Whether you’re just starting your blog or you’ve been running one for several months (or years!) now, it can be a little overwhelming to think of all of the content that you should be putting out there. From writing new posts every week, scheduling social media content, and doing live videos, your to do list is probably already pretty full.
Kory here! When you’re putting so much work into getting new visitors to your site, you want to make sure that you’re taking advantage of their time once you get them there. That means not just showing your blog post or a specific page and hoping they click around to see more. You want new visitors to see your best and most important content, and the easiest way to do that is with a Start Here page.
So, I’m going to show you how you can create your page and display your content with two free and super easy-to-use plugins!
[Tweet “Learn how to easily create a start here page for your new blog visitors using two free plugins”]
Creating your page
Obviously the first thing you want to do is go to Pages > Add New and actually create your Start Here page. You can stop here as far as creating your page goes as long as you just want a simple layout. This is perfect for you if you’re just going to be displaying some of your popular posts and maybe including something like a bio with a link to your About page.
However, if you want a more complex layout or just want to have more control over how you’re displaying the content on this page, then you can use the free Beaver Builder plugin. We absolutely love this plugin for creating pages like this on our site because it gives you a lot more freedom to create multi-column layouts and them automatically be responsive.
Displaying your popular posts
Once you’ve created your page, it’s time to start adding your content. One thing that you’re definitely going to want to add is your recent or popular posts under your 2-3 most popular categories. There are several ways you can do this, but I highly recommend using the free Content Views plugin to display your posts. It’s incredibly easy to use and swap things out if you need to.
After you’ve installed the plugin, you’ll just go to Content Views > Add New. It’s pretty easy to setup from there, but here’s a screenshot of one I have setup on my personal site:
When you’re creating your grid, you can pick how many posts to show with the Limit. I usually show 4 or 8 but no more than that. I use the Taxonomy type to filter posts, and then I filter them further by Category, and then I pick the actual category that I want to show. I create a separate Content View grid for the different categories I want to display. Once you’re done here, be sure to click Save.
The next settings you can change is how your grid displays, again here are the exact settings I use:
You’ll want to start with the Layout, and this is where I pick Grid. You can set a certain number per row and change that setting based on the tablet and mobile sizes. The next setting I change are the Field Settings. I only show the thumbnail because the title of the post is on my blog post graphics. I also don’t display the content or meta fields because I want to keep things simple. After this you can set the Thumbnail Size. What options you have here depends on the different thumbnail sizes that your theme has, but I usually pick something small. The last thing I do is make sure that under Others, the link is set to open in a new tab. Once you’re done, click Save again.
After you’re done creating your different grids, you’ll see that a shortcode was created. You can take this and place it into your Start Here page to display the grids of your posts.
Including other strategic content
While you have your new visitors on this page, it’s a great time to display some other strategic content like a short bio, links to your services, and links to events. You don’t want to overwhelm your new visitors, but including these things on your Start Here page is a good idea to make sure that your new audience members see the most important content.
If you’re unsure of what all you can include on your Start Here page and how to decide what you should choose, definitely check out Krista’s post on how to plan your Start Here page.
If you don’t have a static home page for your blog, it’s definitely important to have a Start Here page on your blog. So you can easily take action by creating one of these pages for your audience. Once you’ve created your Start Here page, let us know in the comments so we can see.