How to Write a High-Converting ‘Start Here’ Page

How to Write a High-Converting ‘Start Here’ Page

Reader Comments (49)

  1. Hi Beth,

    I enjoyed your post. And what a great example of a “Start Here? page!

    As an independent traveler, I appreciate the idea of traveling slowly to learn about a particular destination. Love the website you shared. I’ve never come across CheeseWeb before. I need to linger there for a while to learn more about one of my favorite travel destinations.

    Recently, I published my website, but didn’t think a “Start Here? page would fit into my theme. After reading your post, however, I can envision a number of possibilities. The more I think about the idea, the more it seems a perfect fit for what I am doing. I’ll put your suggestions to good use.

    How does a “Start Here? page relate to a cornerstone content page? Do you consider these to be the same? Or different, but complementary?

    Blake

    • Blake–

      Chiming in to reply to your question on cornerstone content and Start Here Pages.

      Your Start Here Pages should reference your cornerstone content. This is the information for which you want to be known. Further, depending on how you’ve created and updated them, they should lead readers to other core information on your blog.

      Happy marketing,
      Heidi Cohen
      Actionable Marketing Guide

    • Hi, Blake –

      I agree with Heidi on this….it’s a good idea to link to your cornerstone content on your Start Here page, but they’re not the same. Your Start Here page should answer the questions, “What’s the first thing I need to know about this site?” and “Where do I start?”

        • Thank you for pointing out the difference between the Start Here page and the Cornerstone Page: now I have double work to do! 😉
          Ok let’s get serious now, and thank you for this very informative post.
          I think I’ll make the Start Here page my Homepage.

  2. Nice one – I’m also bumping into start here pages more and more…time to create my own. We’re using sumome and it seems to be a natural platform.

  3. Hi Beth! Thank you so much for sharing our Start Here page in your article. The page has been an evolution (and after reading your post I have a few ideas to tweak it again). I think it is particularly important for sites with a great deal of content. We needed to find a way not to overwhelm visitors with 1200+ articles and steer them to our best content. It also helps us quickly share our personality and overall message about travel. I’m glad to read it’s working!

    • You’re welcome, Alison! BIG thanks to you and Andrew for being awesome and creating such a great Start Here page. Thanks for being my star site! 🙂

  4. First, thanks for writing this article … it makes complete sense to me. In the real world, we get to start conversations, reacting as much to body language, voice prompts, facial expressions, etc. Online is SOOOO much different – we get nothing – views, likes, shares, comments – they help, but they are NOT the same. But, that’s what we have to work with, so like it or not, we have to make the best of an at best, mediocre communication channel (especially selling B2B).

    All that is preface to my second thank you … this was the “idea” I was missing for myself. And once you think about it — it is so obvious. If you are selling yourself (and that’s what most of do), people will never get a feeling for who you are and what you do, with providing a “path” that starts somewhere.

    Once you notice this simple “start here” concept, there is a realization – most of the sites I frequent did that one simple thing – tell me where to start.

    • That’s exactly it, Arnie – we’ve got to give our new visitors a place to begin, otherwise they’ll look at everything on the site and get totally overwhelmed. Give them a path! 🙂

  5. I almost didn’t click on this because, well how many Start Here page articles can one read?! But I’m so glad I decided to check it out because you are so right, that is a GREAT Start Here page and I’ve bookmarked this post to come back and take notes for my own. Thanks!

  6. Beth–

    Great resource with useful examples. It’s sorely needed. It resonates with something ProBlogger’s Darren Rowse said recently: Many of our visitors aren’t at our level of experience.

    Happy marketing,
    Heidi Cohen
    Actionable Marketing Guide

    • So true, Heidi! And I think we tend to assume, “I’ll just give the visitor tons of content, and they’ll figure it out.” We need to put ourselves in the shoes of our readers, every step of the way.

  7. Beth,
    Excellent article! I have been seeing “Start Here” pages for 2-3 years now, but the concept really made so much sense the first time I saw one… 🙂

    The problem that you have solved with this great article is just what to include, with some awesome examples!

    I had the same question as Blake Smith while reading about fitting in with Cornerstone Content, and I think it really depends on your niche & website content as to whether you can make them a single page on kink to a full CC page…

    I do like Michael Hyatt’s approach (which I had already saved as a model last year!).

    I have saved your article to share with my WordPress 101 coaching clients! 🙂

    Thanks, again!

  8. Hi Beth! I Think this article is enough for an blogger to begin with and simply implementing the points will definitely make his blog valued to his / her reader.

    Also writing is an art that needs to be improved, which happens with mistakes and corrections!

