welcome to our home 3Those of you who have been following me on Twitter over the past 6 months have seen me tweet out the start of every day with something like this:

Good morning friends! Some pithy short comment about life today here. New friend? Welcome aboard: http://cspenn.com/w

This short URL takes you over to my welcome page, which gives you some idea of who I am, what I do, where you can find me, and some selected pieces of content that give you an idea of what I write about. I’ve been doing a welcome page since August, and on the page I explain why it exists: it’s a tour, a welcome mat of sorts to help introduce new friends to me.

Every day, a few people go read it when I start the day with it, between 20-30 a day. As web analytics go, that’s not exactly lighting the world on fire, right?

Except when I looked in the aggregate stats yesterday, those few visits every day by brand new people add up significantly, making it the 7th highest trafficked page on my site overall and having a bounce rate a full 20% lower than any other page on my web site. People come to it, read it, and find their way to other content I’ve written, which is exactly its intended purpose. Here’s the kicker, the part that makes me very happy: the next page that people go to is my public speaking page. If I were a business (in the sense of a full time commercial enterprise) and a welcome page was funneling new traffic, new visitors straight to my sales page, I’d be delighted beyond measure at this kind of performance.

Here’s the secret of the welcome page, the secret sauce that makes it work. It’s not enough just to have one. You have to draw new attention to it regularly. By tweeting it out daily, first thing, almost every weekday without fail, it gets some traffic. Not a ton, but it doesn’t need a ton, and those who have already been to it don’t have to return to it. That’s the secret. By keeping the format of the first Tweet of the day regular consistent, new people get a welcome and old friends get a familiar reassurance. New people get introduced to me every single day and learn what I do (and some hire me to speak), while not offending familiar friends who have already seen it.

Here’s the secret that makes it easy for me: by using a static URL that’s very short (cspenn.com/w), I remember it without having to think about it, instead of something like a bit.ly/omfgwtfistheshortcodethatthispagewasyesterday273. I don’t ever have to think about what my welcome page’s URL is; by keeping it so short and familiar (and unchanging), it’s easy to publish daily.

Should you have a welcome page for your business or personal site? That’s entirely up to you. If you can make the commitment to start every day by drawing attention to it, by keeping a constant, small flow of eyes and minds to it, then I would say yes, you should have one. If you can’t make that commitment, then I’d say it’s not a bad idea to have one, but don’t expect the same kind of performance that you’d get out of it.

Do you have a welcome page? Are you bringing new people to it every day?


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