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How to Build Your ‘Start Here’ Page

December 7, 2020

Reading Time:   minutes

Writing & Content

This is Part 5 of my continuing Series on "requisite pages" for your website.

This article is all about creating your "Start Here" page, who it's designed for, why you should have one, & content ideas for what to include.

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Give Your Visitors a "Red Carpet" Welcome!

Nothing says "Welcome...I'm glad you're here" like a "red carpet" welcome...

Imagine this:

You're visiting a museum for the first time... It's HUGE, with many floors, a vast array of exhibits, and you're not sure just where to start...

Now imagine that — as you enter the grand Lobby — you're immediately greeted by an inviting Information Center, a helpful Museum staff member who offers you a Map of the entire Museum, and who escorts you over to the Information Center... The Museum staff member also asks you if you've ever been there before, and if there's anything you've specifically come to see today...

Now...that's a warm welcome and it immediately puts you at ease, knowing the Museum staff are truly interested in your visit, and they value your time!

Your Start Here page sends the very same message to your readers!

Let's see how to do this!

Red Carpet Welcome

Start by putting the emphasis on your readers!

Put yourself in their place: what would you want to know when visiting a new 'place?'

  • Am I in the 'right' place?
  • Is this place going to serve me and my unique needs?
  • Can I trust this new place?
  • How do I find my way around to see what all is here?
  • What's the most important thing I can learn?

How to Create Your Own "Start Here" Page

#1: Your "Start Here" page IS a WordPress page!

(If you seen the other articles in this Series, you already know the drill...)

  • Create a New WordPress page
  • Name your page "Start Here" or some variation... On this website, I've simply said "New? Start Here" because I think it's unexpected to have a question in the Main Menu... That draws the readers attention visually to this menu item!
  • Add an eye-catching -- and curiosity-stimulating - image! Something niche-appropriate but unexpected works great!
  • Make sure to add your new page to your Main menu!

#2: Really Understand Your Readers' Concerns...

Now comes the content part...and why you put yourself in your readers' shoes!

Let's see how those questions I suggested above translate into actual content on this page:


  • Am I in the right place ... translates to "Tell me who you serve!"
  • Is this place going to serve me and my unique needs...translates to "Reassure me that you've done this before, and understand my current challenge!
  • Can I trust this new place...translates to "Have you really done this before? What's your prior experience?
  • How do I find my way around to see what all is here... translates to "I'd like to browse the site, see what's important... Where should I start?
  • What's the most important thing I can learn...translates to "My time is valuable! Show me your most important content now -- on my first visit --so I can decide for myself if its worth coming back here! 

PRO TIP:

To be clear, your "Start Here" page isn't only for your first-time visitors. It also benefits your newer readers who may not have visited your site for awhile... It can help to remind them of where the most important content is located, how to find it again, and even to find out what's new on your site...

Websites are dynamic...constantly being updated (Google demands it!) and this is a great place to highlight your newest content...

Should your niche or demographic broaden to include new topics, challenges, questions -- ideally from reader feedback! -- you can also highlight those new areas you're now serving!

And... a big PLUS: It benefits you as well. I explain below!

Content Strategies

Here are some of the best ways to do this:

  • Be clear in your introduction to this page exactly who you serve & why. Only a sentence or two are necessary.
  • Show your best content! A great way to do this is by including a "Resources" section with some links to important content on your site. These can be simple text links, or they can be list or grids using featured image thumbnails.
  • Organize your content for your reader! This is particularly important if you have several broad topics you cover, such as I do on this site. You can see them in the Main Menu, but a new visitor may not really know what those topics are about... Create sections, orgaining by title. Below these you can simply add text links to your key posts for each of these topics.
  • Include links to case studies, especially if you have specific use cases that are very common for most readers in your niche. These can help prove your experience and increase reader trust.
  • Provide a brief section: "How to Find Your Way Around" where you give readers the various options for finding content, such as using site search (tell them where to look for your search bar), how to browse by menu navigation (especially important if you have a complex drop-down menu, or you use a double Main Menu like I have on this site... You may want to briefly define each menu topic (think WordPress category), so they can quickly jump to the one they are most interested in reading. That way they won't 'waste' their time trying to figure things out!
  • Create a short but dedicated section near the top specifically for 1st time visitors! Get their attention with a catchy -- and eye-catching -- headline in a bright color that says: "NEW? Make sure you read these foundation pieces first!"


#3: "Start Here" Page Design & Formatting

Just like other pages on your website, your Start Here page should be designed for scanning readers!

In this case, clarity & organization is key:

  • Start with your most important content! This could be an introduction to the page, an invitation to browse, in the most efficient way, several ways to find topics, emphasizing your main topics (think Main Menu), or pointing out how to search the site...
  • Make sure your have clear headings -- these should be H2's -- and be clearly separated from each other in well-defined sections.
  • Use H3's within each H2 section to further organize your content, if necessary
  • When providing several links to other content, consider using bullet points
  • Also consider using background sections to visually create separation between key sections of your entire page. Using lightly-shaded background sections instantly gives visual separation

Now, you're ready to take on your own Start Here page!

By following a few simple content strategies and the example format I've shown above, you should be able to provide your readers with the extra warm welcome & get your all-important Start Here page published.

If you have your own Start Here page, why not consider sharing it in the Comments section!

If you have any questions about how to build or write your own Start Here page, please leave them in the Comments below!


In Part 6 of this Series, learn exactly what to include on other critical pages...

I discuss: HomeFAQ, and more...

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Karen McCamy


Karen McCamy is a WordPress Trainer & Coach, and believes that everyone should be able to build & maintain their own WordPress website... without having to learn complicated code! When not teaching WordPress, she enjoys spending time with her feline friends...

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