What makes a great “home” page? According to search engines like Google it’s attributes like, page title, keywords, and most importantly relevant text based content. Obviously your home page is the most important page of your web site. Most internet users will leave your site within seconds if they don’t immediately see something that they find useful. Of course a well designed web site making use of nice looking images and graphics will help, and a user friendly layout with easy access to navigation is a must. However the difference between a good home page and a great one is the content and how often it is maintained.
A common challenge web site owners face is the lack of time to update their home page on a regular basis. Others don’t have access to their web site or don’t know how to make changes on their own. Many leave their web site updates in the hands of their webmaster, designer, or other third parties often resulting in additional costs. Some have limits on how many updates or changes they can make per month.
One popular solution to this problem is starting a blog for your business. Anyone can start and maintain a blog without having to rely on anyone else. Many businesses will even go as far as to hire a company to set up their blog so that the layout matches their web site, and its hosted on their own domain as apposed to one of the popular blogging sites. This is a great way to “brand” your blog and give it a very professional feel rather than looking like a casual or more personal blog. Blogs allow the user to simply log in to a their account and post to their blog at their convenience, publishing it instantly to the web. Another option is to use your blog as your home page and include your navigation to your internal pages right on your blog. Their are several advantages to this. A well maintained blog will generate traffic, and Google just naturally likes blogs presuming they are being used and maintained regularly. However what if you just don’t want you blog as your home page?
I have personally always liked the idea of displaying my blog on my home page, but I don’t like the limitations that blog templates can impose on my web site design. After some research I discovered a program from Gecko Tribe called CaRP. There is a free version and a paid version available. I’ve only used the free version and love what it’s done for my web site. It takes the rss feed from your blog and displays it wherever you choose, which in my case is along the left side of my home page. I can control how much space it takes up and I can configure the text to match my web site. I can choose how many posts I wish to display and even how many characters from each post. Posts are all linked directly to my blog so my visitors can read the entire article, or if I choose I can display the entire article right on my home page.
Their are hundreds of more features to customize this program that I haven’t even experimented with yet. This is a great way for me to easily display current news, products, or services on my home page without having to do anything except post to my blog.
Blogging is one of the best ways to promote your web site and with the help of a tool like CaRP the possibilities are endless with how you can continue to get your information to your visitors.