Obstacle.co

9 Jaw-Dropping Homepage Designs You Should Steal Ideas From

And Why You Should Stand on the Shoulders of Giants

Updated: September 15, 2016

It’s the one page you think the most about, but also the one page you focus the least on.

It’s your homepage.

When you go around looking at themes for your blog the first page you always look at is the homepage, but when you peel away the nice paint of the design you are left with a layout that is always the same.

The column on the left has the most recent blog posts and the column on the right is the infamous sidebar where bloggers think all the important content should go. If you’ve purchased one of the more modern blog themes then you probably also have what is referred to as a hero section at the top of your homepage.

After you get your theme setup you probably don’t even think about your homepage’s design again. The focus then turns to writing quality content and creating awesome freebies, but your homepage might be your most important landing page.

It is the one page that almost every single one of your visitors will visit and yet so many bloggers waste it by telling their audience to browse their latest blog posts. The best blog designs treat their homepage as a gateway not only to their content but also to their philosophy behind what they do.

When cultivating a tribe it is important to state your Why and your Promise. From there you want to guide your reader along a path. If you have some awesome freebies or email courses that you feel they will get value out of then why don’t you lead them towards those things?

If your blog is focused you should have no problem creating two or three paths that are helpful for your future audience.

But what about all of my awesome content?!

That is an excellent question. You don’t spend hours crafting great content for nobody to read, but think about it. When you are promoting your content are you sending people to your homepage or to the post page where the content lies?

You are sending them to a specific post page.

For most of your visitors, this is the first page that they will see. From there they may visit other posts or go right to the homepage to see what the site is all about. That is why it’s okay that your homepage isn’t a giant list of your most recent posts.

In this post, you will see a number of beautiful blog designs that treat their homepage a bit differently. You would be wise to study these designs and steal ideas from them for your own homepage. Too often bloggers can get caught up in trying to be original, but there is something to be said about stealing ideas.

Everyone does it. This post isn’t about stealing the colors, fonts, and everything else about a design. It’s about seeing some ideas that you would like to implement on your own design to see how things work.

Remember, everything is a remix.

Now let’s go over the designs. They are listed by alphabetical order so don’t think this is a ranking system on their awesomeness. They are all awesome.

By Regina

ByRegina

When it comes to design everyone has their own tastes. Mine lean towards very basic color schemes like black and white so this design is right up my alley.

What I love about it is that you get an idea that a person is behind the site right away. You also get the information you need to decide if this site is for you.

For inforpreneurs. For bloggers.

Don’t fit either of those? Then there is no use in sticking around. This is something all great blog designs do.

State your promise. Identify your audience.

This will be a trend moving forward.

Going down the page you see a major call-to-action right away. Sign up and get a free 80-page guide. That is massive value offered right off the bat. I wouldn’t be surprised if there is some major conversion with that CTA.

Going a bit further down you get to the section that I love. When you think about your audience you have to think of a single person that is lost. This person I like to refer to as the Restless Pathfinder.

The Restless Pathfinder is looking for a path. This path leads to them to a solution to a problem they are having. Regina does an excellent job of laying out four unique paths for people that come to her site.

The reason why this is important is because it can be a quick and easy way to get people into a specific funnel. Once you have them in the funnel you want, it becomes easier to sell to them.

Chris Ducker

ChrisDucker.com

This design hits you fast and heavy. I love that it’s a bold design that doesn’t try to be subtle. This is what we want to give you so this is what you will get.

Instead of stating who the site is for or offering a promise, Chris goes with the approach of giving you something awesome that will answer all of that.

This approach can work well when you are more established and don’t need to spend as much time explaining yourself or your site.

You’ll also see some nice external site references that help to build up his authority status. He’s been featured on those major sites so that is meant to help you gain more trust in what he is doing.

The next sections highlight the different mediums he uses to communicate his message. Instead of this homepage being a gateway to the blog, it acts as a gateway to everything Chris Ducker.