  9. I agree with you and thank you’re recommended for “start here” page, but what a website about the physical product so complicated built. I think it is “about us” page enough, right?

    • Hi Jose – I recommend having a “Start Here” page on pretty much any site, regardless of what kind of product you’re selling. If you’ve got content on your site, and/or there’s any chance your customers won’t know where to go first, adding a Start Here page is a good idea.

  10. After listening to a ProBlogger podcast on “Start Here” pages last month, I realized that my Start Here page had been neglected. The concept is easy to comprehend and I followed the trend by adding a two minute video introduction too.

    Although posted on my site now, not having a video likely missed chances to personalize the experience and engage readers quickly with my services (and charming personality.) I had an intro video a few years ago but removed it due to poor quality because it had been done with a Flip Video camera.

    A quick check into my Google Analytics easily gave me my most popular pages to highlight. This project is well worth the time even if it does add an extra menu item.

  11. Hi Beth,

    Awesome Article! I have visited so many blogs which have “Start here” page, but had not realized the essence of the page. This page makes the life of the website visitor so much easier.

    Glad, I visited this page, this has motivated me to get thinking about this page for my own blog. I better get started on this soon.

    Thank you for sharing.
    Manish Raaval

  12. Hey Beth 🙂

    Woah Thanks for this Amazing piece of artistic content, Well I also recently published my own start here page and after reading your post I noticed I’m missing some few stuff so I guess I have to tweak it a little bit and follow the guidelines you outlined here

    Thank you for this 🙂 I’m sharing this post right away!

  13. This post could not have been more relevant for me right now. I’m, as we speak, creating a Start Here page for my website and I’ve done some Google searches on good examples to give me ideas. Then, what do you know, a blog post from Copyblogger lands in my inbox. If I didn’t know better, I’d think you had me in mind! 🙂 Thanks for a very informative, and timely, post!

  14. Great article, I have been tossing up for a while whether my blog needs some sort of welcome / start page rather than landing on my blog roll.
    I think you have finally convinced me of the need for such a landing page and given me some great ideas on how to structure it.
    Now to fit it into my schedule.

  15. Thank you for this! I can’t wait to get mine up and running. I’ve noticed these on some blogs I follow and remember thinking how easy and useful that is, but it never occurred to actually implement it.
    I want to clarify something first though: How is the Start Here page different from the About page? Is it similar but just re-marketed to be more useful? Is it necessary to have both?

    • Hi, Inna –

      Your About page gives information about you (or your company) — it includes your bio, credentials and story. Some of the bio information could be included in a Start Here page, but the Start Here page goes way beyond that. It gives resources, ways to connect with you, etc. I definitely think you need both pages on your site, because they each have a different job.

  16. Thanks for a great article and resource! I think I’m going to give this a try and see how it works for me.

    One thing I’ve noticed most marketers neglect to mention and recommend is to spell check your copy. At least for me, a grammatical error or misspelled word is a turnoff that reflects a lack of care on some level. I just thought I’d mention this, since your first example is a case in point. 🙂

    • Okay, you’ve got to share the error with me! If you want to be the proofreading police, you’ve got to be direct about it! 🙂

      • I’m not the proofreading police, I was simply sharing what I see missing a lot, which is reminding those who write copy to spell check, mainly because it’s a turnoff for me. The example that caught my eye here is Lisa’s paragraph where she writes “principals” when she really means “principles.”

        Most people probably don’t care, but I do, especially if you claim to be a best-seller author, like she does. My point is that you can have the greatest “Start Here” or landing page, the best headlines and content, but grammatical and spelling mistakes will stop the reader in their tracks and make them trust you a little less. 🙂

        • I actually agree, Yol! Making sure your “Start Here” page is 100% error free is important.

          And thanks for letting us know about the typo – I’ll let Lisa know.

  17. To be honest, I am fascinated with Copyblogger’s design. When I bought Studiopress, I tried to make my website look like Copyblogger.

    I did some write up on homepage without realizing it could be a start here page.

    It has some details, a call to action and ebook pitch. Getting an about page and another call to action are my next two goals.

    I first found “Start Here” page on Pat flynns website and it has become quite popular.

    I feel it is an extension of about page which offers more. How much more depends upon us.

    Loved the article Beth, take care. 🙂

    • Agreed, Rohan! It’s like an extension of the About page – we can think of it as a “First Step” page. 🙂 Thanks for the praise.

