolution of the “Start Here” page on websites:
Where did this come from and why are people still using it?
To answer that we have to go back a couple of internet eons...back back back. Ten years ago, when people first started in this realm of creative entrepreneurship, the game was all about blogging.
When you think back to those old-school bloggers that have been doing it since 2009-2011, it makes sense why they’d want a “Start Here” page. They had huge archives of content because they had been blogging every week or every day for years and they didn't have any other pages on their site to serve this “start” function.
They needed some place for people to go if they were new to their blog so that they could understand who this blogger was, what they wrote about, and then find a few good pieces of content to jump into. That's really where it came from...with those OG bloggers.
Who is using the "Start Here" page and why?
You'll see it really in 3 places:
Those old-school bloggers, like I mentioned, that have been blogging for years, consistently. And so they have this huge amount of content and so their “Start Here” page is kind of like an archive page for them to point visitors to a few great pieces of content to begin with.
Some of them, like Sarah Von Bargen of yesandyes.org, still do NOT have a homepage. Her website IS her blog. And that's very problematic when you want to be a business owner that sells courses or services.
Lastly, some people are mislabeling their “Home” page as a “Start Here” page.
Let’s look at a few examples:
Pat Flynn on his website SmartPassiveIncome.com uses a “Start Here” page. Now, in my opinion, he needs to remove this page because he already has a strategic homepage. Also, you'll notice that he has waaay too many links in his top navigation which is NO BUENO. You want no more than 6 links in your top nav bar. That's basically because now our attention spans are less than that of a goldfish, so we can't hold more than 6-7 things in our working memory at one time.
Regina of ByRegina.com is amazing but her “Start Here” page is actually just her homepage. So she could label it “home” OR, what I recommend, is to remove the label entirely from the top navigation.
And, as I mentioned before, Sarah Von Bargen has been blogging for years... I think since 2009 (which is officially an internet eon). And so she has this huge collection of content and, without a homepage, there’s no real point-of-entry for new visitors.
Top 3 reasons why NOT to have a "Start Here" page on your website:
You run a business not a blog. So, yes, you probably have a blog and that's great to have on your website. It's good for SEO, helping people to find you via search. It showcases some of the free content that you're capable of creating and entices people to sign-up for more.
There are loads of good reasons to have a blog on your website but your website is NOT your blog. The blog is a piece of your website. Your business is NOT your blog. The blog is a piece of your business. It's about strategic content marketing that funnels people in. First, they read your content, then they sign up for your list, and then they book your services, etc. But the idea is that you are a business owner. You're not a blogger and so you need to think in terms of being a business owner.
You should have a strategic homepage. Your homepage IS your "Start Here" page and you don't need to label it "Start Here" in your navigation. You just need to have a good strategic homepage in place (more on that in just a second).
Your people know how to internet. Trust the people that you're speaking to (that are the kind of people that would book services and buy things online) are the kind of people that know how to use the Internet. They expect that if they click on that little logo graphic in your top banner, that it will take them to your homepage. You don't need to label it for them. OK so just give your people a little bit of credit.
What should you do INSTEAD of a “Start Here” page?
Create a strategic homepage, of course! And, essentially, that means that you let people know right away (1) what you do, (2) who you serve, and (3) how you’re different. Then give them 1-3 options for how they can jump into your website or your services or your content. You also want to provide a little bit of social proof in the form of testimonials (or maybe logos of where you've been published). And then, lastly, you want to get people onto your email list.
Regardless of if you offer services or products, your email list is something that you OWN. And it's a place for you to directly interact with your potential clients and customers. And in my FREE Homepage Blueprint Masterclass, I walk you through a step-by-step template for creating your own strategic homepage for your website.
Take action on this now.
Don't just take what you’ve read here and think, “Yeah, that makes sense. I'll put that in my Asana to-do list and never actually do it.” OK? I want you to go sign up for my completely free Homepage Blueprint Masterclass right now. And then, if you’re ready to go even further in your website strategy, then grab my $7 Website 101 mini-course that covers my entire website prep process. I highly recommend that you take action and you sign up for both of those.
The "Start Here" page emerged about 10 years ago with the OG bloggers that essentially began the “creative entrepreneur” movement. They needed a place for their new website visitors to go to learn about them and to dive into their content. So they put up a “Start Here” page to accompany their blog and make it easier for new visitors to explore their vast content catalogs.
So who uses them, now? You’ll still see some of those bloggers using the “Start Here” page as well as some of their followers.
But the thing is: you’re not a blogger, you’re a business owner.
That’s why you NEED a homepage that’s focused on your business strategy, rather than a “Start Here” page. And you can get my step-by-step method for creating a strategic homepage for FREE by signing up for the Homepage Blueprint Masterclass.