This is a wonderful implementation if you have your brand spread across different platforms.

Femtrepreneur

Femtrepreneur

Mariah Coz created a powerhouse in under 12 months and what I love about her writing is that she pulls back the curtain to show you her process. She recently redesigned her homepage and did all of the work for me by writing an excellent post explaining the process and reasoning.

Seriously, when you are done here, go check out that post and watch the video to see the logic behind the design.

Instead of saying “I want my design to use red because red is gorgeous” she says “I want my design to be laid out like this because I think it is the best way to lead people towards my goals.”

Marie Forleo

Marie Forleo

This design takes things to another level. Instead of a hero image, you get a hero video. From there on out you get confirmation after confirmation that Marie is going to help you achieve your dreams.

If you are just starting off or have been around a while and don’t have as much going on as Marie, then there might not be much you can take from this design. However, you should study how a multi-million dollar business tackles something as simple as homepage design.

No ads. No social media links trying to get you to share. No popups.

Every little gimmick that some bloggers tell you that you should do is thrown out the window here. Why? Because getting people connected with the brand is more important than any of those other things.

Marie’s site is all about getting you to connect emotionally with her brand and from there she will guide you through whatever funnel she wants.

Melyssa Griffin

Melyssa Griffin

By now you should be noticing a pattern with these designs. Every single one has the blogger front and center.

Why is that? Is it because they are vain and trying to jumpstart their modeling career?

While that is quite possible that isn’t the real reason. The reason why they have profile pics available right away is because it makes the brand human. This is important because you come across so many brands every single day that you no longer feel anything towards them. They are just companies trying to take your money and it can be hard to feel any emotional pull towards something like that.

Melyssa doesn’t give you that feeling at all. Right away you see a smiling woman which is always a great thing to see. From there it’s all about creating a brand that matches her personality.

The hero image takes a different approach than some of the other designs we have looked at already. Instead of having a sign-up form front and center, she uses a Click Here to Sign Up! button.

Studies have shown that these can be much more effective than a basic sign-up form because you are encouraging the reader to say yes first. Once they have said yes they feel obligated to follow through on their actions.

So while you may think that having a pop-up appear after clicking a button is no different than having a sign-up form showing immediately, there is often a huge difference for a lot of people.

As usual, it is best to test different methods to see which one works best for you. Don’t look at a design and think that is the one true way to do things.

Michael Hyatt

Michael Hyatt

Out of all the designs that we are looking at, this one follows the traditional blog model the closest since it has a listing of the most recent blog posts. Melyssa Griffin does the same thing, but only features the most recent post.

Although I do think the design is more cluttered than it needs to be, what you should take from it is his use of images. Every post features a nice large image to draw the attention of the reader. A lot of blogs that use Pinterest as their main social media platform also like to feature a large image at the beginning of the post.

The logic behind this is that it encourages people to share the post on Pinterest because they see a nice image ready to be pinned. I prefer to focus on the content so I’ve pushed the pinnable image down into what I call the sharing section of a post.

The rest of Michael’s site is filled with sections that provide social proof and authority. All of these things help to reinforce to the reader that he is someone that you should listen to. This works well as you get more established. Until then, you will have to find other ways to build a reader’s trust.

Smart Passive Income

Smart Passive Income

Pat Flynn’s site has already been dissected on Obstacle.co so there is no point in going over the same stuff.

However, what you can take from this design is that Pat ensures you build that emotional connection with him immediately with a large hero section that features his profile. The greeting in the header reads as though he is talking specifically to you.

Interesting enough, this is one of the only designs that doesn’t try to capture a reader’s email at the beginning of the design.

Spruce Rd

sprucerd.com

I don’t like to play favorites, but this is my favorite design of the bunch from an aesthetic perspective. While Jamie’s homepage is geared more around her service business, there is still a lot you can garner from it. After the image carousel, you are presented with a nice and concise description of what the site is about.

