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Should We Add a Homepage?

Today I want to ask you a question about how our website is laid out and serves our readers. Our goal over the years has always been to provide a quick and seamless way for our readers to find our content; More specifically, the content they are looking for when they are looking for it.

Our blog was created over ten years ago. That’s back when blogs were really only getting started, and not yet a mainstream type of site. Back then it was the normal for a blog or website to land you right on the blog feed. In other words, like our site. When you load our keenandgraev.com you see our current “homepage” which is nothing more than the most recent post excerpts and a sidebar. What if we added a new or real homepage?

Defining the User Experience on the Homepage

What if when you loaded keenandgraev.com you were presented with a homepage instead? One that contained:

  • An active header section (not a slider) that contained a call-to-action for that month
  • A section about us for new readers to quickly learn what Keen and Graev are about (a “Start Here” page of sorts)
  • Our most recent blogs presented horizontally
  • Our main categories or “silos” of content for users to quickly jump to the types of posts they want to see most
  • Featured Content below that which we think our readers would like to see

Creating Better Funnels

From the homepage there would be a number of ways for you to get to the content. At the top in our navigation you could simply click “blog” and be taken to the same exact page you’ve always seen. That would be our “blog”.

You could click on particular categories to only see blog posts from those categories. Example: if you want to only see MMORPG posts you could click into that category. Each category would have a custom designed landing page themed and tailored to the needs of a MMORPG reader.

Focusing on New and Existing Readers Equally

The main goal is to provide a better, more custom tailored user experience for our new readers who haven’t visited us before while enhancing the experience for our long-time readers. Right now our website heavily favors the reader who has been with us for years. You guys already know how we think. Our posts build upon each other. A new reader has to jump right into the fray without any context. What if we provided context for that new reader?

Your feedback is wanted. All I ask is that you think with an open mind about it. If you’re like me, you resist change. Oh my gosh I hate change. But look past the change. Do you see more value in having a homepage for our readers or would you prefer things to stay exactly the way they are where you load right to the blog feed? if you want to stay the same, why? The goal is to always serve you best.

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Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 15 comments
Wilhelm Arcturus - July 31, 2017

As long as you don’t mess up the RSS feed, a home page doesn’t matter much to me. I read things in Feedly and use the post link there to come here and comment.

That said, I tend to be against the home page thing, preferring to land solely on the primary content focus of a site (which would be the blog for me) with options to find other items rather than having it crammed in amongst a bunch of other options.

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    Keen
    Keen - July 31, 2017

    So perhaps leaving it the same but making the sidebar and navigation be more helpful and refined into funnels to better serve visitors?

    Perhaps a “Start Here” page in the navigation/sidebar so that new visitors can visit that page and be presented with the options to learn about the content.

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    Jenks - July 31, 2017

    I’m with TAGN on this one, just make sure the RSS works! I come here from The Old Reader not a web bookmark or anything like that.

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Misaligned - July 31, 2017

I don’t care for the homepage idea.

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    Keen
    Keen - July 31, 2017

    Is there something about a homepage that you do not like, or is there something about just a blog feed that you would enjoy more?

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Bhagpuss - July 31, 2017

I don’t much like blogs that pretend to be something they aren’t. If K&G is a blog I’d prefer it look and feel like a blog so I would be against a Homepage.

On the other hand, if you want to stop referring to it as a blog and start referring to it as something else then a Homepage might be appropriate.

Like Wilhelm, it’s the posts that come up in Feedly that I’ll be seeing, so as long as the RSS feed stays the same it wouldn’t affect me much either way.

If you want a straight answer, though, no, I would not see much advantage for me as a reader in having to come to K&G via a Homepage.

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    Keen
    Keen - July 31, 2017

    Thank you for the feedback! Interpretation of what it means to be a “blog” these days seems to vary. A vast majority of modern blogs have homepages, and I can see why they do. Many “blogs” are also businesses and entities unto themselves.

    If our readers here believe a blog should be just posts, then it’s important to maintain that image — and look for other ways to bring and indoctrinate the new readers.

