Blog Reader Outreach PR | Does a blog need a welcome page?

What's it like for an outsider to peer into our window?

Last week when I visited the Art Institute of Chicago's Edward Hopper exhibit, I was captivated by Hopper's artistic interpretation of daily life from an outsider's perspective.

When I read Liz Strauss' post about 10 ways to make your blog compelling, I kept thinking about the other side of the screen. That is, you, who are looking in at what I'm doing - or what I should say is, what we're talking about together. I imagine that many people who click in and click out - over 75% of my traffic is new - either feel fulfilled or they leave quickly and look elsewhere.

Because I want to offer more to my visitors and keep them coming back, I'm wondering: do you think a blog needs a welcome page or a user's guide?

When you type in a blog URL do you expect to go to the latest post or an overview page?

To greet and engage direct URL readers, I'm thinking about testing a more welcoming welcome mat than the latest post. Maybe you're one of them: did you get here via Google AdWords, Answers.com, a blog directory or any other place where my blog domain name pops up?

I'm not as concerned about people who get here via a search - they're landing on a post that they picked out of a list most likely on Google. Still, I'd like to warm up their experience and welcome them in somehow besides the sidebar. Can you suggest another site or blog that invites you in when you get there?

And, what elements should be on the welcome mat page? Classic web design home page elements, for me, include: navigation, contact information and simple text that informs, but doesn't overload. What am I missing?

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