More importantly, there is plenty of breathing room for all of the elements around the page. In design terms, we call this white space or negative space.

Too often you will find bloggers take a theme and then cram as much as possible on it believing that they need to get the reader to view everything at once. However, that is not how people read websites today. Now they usually do a quick scan of the page scrolling from top to bottom to get a feel for where they are at. Then they go back to the sections that caught their eye.

It is pretty hard to catch anyone’s eye if everything is jammed into one section.

Let everything on your site breathe. It will thank you for it.

Startup Camp

Startup Camp

Another design that is right up my alley due to its color scheme.

The key takeaway from this design is that even though the main method of marketing is through the blog, there is no mention of it on the homepage. Instead, the homepage acts as a sales page to get you to sign up for the community.

In other words, the homepage is the greatest landing page asset for this site.

I love the testimonials section. Every blog should have a testimonials section after a set amount of time. As of the time of writing this post, Obstacle.co is only a month old so there aren’t testimonials I can’t provide, but once I get them, you best believe they will appear on the site.

Another thing to look at is the length of the page. For some reason, bloggers get scared of how long a sales page can be. Don’t be. When you are selling something you have to ensure you answer every single question and concern a person might have and that can take a lot of content.

I just love how every section of this design sticks to the brand. Nothing looks out of place.

Lessons Learned

Although each of these designs is unique in their own way, there are some commonalities that we can find in each design that you should consider adding to yours.

Show Your Face

Every site with the exception of Spruce Rd. features the blogger behind the site. As mentioned before, this helps to build a connection with the reader. It lets them know a human runs the show which is always a good thing.

When you write your posts you should treat them as conversations with people. These conversations become a lot more realistic when they can see the person that is writing them.

Capture Early, Capture Often

Every blogger knows (or should know) the importance of capturing emails yet look at all of the designs. None of them try to get your email address in a skeezy way. Only one of them did a pop-up, but it was tasteful.

Too many bloggers proclaim the brilliance of pop-ups, pop-unders, pop-sideways, pop-upside-downs, and whatever other crazy tactics to get a person’s email. Why don’t you let your brand and content stand on its own and let that be the deciding judge on whether or not someone leaves their email?

The worse your design, the more important a pop-up and other boom boom methods for capturing emails are required.

People do what your design tells them to do. If you design a nice experience that asks people to provide their email in exchange for an awesome resource then they will do it. If your design is constantly interrupting the reading experience with pop-ups, then you are telling the reader that their experience isn’t as important as getting their email.

It’s about them, not about you, and your design should reflect that.

Raise Your Flag

Let your audience know right away what the site is about. They shouldn’t have to scroll to find more information. Your homepage is your chance to raise your flag and clearly state your promise to your audience. What will they get by reading your blog?

Steal

Guess what? Absolutely none of these designs are original. They all borrow design elements from the thousands of sites that came before them and I still love them.

What they do to stand out is add their own twist to things. They make the design their own through their branding. At their core a lot of them follow the same structure, but would you really say that one looks like the other?

It’s like two people wearing a white shirt with jeans. Technically it’s the same outfit, but they both wear the outfit differently and therefore it looks different to the person staring at them.

When you are trying to figure out the best design for your blog don’t waste your time trying to be that special snowflake. Stand on the shoulders of giants and implement things that they do, monitor the results, and tweak accordingly.

Keep your audience in mind and figure out what your goals are for the site. Your design dictates what your audience does.

Obstacle.co Services

I want to have some fun and test out some of the theories laid out in this post. However, doing it on my own blogs just isn’t fun so I want to help you out. If you think your homepage could be converting better or you want to spruce it up a bit I’m offering a full homepage makeover to 10 8 people for just $100.

This isn’t design or consulting services. I want to apply the design techniques that I know to up your conversions. You get what people pay thousands of dollars for and I get back feedback from you that will go into a future course.

Interested? Shoot an email to scrivs{AT}obstacle.co and let’s get talking!

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