As bloggers, how do we balance the needs and expectations of our readers who are fellow bloggers, with the needs and wants of our readers who are new bloggers and nonbloggers?

Ever since I built Dave Schoof’s Engaging the Disquiet, I’ve had this question. To date, most of his readers are not blog savvy. They’re prospective clients who want to know more about what Dave can do for them. But often, they’re uncertain what to do with his blog. Interestingly enough, his page about How to Use RSS is among his most read posts. So I’ve been pondering this question for quite some time.

Then last week Wendy Piersall decided to ask if we’re all just members of huge blogging clique. Wendy’s posts asked the right questions so I jumped in with Bloggers, Are We Just Blogging To The Choir? We must have touched something, because for both of us these quickly became one of our most read and commented on posts. Wendy even followed up with The Risks of Growing a Blog Too Big, writing about what she calls a ‘welcome mat:’

Lay Out the Welcome Mat on your Blog

  • Set up a section with top posts, a site introduction, and a VERY basic intro to how to navigate and comment on a blog
  • Occasionally write a “Welcome New Commenters” post
  • Always respond to the really thoughtful comments – somehow!
  • Write posts in an “approachable voice”, inviting participation from everyone

Soon, Darren Rowse of ProBlogger was writing about The Balancing Act of Where to Pitch Your Content (Darren’s got some greater beginner content, by the way). Mike, who commented on ProBlogger, followed up with his own idea of creating beginner and advanced content.

The conversation this started is great. And some really good ideas were spawned like Wendy’s ‘welcome mat.’ or Darren’s idea of beginner and advanced feed content.

I’m also intrigued with Alex Shalman’s homepage. Check it out. When you get to his homepage, he has a quick, couple of paragraph introduction, followed by the five major sections of his site and then a brief intro to RSS. It’s very clean and his content is very well written. I’m curious, though, what type of effect that has on his traffic flow. And one thing I don’t see are any services he’s offering. I’ve asked Alex for a little feedback.

But what do you think? Do you like the ‘introductory home page?’ Or maybe Wendy’s ‘welcome mat?’ How do you think we should best meet new and non bloggers to our sites?

Even better, have you found a method for educating inexperienced readers about what your blog can do for them? Please share.�

Reader Interactions


  1. Dawud Miracle says


    It’s interesting we’ve launched into this conversation today. I was assigned to you for a SOAPing. It looks like we’re beginning – just publicly.

    I like the headlines being on your homepage. I was just suggesting they be easier to identify for your site visitors.

  2. Mindfulness Maverick says

    Here’s a thought.

    You can set 2 phone appointments with people that are in your Target Market however non-bloggers each week. Make sure you share with them to have access to a computer during the call.

    At the call, share with them how their voice matters and walk them through how to make a comment on one of your posts.

    They will click the Notify me of followup and then Bingo – they are in the loop and potential clients have been added to your blog.

  3. Dawud Miracle says


    I understand. I’ve never seen your intro page – and I’ve read and commented on your blog many times. Your site is quite clean, yet do you feel there’s a way to make your intro content more visisble?

  4. David Airey says

    I wonder if I should simply highlight the ‘about’ page. Or I could insert some intro text into one of my side bars. I want the freshest article content to sit above the fold so that kind of rules out some introduction in the main content column.

  5. Dawud Miracle says


    Yeah, I agree on the freshest post being on top. And I also see your design is so clean, you don’t want to clutter it. Perhaps a simple “first timers” link in the nav bar? Just a thought.

    Also, I just took a look at your homepage and noticed I can’t get to your blog from there. I would definitely add a blog link as soon as you can.

    BTW, how different is the traffic you get to your homepage versus your blog?

  6. David Airey says

    Thanks Dawud, I added a blog link to my homepage.

    According to my Google stats I’m getting around 70 visits per day on my homepage compared to around 500 on my blog.

    I’ve wondered if it’d make sense to have my blog listed on and my portfolio a link off it, but I think that would fairly undo the work I’ve put into the blog and the sites linking to it.

  7. Dawud Miracle says


    Interesting. That just goes to show you how much more vibrant and alive our blogging content is over our static content. Of course, your homepage isn’t as content rich either. But it’s pretty obvious the blog is doing its job.

    As for moving your blog…If it’s working the way it is, I wouldn’t change it. What I might do is find an elegant way to add recent blog post titles, and maybe excerpts, to your homepage. See you already have titles. Ever consider making your blog titles a bit more prominent and perhaps style them a little to set them a part from your homepage content? That way, visitors to your homepage aren’t forced to read your content to find you have a blog.

    Another thing to do if you want to play with your stats a bit is to set up a funnel in Google Analytics that tracks how many people now get to your blog after visiting your homepage versus those who find your blog directly. Setting up the funnel is easy and Google’s site can help you with it.

  8. David Airey says

    I haven’t tested much of the Google stat capabilities but will look into funneling when I get a chance.

    Recently I added the latest three blog headlines to my static homepage, courtesy of an excellent FeedBurner code that updates them automatically. Prior to that I had sometimes manually updated headlines (very time consuming in comparison).

    Thanks for the conversation Dawud.

  9. Anonymous says

    Hi Dawud and David

    Just a short comment with a tip for using Statcounter on your website and/or blog. It gives you a world of stats and shows you where you’re readers are coming from, how long they’re staying, what pages they click on etc. The ‘lite’ version is free and it comes with a invisible tracker. I’m using it now for over 3 years and it’s a ‘gold-mine’ on webmarketing trial and error 😉

  10. David Airey says

    You got me as a SOAPer? I’m scheduled to do one and will be soon. It’s not you however. 🙂

    I look forward to it greatly.

    Karin H., have you used Google stats? I’d be interested to know how stat counter compares.