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Gripper - July 31, 2017

I like it the way it is, easy to navigate and read whats new. I don’t see a reason to go with a homepage unless you are going to be adding new things or going in a different direction.

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Stropp - July 31, 2017

I use InoReader, so as others have said, as long as your feed keeps working!

Most of my interaction with your site, and with most blogs is through the reader. I generally only need to visit a site in order to leave a comment. Like this!

I expect that’s the case with many of your readers, so for them having a front page is not likely to make much of a difference. But you should bear in mind that if someone is coming to your site outside of a reader then if you have a front page, they’re going to need to have an additional click to get to your blog.

For loyal readers that’s not so bad. But for first time visitors (and some regulars,) every additional click they need to make to get to content will lead to abandonment. You’re probably better off leaving things as they are and having a better navigation bar at the top or menu at the side. (Also keep in mind the mobile experience.)

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Caldazar - August 1, 2017

I don’t think you need to tinker more with your website layout, the current layout looks clean and works well (Although I still don’t like the existence of the continue reading tab).

If you want to update things, you could increase functionality/’up to date’-ness. (About K&G linking to dead things, Streaming listing a schedule that has no touch with reality), abolish the numerical scores in your reviews.

I’ll reply to the actual post as well.
-Call-to-action:What would this call-to-action be?
-About page: The about page link is perfectly located where you would look for it and works great.
-Why would you possibly want to present blogs horizontally? Like Imperium.news? Making the blog links tiny, like there, I can see that, but please don’t make it ‘pic to click’ or scroll left to right, that is horrible. Also, extra clicks to content rarely increase readers. Ease of access is king.
-Being able to search on Tags would be nice, but is at this time not really necessary. On your site you currently have 3 different types of contents. Discussion posts, quickcasts and niche game reviews. The quickcasts are already easy to find, the blog posts are the current blog, and the niche game reviews are not a reason to come to the blog for (cause too few reviews, and too niche, you’d find em through a google search.)
-Featured content. What content would you feature?

About new and existing readers, you say that things build on each other, but looking through the blog that is hardly the case. Many things get abandoned and we never hear from them again (Albion, FF, ARK). What context would you provide new readers?

All of what you are saying might be applicable if you were creating a lot more content and we weren’t able to find things, but that is not the case. At a post every 4 days (roughly), you don’t need special funnels or massive sorting systems.

(PS: I don’t use a reader, I check the website, and I check it daily for new posts)

Reply
    Keen
    Keen - August 1, 2017

    All fair assessments. I know that in the past few years a big failing of mine has been to bring up a game, talk about a plan to play a game, then never comment on whether I did or didn’t play (and subsequently what happened in the game or why I didn’t play).

    Time has been my excuse. Writer’s block has been my excuse.

    I’m busy in my profession. Busy in growing other sites/projects. Busy squeezing in time to actually play games. All excuses, really. It doesn’t take THAT long to type out a blog post. There’s always something I’m doing or playing that I can write about. I just allow the posts to feel ‘heavy’ and then come up with excuses to not write them.

    If you’ll take a read at today’s (August 1) post, I’m working to rectify that with a challenge we’ve issued ourselves.

    I hope that I can regain your trust as a reader to see that attempts are and will be made to follow through my regularly.

    Reply
      Caldazar - August 1, 2017

      There is nothing wrong with your post schedule and it does not need to be rectified. So no need to apologize. Just, if you want to make big sites, the change needs to come from the posts first, not the framework. We will see if you can follow up this challenge, even after it is completed 🙂

      Reply
SynCaine - August 1, 2017

Not a fan of the idea. I visit the site almost daily, and if this means I have to click more to get the full content of a new post, I’m against it.

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Proximo - August 1, 2017

Another RSS user here, so to me a homepage is just a waste of your time. 🙂

Reply
Keen
Keen - August 1, 2017

Wow, I can’t believe so many people still use RSS. You guys are living in the dark ages. Old school kindred spirits! I like it.

Though it’s no wonder traffic looks down if you guys are all reading my content off my site. Makes me wonder what the numbers really look like. Here I am thinking we might only have 800 daily readers when in reality so far 80% of you are using RSS.

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