Today I came across somebody asking if a static homepage on their blog would rank just as well (or better) than having their blogroll set as their homepage – which appeared to be the current setup.
And I immediately wanted to answer this question because not only is this something that I myself found myself wondering a while ago, but it’s also something that I personally experimented with.
So, what works best?
Well… It depends.
More often than not a well constructed static page will actually outperform the blogroll (and won’t affect the rankings of your new or old posts)… But there are some exceptions.
Well, it all depends on your website & what the visitors are expecting.
You’ll see exactly what I mean by that as I explain in more detail below…
Static Homepage VS Blogroll – What’s Better?
To determine what’s best you first have to strip back a blog & think about what it really is. Blog is short for “web-log” and essentially it’s an online diary – or at least that’s how it started out.
Nowadays though most people use “blogging” platforms to build out websites, and that’s an important difference.
It’s a case of diary VS website.
So for example, if you had let’s say a lifestyle blog where you discussed your daily-doings every day then having the blogroll as your homepage would likely be the preferred option.
That way, when people visited your website they could quickly see what’s new & follow your doings in chronological order.
However, if your blog is not really a blog, but it’s more of a website, then does having a blogroll just make it harder for your visitors to find what they’re looking for?
Does it make it harder for them to figure out what the site’s actually about & where they should start reading?
If so, then a static homepage is probably better.
You see, if you were to use a blogroll in this instance then the visitor might click to your homepage expecting to learn more, but then “stuck” with regards as to where to go next – meaning they’ll leave.
A leaving visitor is never good for SEO, especially if it’s a fast hop (not much time spent on the page).
That tells the search engines that the page they just visited isn’t all that useful.
So instead what you can do is create a static page as your homepage & use it to introduce yourself or your business, then most importantly tell the visitor where to go or what to do next.
People don’t like to be left guessing, they like to have things made easy for them.
What About Search Engine Rankings?
You’ll find that because WordPress comes out-of-the-box with the blogroll as the default homepage setup there aren’t too many people who are worried about having their blogroll as their homepage for SEO.
It’s the right thing to do, right? It’s “default”…
The problem though is on the flip side of things when people want to change it – they worry that it’ll hurt their SEO because they’re doing something “non-default”.
And one of the biggest concerns people that I’ve spoken too seem to have is that changing the homepage to a static page will stop authority “juice” flowing from their main page to their latest posts.
So, in short, they’re concerned that their newly published posts won’t rank as well.
Is that true?
Here we go again… Yes and no.
It all boils down to how easily you make your posts available to find.
For example, if you publish a blog post but the only way somebody can ever find it is by clicking a tiny link in the footer to your blog & then searching through your blogroll to get it, it’s not gonna rank well.
Search engines ain’t stupid – they want you to think user first… And so if you’re hiding a post (or seeming to be hiding it) then they’ll assume that it’s been purely written for search engines.
They ain’t interested in that type of content.
However again, on the flip side if you have a static page as your frontpage & then you publish a post which is well interlinked from other posts AND features on a blogroll that is easily accessible (such as from a menu item) then you’ll have no problems at all.
In fact, many of the posts on my personal sites actually ended up ranking better with a static page as the front page because the static page was leading to more overall engagement.
So To Summarise…
Ultimately it’s one of those questions to which there is no “one size fits all” answer. It entirely depends on your site, but for the majority of sites, I would say a well constructed static page will perform better.
However, for diary style sites a blogroll may perform just fine.
It’s all about user experience. Think about your users…
If somebody clicked onto your homepage who’d just landed on your site, do you think they’d prefer to see a blogroll? Does it make sense for them to see a blogroll? Or would a static “Welcome” page seem more logical?
The best way to do SEO is often to forget about SEO. Think about your visitors.
If the visitors like it, so will the search engines.