  11. Dawud Miracle says

    Karin H.,

    Thanks for your suggestion. I’ve used Statcounter in the past. It’s pretty nice. I like Google Analytics more because I find it much easier to read. And it’s a powerful or perhaps more than Statcounter.


    Yeah, I got you. I’ll write you an email about it later today. Odd, I thought you’d know that.

  12. Anonymous says

    Hi David

    Haven’t had time to visit your site yet, sorry (too much to do toady I’m afraid).

    As for your question, yes I have used Google stats (must be ‘running’ also somewhere ;-)) but after Statcounter it was a bit of a disappointment (I’m ‘spoiled’ I think), especially on the keywords side and ‘came from’ stats so after two weeks I gave up on Google.

    Recently, because our website is getting more popular (and bringing customeres to our little showroom) I enhanced my account to a paying one and I haven’t regretted it, it helps me even better to keep the sites ‘working’ in the best way possible. So for me it has become a real tool, not just an interesting thing to have 😉

  13. Dawud Miracle says

    Karin H., David,

    Either of you have any ideas how to best educate new/non bloggers on how to use our blogs? Think about it from the perspective of a new visitor who doesn’t know what a blog is or that they can interact with it.

  14. Anonymous says

    Well, I think it depends on what your intentions are with the blog and start from there.
    We have our FAQ blog: and that is starting to work now the way I intended it to be: visitors asking questions on the blog – either underneath related posts or in the special category FAQ, “ask your own”.
    That category’s only post explain how to enter a question, and on the right side-bar I’ve mentioned it also.

    On my other blogs, well that’s a very different matter, not really ‘business’ based, so not sure how and if to ‘welcome’ new readers. Like the idea of a kind of ‘instruction’ note on the sidebar, so might do that later this week just to ‘try it out’

  15. Wendy Piersall :: eMom says


    Personally, I think there are pros and cons to starting out a blog that way. You are obviously aware of the pros. Here’s some of the cons I thought of:

    1 – Sometimes if I see a blog without advertising, I actually take it a little less seriously. The reason that is the case is because I know how much work a blog is, and if there is no advertising, I make the assumption that the blog is a passtime, not a business. If a blog is a business, interestingly enough, I give it a little more credibility. I think that is because then I know the author has a reputation at stake, and would likely not compromise their content for a few bucks.

    2 – Once you have a following, they will be used to not having ads around. When you finally do add the advertising, some of your established readers might not like the change. I decided to have advertising from day one, because I didn’t want to grow something only to lose a percentage of it later. I figured if anyone was THAT turned off by some ads, I probably would never make any money off of them anyway. I certainly would hope they would want to read the blog, but if not, I know there are plenty of others out there who don’t get hung up on this kind of thing.

    Wow, perhaps I should have put this up as a post, eh? It’s a little LONG! :/

  16. Dawud Miracle says

    Karin H.,

    Sure. I’m really thinking about this from a small business perspective. In other words, how can small business owners, whose audience will likely be bloggers and nonbloggers alike, make it easier for the nonbloggers to get involved? You know, commenting, feed links, etc. How do we help them discover the world of blogging effectively?

  17. Mindfulness Maverick says


    I like your thinking. I’m waiting before fully expanding my blog, but it will have advertising of my services on it.


    I like the simplicity of your blog, but I wouldn’t be offended if their were offerings. I think you might like Chris Barrow’s blog

    Will you be going to denistry school after your MA?

  18. Alex Shalman says

    Hey Dawud,

    Thanks for contacting me earlier. I will just sort of repeat what I wrote in response to your e-mail earlier and add to it a bit.

    For the first couple of months I was always “advertising” and leaving comments with, and many people link to /blog instead of the homepage. So I get many more first time visitors to the blog than to the homepage.

    When I first started the site, I decided to do a wordpress/html combination with a homepage in order to have more flexibility. I now know that the homepage serves as a great gateway to introduce people to my content. Even though most people go to .com/blog instead of .com for my site, the people that do visit through my homepage stick around and click through to other sections.

    I can’t really report which method works best as I’m very actively tweaking content/layout right now. Keep checking back to see progress on the optimal layout.

  19. Dawud Miracle says


    Interesting idea. Might work, though under something like…

    A regular free teleclass where people can learn a little bit about blogging. You entice your audience to call in because their curious about how to blog. And you spend your time teaching them very basic blogging while using your blog. If you had 10 callers and got them all to begin commenting, it might make quite the impact. And, you’ve gained a bunch of blog readers in your target market.

  20. Alex Shalman says

    I just wanted to add to my last comment. The reason that you do not see any services is because my site is currently not monetized, except for one text link add referral I am trying out. So, as of today is 100% free content and 99% advertisement free.

    Reason for this? My current belief is that a blog will attract more return visitors when it is advertisement free. Being a pretty new site, I am going to take advantage of this fact.

    Also, being that the site and blog are a seperate entity you will notice that has a better alexa score and pagerank. Someday I’ll be able to take advantage of this fact.

  21. Alex Shalman says

    @Wendy – I’m going to consider putting on my advertisements and affiliates again next month – I already played with the placement and got something I was happy with.

    @Maverick – Thank you for the compliments. I appreciate the link to that blog, it will be interested as I will be going dental after MA.

  22. Dawud Miracle says


    Thanks for sharing your approach and the reasoning behind it. Let us know when you make updates to your site.


    I’m guessing you’re talking about problogging stuff. But how do you feel about bloggers who are promoting their business; trying to gently convert readers into clients? Do you give this as much credibility?

    Also, I know I said that a bit rough…sorry, it’s late and words are not my friend right now.


    Thanks for your continued comments. We’ll have to meet some time…


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