  18. Great post, Beth! These are why I love copyblogger. So, I’ve transferred over to YouTube from blogging, but think I can use this in my “About me” section. Thinking about it, the “About me” has more potential to be a diving board if it’s treated like you recommend here, rather than a traditional AM section. I’ll see what I can do with the formatting constraints.

  19. I never realized how important the ‘Start Here’ page is to the site and its growth. I am so going to rewrite mine. Great article Beth!

  20. I sincerely don’t remember how I got to Copyblogger.
    Its content is simply awesome.
    I have no regrets whatsoever.

  21. Hi Beth,
    Thank you for this great post! I knew I was trying to accomplish a wee bit too much on my Home page, and had too narrow a vision for what a Start Here page should look like.

    Thanks to your post, my Home page now does what it was meant to do, and my brand new Start Here page just takes them by the hand and picks up where the Home page left off.

    I’d like your opinion please on whether one piece of material should be in the Start Here page or not.

    My site is all about helping people overcome their anxiety and panic. My original start page was instructional telling them the first 3 steps to take to outsmart their anxiety. The new Start Here page currently contains this instruction material in the last section of the page.

    Now though, I’m questioning whether the instructional material should remain there or whether I should put it on a separate page and link to it. The instructional material is almost 1000 words – lots of white space with small decorative bits separating sections.

    On the one hand, it makes sense to keep it there because if anyone wanted to refer back to it they’ll know it’s on the Start Here page.

    On the other hand, it also makes sense to give it its own page and link to it. I have a Tips and Techniques menu and I can add it as a separate menu item it.

    What would you advise?

    Many thanks!

    • Hey, Quinn – I think your instincts are correct, and that you’ve got a bit too much substantive content on your Start Here page. I think your SH page should indicate a good starting point for your visitor, not go deeply into any particular topic. I’d put that instructional content on a separate page, then link to it on your Start Here page.

      • Thank you Beth!
        I appreciate your feedback! And not just because it jives with what I was thinking. LOL!
        Having a Start Here page really helps pull my site together. Once again, thanks for sharing!

  22. Thanks for this article, Beth, and all the examples.
    I’m curious — what is the difference, for you, between a “start here” page and a “home” page?

    • Hi Marilyn –

      Your home page is just the first page visitors see when people go to your main domain (like DomainHere.com). You can use your blog as your home page, or a Welcome page, or perhaps a Start Here page! It’s up to you what content your put there, but it needs to be something welcoming for your new and returning visitors.

  23. Hey Beth.

    This article conveyed such a nice roadmap for the professional bloggers. Having a nice “Start Here” page can create a huge impact on your blog’s authority and compel your first-time visitors to become a long time reader.

    This was the first ever page I saw back in 2013, and it just captured my attention from the day one. Time to time I started visiting this page to get more knowledge about blogging and everything.

    Here is the page – https://www.entrepreneurs-journey.com/make-money-online/

    After understanding the importance of this page (Yaro called it a pillar page), I made an awesome page on one of my main niche sites. After putting the heatmap on my blog, I found that this was the most accessed page on my blog.

    So your “start here” page can say a lot of stories in just a few words.

    Thanks a lot for such a nice article.

    • Hey, Thomas – I’ll bet most people discover their “Start Here” page is one of their most-visited pages! Good work! 🙂

  24. This is all very nice but have you looked at any conversion testing results? This sounds like the Latest New Thing, another fad. Seems to me that anyone implementing one of these should test the daylights out of it before they bet the farm on it. CheeseWeb’s is, well, an entire website on one page. Ewww. I bailed after about 20 seconds.

    • Sorry you feel that way, Glen – I definitely think the CheeseWeb page is just a nice introduction to their site.

      And of course you need to do your own conversion testing with your audience – as we need to do with everything we do in content marketing – but Pat Flynn’s Start Here page is a major part of his home page design, and he’s pulling in six figures every month. So I think it’s worth implementing a Start Here page and seeing how it goes over with your audience.

  25. Great, informative article – thank you! I have had a concern about my website for a while now – that it seems to just “jump in” to the services and content. Been trying to find a more informative, seductive way of talking to my visitors; creating a more gentle way of introducing them to what I am offering, without ramming the “hire me!” or “buy now!” message straight off the bat. Now I know what to do – the how to do it will take a little time, and thank you.

  26. Great Read!

    I also believe in the idea of slow travel as it allows for a deeper and more immersive travelling experience. I think the idea of refining a great “Start Here” page is key to growth. I personally love telling a short story as a short intro to potential customers on my home page.

  27. This is a great article. We use a lot of similar tactics in some of our funnels and they work quite well. I am glad to see that people are sharing their tactics like we do to help others. Look forward to reading more in the future!

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